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Tegan and Sara is a Canadian indie pop/indie rock/New Wave band led by identical twins Tegan Rain Quin and Sara Keirsten Quin (born September 19, 1980). Both Tegan and Sara play guitar and keyboard and write their own songs, most often separately. Whoever writes each song typically sings the lead vocals for it, although the other twin has sung the lead vocals for some songs in live sets. The band has released six studio albums since 1999, most recently Sainthood in 2009.


Tegan and Sara Quin were born September 19, 1980 in Calgary, Alberta. They began playing guitar and writing songs at age 15.[1] They initially played as PLUNK without a drummer or bass player. In 1997, they used their school’s recording studio to record two demo albums: Who's in Your Band? and Play Day. In 1998, they won Calgary's "Garage Warz" competition, using the studio time they won to record their first professional demo, Yellow Demo, soon to be followed by Orange Demo and Red Demo. For a while they played as "Sara and Tegan" before deciding that it was easier to say "Tegan and Sara."

Two songs from Red Demo appeared on their first album, Under Feet Like Ours, which they released independently in 1999. Neil Young's manager signed them to Young's Vapor Records label, and they released This Business of Art through Vapor in 2000. They have toured extensively since then.

In 2002, the band released If It Was You. Their fourth album, So Jealous, was released in 2004 and led to wider success. This album was released through both Vapor and Sanctuary. One track on the album, "Walking with a Ghost", was covered by The White Stripes, who released it on their Walking with a Ghost EP.[2]

Their 2007 album The Con was released by Vapor and Sire because Sanctuary chose to no longer release new music in the United States. The album was co-produced by Chris Walla. Jason McGerr of Death Cab for Cutie, Matt Sharp of The Rentals and previously Weezer, Hunter Burgan of AFI, and Kaki King all appear on the album.[3] Tegan and Sara also released a DVD along with this album, which was produced as a feature-length behind-the-scenes film.

On October 27, 2009, Tegan and Sara released their sixth album Sainthood, produced by Chris Walla and Howard Redekopp, as well as a three-volume book set titled ON, IN, AT.[4] This book set sold out very quickly, and has been re-released in a lighter, paperback format. While recording Sainthood, Tegan and Sara spent some time writing songs together in New Orleans. The song "Paperback Head" appeared on the album, making it the first song on any Tegan and Sara album that they wrote together.[5] Spin magazine gave Sainthood four out of five stars and wrote, "Tegan and Sara's music may no longer be the stuff of teens, but its strength remains in how much it feels like two people talking."[6] On July 6, 2010, Sainthood was shortlisted for the Polaris Music Prize. The winner will be announced on September 20, 2010 at a gala in Toronto.[7]

Personal lives[]

Tegan lives in Vancouver, BC, and Sara lives in Montreal, QC.[8] The media has sometimes focused on the fact that they are both lesbians and twins, even though these topics rarely come up in the band's songs. Both Tegan and Sara have expressed concerns about how they have been portrayed in the media and about sexism and homophobia.[9][10][11]


Tegan and Sara began touring after graduating from high school in 1998, traveling by car or Greyhound bus.[12] In 2000, they toured with Neil Young and The Pretenders. Their onstage banter, including stories and commentary about their childhood, politics, and life on the road, has become an indispensable part of their live shows. Other notable touring mates include Ryan Adams, Ben Folds, Gogol Bordello, Cake, City and Colour, Death Cab for Cutie, Hot Hot Heat, The Killers, Rufus Wainwright, and Weezer.

They have performed at festivals including Sarah McLachlan's Lilith Fair 1999; Coachella, Lollapalooza, and SXSW 2005; Austin City Limits, Bonnaroo, Falls Festival, and Cyndi Lauper's True Colors Tour 2008; Southbound 2009; Groovin the Moo, Sasquatch!, and Glastonbury 2010.[13]

Tegan and Sara's 2010 supporting acts include Astronautalis, An Horse, The Jezabels, Hesta Prynn, Holly Miranda, and Steel Train. Tegan and Sara will be the direct supporting act for Paramore for the 2010 Honda Civic Tour, along with New Found Glory and Kadawatha. They will appear on select dates during the 2010 Lilith Fair.

Other work[]

In 2009, both Tegan and Sara worked as producers for the first time. Tegan worked with char2d2 on the 2009 "Small Vampires EP", while Sara started work on 2010 albums by Fences and Hesta Prynn.[14]


In 2007, Tegan sang in Against Me!'s song "Borne on the FM Waves of the Heart" and Sara sang in The Reason's song "We're So Beyond This". They also each appeared in those songs' respective music videos.

In April 2008, Tegan wrote and recorded a song titled "His Love" at the request of Augusten Burroughs as a contribution to the audio version of his book A Wolf at the Table. The two headlined Spin's September 2008 Liner Notes benefit for Housing Works, a New York non-profit.[15]

In addition to their own set, Tegan and Sara performed with DJ Tiësto during the Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival on June 13, 2008. Tegan and Sara appeared as guests, providing live vocals for Tiësto's remix of "Back in Your Head".[16] Tegan and Sara also collaborated with Tiësto on the song "Feel It in My Bones" from his 2009 album Kaleidoscope and appeared in the music video for this song.

Tegan and Sara released an Alligator remix album on iTunes in 2010. Contributors included Doveman, Passion Pit, Ra Ra Riot, and VHS or Beta.


  • Tegan Quin
  • Sara Quin
  • Ted Gowans
  • Shaun Huberts
  • Johnny Andrews



  • Under Feet Like Ours
  • This Business of Art
  • If It Was You
  • So Jealous
  • The Con
  • Sainthood


  • I'll Take the Blame


  • "Walking With a Ghost"
  • "Back in Your Head"

Further Reading[]