Results 2011

The Canadian Folk Music Awards organizing committee is proud to announce the 2011 results.

Traditional Album of the Year

  • Dave Gunning - a tribute to John Allan Cameron

    www.davegunning.com

    “Dave Gunning is the next big thing in the True North of Song, an artist as compelling, as assured and attentive to every nuance of the writing process as Lightfoot, Coburn and Stan Rogers before him.” — Greg Quill, The Toronto Star

    There are stories that wash over you like a tide, and then there are stories that grab you by the heart. Dave Gunning has made a point of finding the latter and wrapping them up in song since he broke upon the East Coast music scene in Canada back in 1997. The Pictou County, Nova Scotia born and bred singer-songwriter and working class hero has built up from humble beginnings to a point where his name is regularly included in conversation with artists such as David Francey, James Keelaghan, Ron Hynes, Stan Rogers, Bruce Cockburn and Gordon Lightfoot. Writing from a sonic menu that includes flavors of Irish, Scottish, French Acadian, folk and country musical styles, Dave Gunning transcends genre with songs that fill your senses and touch your soul.

    Dave Gunning was a painfully shy teenager who might never have gotten on stage if it weren’t for his junior high best friend JD Fortune (INXS). Fortune signed the two up for a variety concert where the sound man was none other than country singer/songwriter George Canyon (Nashville Star 2). Gunning backed Fortune on guitar for “La Bamba” before taking the mic for a Buddy Holly cover. Little did anyone know that in that room in a small East Coast school were three future stars. Fortune has shone brightest thus far, and Canyon isn’t far behind. But thirty years from now it seems likely that Dave Gunning will outshine them all.

    While names like Francey, Keelaghan, Hynes and even Rogers won’t mean a great deal to American audiences, together with Gordon Lightfoot and Bruce Cockburn they are iconic across Canada. Parallels in the United States might include James Taylor, Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, Randy Newman or Lyle Lovett. Dave Gunning is that sort of songwriter; one who creates images and moments in song that are palpable. Quiet and reserved otherwise, Gunning takes on an almost Garrison Keillor-type storyteller persona on stage, injecting stories between songs that run the range from sweet and touching to uproariously funny. If you’re lucky enough to catch a Dave Gunning show, perhaps he’ll tell you the one about getting beaten up by a dentist as a toddler. You can’t make stuff like this up.

    Dave Gunning paid his dues supporting other artists over the years, touring with the likes of Stompin’ Tom Connors, JP Cormier, John Allen Cameron, Ron Hynes and Stephen Fearing. Since heading out on his own, Gunning has continually stood out in the crowd. Dave has been awarded six East Coast Music Awards out of fifteen nominations since 2003. Recently, Dave took home two 2011 ECMA awards for his recording, a tribute to John Allan Cameron. Gunning has also been a finalist in the Great American Song Contest, the USA Songwriting Competition, the John Lennon Songwriting Contest and the International Songwriting Contest. All of the hardware and certificates aside, however, it is the personal connection that Gunning’s music engenders that is the greatest testament to his craft.

    Perhaps the most intriguing thing about Gunning as an artist is his willingness to just accept what the muse might bring. Unlike many artists, Gunning is almost superstitious about not trying to understand his songwriting process, indicating a fear that if he finally comes to understand it the music will stop. This is the anxiety of a man who has always wanted music as a part of his life and simply wouldn’t know what to do without it. Gunning is a family man, with a wife and three sons to sustain him and hold down the fort at home. But if they are his life’s blood, then music is the air that he breathes.

    It’s rare in any realm of popular music (folk included) to find an artist so wholly cut from the land he grew up on. Dave Gunning’s humility and talent are both born of a farmer’s acceptance of the world around him. Gunning doesn’t sit down to try to create grand music. He views the world around him for the seeds of something to grow, and cultivates what he sees into life as stories and songs that will touch your heart; he’ll make you think, laugh and cry with classic story songs of underdogs and a world that’s perhaps not quite level but well worth the climb. Like Gunning himself is fond of saying, “There’s a song in there somewhere.”

     
  • Finest Kind - For Honour & For Gain

    www.finestkind.ca

    FINEST KIND was formed in 1991 in Ottawa, by Ann Downey, Ian Robb, and Shelley Posen. Since then, the trio has earned a solid reputation on both sides of the Atlantic for exquisite vocal harmony and an unusually wide assortment of songs.
    Given the Canadian, British and American origins and varied musical backgrounds of its members, the repertoire and sound of Finest Kind is hard to categorize. The trio’s common ground, however, and the key to their success, is a lifelong interest in old songs and a passion for harmony singing. File Finest Kind’s music under “Folk,” but only if that includes traditional British, American, Newfoundland, Ottawa Valley, Sacred Harp, gospel, English music hall, vaudeville, the Carter Family, Hank Williams, George Jones and Rudyard Kipling.

     
  • De Temps Antan - Les Habits de Papier

    www.detempsantan.qc.ca

    Depuis 2003, Éric Beaudry, André Brunet et Pierre-Luc Dupuis explorent et actualisent avec brio le répertoire traditionnel du terroir québécois. Dans une explosion de violon, d’accordéon, d’harmonica, de guitare, de bouzouki et de bien d’autres instruments, ils s’amusent follement à sortir de l’ordinaire en accrochant des salles entières par leur joie de vivre contagieuse. À vous maintenant d’entrer dans la danse De Temps Antan !

    ÉRIC BEAUDRY
    C’est à Saint-Côme, village de la région de Lanaudière, qu’Éric Beaudry découvre la musique traditionnelle québécoise. Influencé par le répertoire familial, il commence à chanter et à jouer de la guitare dès l’âge de 10 ans. Il se fait connaître en 1992 en tant que membre fondateur du groupe La Galvaude, puis poursuit sa route en créant deux autres formations, Ni Sarpe Ni Branche et Norouet. Parallèlement à la musique, Éric s’intéresse à la recherche du répertoire traditionnel, ce qui lui vaudra plusieurs prix et distinctions dont le Prix Mnémo en 2002 pour le disque Musique gaspésienne qu’il a produit pour le violoneux Édouard Richard. En 2003, il se joint à La Bottine Souriante, ce qui ne l’empêche pas, depuis 2002, de mettre à profit son expérience et son diplôme universitaire en interprétation guitare pop et jazz en enseignant aux étudiants du programme de musique traditionnelle du CEGEP régional de Lanaudière, à Joliette. Aujourd’hui, Éric est reconnu dans le monde tant pour la richesse de sa voix que pour son talent à la guitare, à la mandoline et au bouzouki.

    ANDRÉ BRUNET
    De Lacolle, en Montérégie, l’attirance d’André pour la musique est remarquée très tôt par ses parents. Le violon devient l’instrument de son grand talent dès l’âge de neuf ans. Plus tard, avec son frère Réjean, il forme le groupe Les Frères Brunet qui, en plus d’enregistrer plusieurs albums, présentera de nombreux concerts un peu partout dans le monde.
    En 1997, son style à la fois énergique et raffiné lui vaut une place au sein du célèbre groupe La Bottine Souriante avec lequel il jouera dans plus de 15 pays en 10 ans. Bien que cette belle aventure ait pris fin en 2006, André demeure très actif dans le monde de la musique traditionnelle.
    En août 2008, lors d’une compétition de violon réunissant plus d’une vingtaine de violonistes de partout au Canada, le Canadian Grand Masters Fiddling Competition, André s’est mérité le titre de « Grand Maître du Canada » en remportant la première place. Ce prestigieux prix fait de lui le premier québécois à remporter cette compétition depuis sa création en 1990. De plus, en septembre 2009, André s’est mérité les honneurs de l’Ontario en remportant le titre de Grand Champion à la célèbre compétition de violon: Annual Pembrooke Old Time Fiddling and Step Dancing Championships.
    De plus, André a participé à la Cérémonie d’ouverture des XXIes Jeux olympiques d’hiver de 2010 à Vancouver en Colombie-Britannique au Canada.
    Tantôt en duo avec son frère Réjean Brunet (Vent du Nord), Éric Beaudry (La Bottine Souriante), Martine Billette ou bien avec le trio De Temps Antan avec ses anciens collègues de La Bottine : Pierre-Luc Dupuis et Éric Beaudry; ou encore avec le groupe Celtic Fiddle Festival au côté des grands violoneux Kevin Burke (Irlande), de Christian Lemaître (Bretagne), André continue son ascension avec différents groupes et musiciens de renom. Sa passion pour la musique traditionnelle québécoise n’a d’égale que son envie irrésistible de jouer sur nos cordes sensibles pour nous faire danser.

    PIERRE-LUC DUPUIS
    Natif de Louiseville, en Mauricie, Pierre-Luc Dupuis a grandi en chantant au sein d’une famille où l’on a toujours célébré la musique traditionnelle. À 18 ans, il adopte l’accordéon pour en faire son premier complice. Peu après, il fonde le groupe Les Langues Fourchues qui enregistre un premier album en 2001, et contribue à son succès pendant quatre ans. Il se joint au groupe légendaire La Bottine Souriante en 2003 et pendant près de 6 ans, il propagea sa bonne humeur contagieuse aux quatre coins du globe: de Dublin en Irlande jusqu’à Melbourne en Australie, en passant par Budapest en Hongrie et Porto au Portugal, l’écho de son harmonica et de sa voix festive sont encore présents dans le cœur des gens. Ayant terminé l’aventure de La Bottine Souriante en 2008, Pierre-Luc se consacre dorénavant à ses amours à temps plein… De Temps Antan.

     
  • La Volée d’Castors - Le Retour

    www.vdc.qc.ca

    Un son vif, une présence sur scène dynamique, des arrangements musicaux contemporains. Trois lettres, trois mots, trois résultats : surprenant, épatant, époustouflant !
    Au rythme du violon, des accordéons, des guitares, de la basse et des percussions latines qui se marient parfaitement à la podorythmie québécoise, La Volée d’Castors fait danser les gens de partout sur le globe avec sa musique du monde innovatrice, énergique et festive !
    Avec son artillerie lourde de chansons et de musique qui réussit à séduire tant de gens à travers le monde, La Volée d’Castors représente un exceptionnel catalyseur de joie et de rires. Carburant aux différents reels et chansons à répondre, les six jeunes musiciens se révèlent être sur scène une véritable explosion de rythmes et une incomparable injection d’énergie.
    La Volée d’Castors compte parmi les groupes les plus dynamiques et les plus prometteurs de la scène musicale d’ici. Travailleurs infatigables, les membres de La Volée d’Castors bousculent tout sur leur passage et font s’écrouler les derniers préjugés qui subsistent ! Du Canada à l’Espagne, en passant par les États-Unis, la Suisse, l’Italie l’Angleterre, l’Australie, la Malaisie, la Nouvelle-Zélande et le Japon, le public international craque littéralement pour La Volée d’Castors !
    La Volée d’Castors : de la véritable dynamite sur scène!

     
  • Genticorum - Nagez Rameurs

    www.genticorum.com

    En dix ans, le groupe trad québécois Genticorum s’est taillé une place de choix sur la scène internationale des musiques traditionnelles, folk et celtiques. Les trois premiers albums du groupe ont été salués par la critique au Canada et à l’étranger et lui ont permis de développer une solide carrière. Reconnu pour son énergie et sa présence scénique, le groupe a déjà présenté plus de 700 concerts dans une quinzaine de pays et son calendrier de spectacles est bien garni pour les années à venir.

    Le trio s’est produit sur de nombreuses scènes de renom et a été programmé dans plusieurs festivals prestigieux du milieu world/folk, tels Celtic Connections en Écosse, le Tonder Folk Festival au Danemark, le Vijlandi Folk Festival en Estonie, le Festival International de Chihuahua au Mexique, le Independent Music Festival d’Alexandrie en Égypte mais aussi en Malaisie, en Israël, ainsi qu’en Australie lors de troistournées mémorables… Ils ont été sélectionnés pour les concerts-vitrines du Womex à Newcastle, et tournent régulièrement en Grande-Bretagne, au Danemark, aux États-Unis et au Canada.

    Avec «Nagez Rameurs» (Roues et Archets – Outside Distribution), Genticorum poursuit sa démarche en proposant un album à la fois enraciné et moderne. Sous la direction musicale de Pascal Gemme, le groupe et ses invités de marque Stéphanie Lépine, Olivier Demers, Nicholas Williams et Grey Larsen signent un album d’un grand raffinement musical et d’une énergie brute irrésistible.

    Comme à l’habitude, les chansons traditionnelles et les pièces instrumentales s’entremêlent pour donner un ensemble riche et diversifié. Le thème des voyages, et plus particulièrement celui des «voyageurs» qui ont sillonné l’Amérique, est bien présent dans les chansons de l’album, notamment dans la chanson titre «Nagez Rameurs».

    ********

    Over the past decade the trad Quebec group Genticorum (Pascal Gemme, Alexandre de Grosbois-Garand and Yann Falquet) has become a fixture on the international world, trad, folk and Celtic music circuit. The trio’s first three albums met with critical acclaim in Canada, the United States and Great Britain, assuring the band a brilliant future. Known for its energy and its stage presence (and often mistaken for a larger ensemble), Genticorum has given more than 700 concerts in no fewer than 15 countries – and is showing no sign of slowing down: this is a band in high demand.

    Firmly rooted in the soil of their native land, the energetic and original traditional ‘power trio’ also incorporates the dynamism of today’s North American and European folk cultures in their music. They weave precise and intricate fiddle and flute work, gorgeous vocal harmonies, energetic foot percussion and guitar and bass accompaniment into a big and jubilant musical feast. Their distinctive sound, sense of humour and stage presence makes them a supreme crowd pleaser

    With its latest album, Nagez Rameurs (2011 Roues et Archets | Outside), the band continues to develop its unique sound, which is at once ancient and modern. Under Pascal Gemme’s musical direction, on this album the group is joined by such well-known trad artists as Stéphanie Lépine, Olivier Demers, Nicholas Williams and Grey Larsen, signalling a work of undeniable musical refinement and irresistible raw energy. As with previous Genticorum offerings, here the traditional songs and instrumental pieces are intermingled, resulting in an overall recording that is wide-ranging and rich. The theme of voyages, and more precisely voyageurs travelling the waterways of North America, runs throughout the album, most especially in its title track, “Nagez Rameurs.”

     

Contemporary Album of the Year

  • Twilight Hotel - When the Wolves Go Blind

    www.twilighthotel.ca

    Twilight Hotel is the musical partnership of Brandy Zdan & Dave Quanbury. Together they possess an elusive chemistry and musical style that is dark, moody and rooted in some kind of nostalgic passion for scratchy records and vintage guitar tones. They combine a rock n roll sensibility, compelling songwriting, and haunting arrangements while standing comfortably outside your predictable genre box.

    In late 2009 Zdan & Quanbury made the trek across the New Mexico/Arizona desert from their new home in Austin, TX to Los Angeles, CA to record their third album “When The Wolves Go Blind”. They holed up in Kingsize soundlabs for 3 days and laid down the album live off the floor.

    “When it came time to making the record, we could only imagine this batch of songs with Stephen Hodges (Tom Waits, Mavis Staples) behind the kit and John Whynot (Lucinda Williams, Blue Rodeo) at the board. John brought in bassist Jeff Turmes to round out the rhythm section as well as lend his talents on Saxophone and Banjo. Jeff and Stephan have been playing together for 15 plus years, it was a perfect choice.” says Quanbury.

    ‘When the Wolves Go Blind’ further defines Twilight Hotel’s sound. From the hypnotic ride of the title track to the cinematic landscape of ‘The Darkness,’ the album is infused with a sense of travel and reflection.

    “Most of the songs on the album were co-written between the two of us while we were touring Highway Prayer” says Zdan. “The experiences we had out there on the road and the feeling we’d have coming home to Winnipeg in the winter informed the lonely lap-steel lament ‘Frozen Town,’ and the odyssey ‘Mahogany Veneer.’ In the past we’d written third person narratives about seedy characters and Americana but this time around we realized that we were becoming the subjects of our writing.”

    Hailing from the fertile music scene of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, Zdan & Quanbury have been combining their talents for 8 years and now make their home in Austin, Texas. In 2008, they released their sophomore album Highway Prayer, produced by Colin Linden. Highway Prayer has received critical praise both nationally & internationally including a debut at #2 on the Euro Americana Chart , a Western Canadian Music Award for Outstanding Roots Album Duo/Group, a 2009 JUNO nomination for “Roots & Traditional Album of the Year”.

     
  • Les Charbonniers de l'Enfer - Nouvelles fréquentations

    www.lescharbonniersdelenfer.com

    Les Charbonniers de l’enfer
    C’est dans le souffle de leurs voix que tout prend forme. Comme une machine à voyager dans le temps, une rafale nous transporte dans un passé riche de culture.

    Seule formation québécoise a capella spécialisée dans la recherche et l’interprétation du répertoire de tradition orale, Les Charbonniers de l’enfer s’enflamment depuis 12 ans, calcinant les planches des salles de spectacles à travers le Québec.

    Formé de cinq chanteurs d’expérience – Michel Bordeleau, Michel Faubert, André Marchand, Jean-Claude Mirandette, Normand Miron – l’originalité de leur démarche est marquée par le sens de l’actualisation de leur répertoire qui assure, parallèlement, la continuité d’un patrimoine chanté alors qu’au rythme des voix s’ajoute le tapement de pieds.

    Avec leur dernière mouture « Nouvelles fréquentations », Les Charbonniers abordent un répertoire contemporain. De Neil Young à Félix Leclerc en passant par Noir désir et Daniel Lanois, Plume, Cassonnade, Daniel Lavoie et Florent Volant, Dédé Fortin, Les sœurs McGarrigle, Marcel Martel et même Bertolt Brecht, le résultat est étonnant et audacieux, matérialisant ces rencontres inattendues au rythme de chansons modernes, bien charbonnisées, avec voix et podorythmie : du trad pour demain… maintenant !

    *******
    It is in the breath of their voices that all takes form. Just as a time travel machine, a gust transports us in a past rich in culture.

    Les Charbonniers de l’enfer have been burning the boards of venues all over Québec for the past 12 years. It is the only “québécois” a capella group specialising in the research and interpretation of the oral tradition repertoire. To the rhythm of their voices is added the tap of their feet.
    Formed of five experienced singers – Michel Bordeleau, Michel Faubert, André Marchand, Jean-Claude Mirandette and Normand Miron – the group developed a harmonic complicity very much of here. The originality of their approach is marked by their sense of the actualisation of the repertoire which ensures, at the same time, the continuity of the vocal heritage.

    Les Charbonniers de l’enferis all fired up about their new album « Nouvelles fréquentations ». This amazing innovative concept is rooted in a contemporary repertoire that boogies from Neil Young to Félix Leclerc, with nods to Noir désir and Daniel Lanois, Plume, Cassonnade, Daniel Lavoie and Florent Folant, Dédé Fortin, the McGarrigle sisters, Marcel Martel and even Bertolt Brecht along the way. Don’t worry – you can still hear the voices and foot rhythms that define the group, but it’s “tomorrow’s trad” that’s on the program.

     
  • Lynn Miles - Fall for Beauty

    www.lynnmilesmusic.com

    There is something to be said for experience, for taking the time to grow into your own skin. All sturdy
    things need time to root firmly into the ground to find their strength. Lynn Miles is one of Canada’s most accomplished singer/songwriters. With seven albums to her credit, the winner of multiple Canadian Folk Music Awards, and a 2003 Juno Award for Roots & Traditional Solo Album of the Year, she has certainly found her strength over time.

    Through a career that has seen her move from Ottawa to Los Angeles and back again, with stops in
    Nashville and Austin, she has always written music with unbridled feeling and vulnerability. Miles has
    consistently been unflinching in putting herself out there. Now with her eighth studio offering Fall For
    Beauty the voice of her experience has truly elevated her songwriting to its richest depth of emotion.

    While her melodies undulate between traditional country and folk roots, on Fall For Beauty, it’s her
    sensitivity to the world around her that pours itself directly into Miles’ music to make it stand out.
    “Love Doesn’t Hurt” was written as an emotional plea for people in abusive relationships. “I wrote this
    song after watching Oprah do a show about domestic violence. She kept repeating “love doesn’t hurt”,
    and even though I’ve written plenty of songs about how emotionally painful love can be, I wanted to put
    this crucial idea right up there beside my other songs, for balance, and clarity.” says Miles. “I’ve been playing the song live and have been approached by several people who work at women’s shelters who tell me it’s a powerful song, and that they want to play it for their clients. There’s no better compliment than that.”

    Therein is the powerful secret behind Miles’ music – her astute observations of life, its trials and triumphs,
    are the hallmark of sincerity in her music. The gritty honesty of her music never falters – neither does her
    unshakeable ability to make even the most melancholy lyrics sound as if they are brimming with hope and
    grace. “Little Bird” infuses her lyrics with an assertive and encouraging voice. “I wrote this song after reading “In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts” by Gabor Mate. It’s the best book on addiction and articulates the need for compassion when dealing with addictions. The song about what I call The X Factor, the initial source of pain that can cause a person to seek solace in alcohol and drugs.

    Lynn MIles is a musician in the rarest sense of the word, an unmistakable talent, an eye for both the subtle and sweet that can only be unearthed with experience.

     
  • Bruce Cockburn - Small Source of Comfort

    www.brucecockburn.com

    Bruce Cockburn has always been a restless spirit. Over the
    course of four decades, the celebrated Canadian artist
    has travelled to the comers of the earth out of humanitarian concems—olten to trouble spots experiencing events that have led to some of his most memorable songs. Going up against chaos, even if it involves grave risks, can be necessary to get closer to the truth.

    Small Source of Comfort, Cockburn’s 31s’ album, is his latest adventurous collection of songs of romance, protest and spiritual discovery. The album, primarily acoustic yet rhythmically savvy, is rich in Cockbum’s characteristic blend of folk, blues, jazz and rock. As usual, many of the new compositions come from his travels and spending time in places like San Francisco and Brooklyn to the Canadian Forces base in Kandahar, Afghanistan, jotting down his typically detailed observations about the human experience.

    “Each One Lost” and “Comets of Kandahar,” one of tive instrumentals on the album, stem from a trip Cockburn made to war-torn Afghanistan in 2009. The elegiac “Each One Lost” was written after Cockburn witnessed a ceremony honouring two young Canadian Forces soldiers who had been killed that day and whose cofhns were being flown back to Canada. It was, recalls Cockburn, “one of the saddest and most moving scenes I’ve been privileged to
    witness?

    Produced by longtime associate Colin Linden, the album also features Annabelle Chvostek, a Montreal-based singer-songwriter with whom Cockburn wrote two songs on which they also harmonize: the introspective “Driving Away” and the driving, freewheeling “BoundIess.” ln addition to newcomers Scheinman and Chvostek, Small Source of Comfort includes such regular Cockburn accompanists as bassist Jon Dymond, drummer Gary Craig and producer Linden, who also plays guitar.

    As always, there’s a spiritual side to Cockburn’s latest collection, best reflected on the closin “Gifls,” a song written in 1968 and but recorded here for the first time, and “The lris of the World,” which opens the album. The latter includes the humorously rueful line, “I’m good at catching rainbows, not so good at catching trout.”
    That admission serves as a useful metaphor for Cockburn’s approach to songwriting. “As you go through life, its like
    taking a hike alongside a river,” he explains. “Your eye catches little things that flash in the water, various stones and llotsam. I’m a bit of a packrat when it comes to saving these reflections. And, occasionally, a few of them make their way into songs.”

    Those songs, along with his humanitarian work, have brought Cockbum a long list of honours, including 13 Juno
    Awards, an induction into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame, a Govemor Generals Performing Arts Award and
    several international awards. In 1982, he was made a Member of the Order of Canada and was promoted to Oflicer in 2002. Last year, the Luminato festival honoured Cockburn’s extensive songbook with a tribute concert featuring such varied guests as jazz guitarist Michael Oochipinti, folk-rapper Buck 65, country rockers Blackie and The Rodeo Kings, country-folk singers Sylvia Tyson and Amelia Curran, pop artists the Barenaked Ladies and Hawksley Workman, and folk-pop trio The Wailin’ Jennvs.

    Never content to rest on his laurels, Cockburn keeps looking ahead. “I’d rather think about what l‘m going to do next,” he once said. “My models for graceful aging are guys like John Lee Hooker and Mississippi John Hurt, who never stopped working till they dropped, as I fully expect to be doing, and just getting better as musicians and as human beings.” Small Source of Comfort, a reflection of Cockburn’s ever-expanding world of wonders, is the latest step in his creative evolution.

     
  • Good Lovelies - Let The Rain Fall

    www.goodlovelies.com

    Sunny and upbeat, with just a pinch of sass, the Good Lovelies textbook three-part harmonies, constant instrument swapping and witty on-stage banter have enlivened the folk music landscape since they joined forces in 2006 for their first show at Toronto’s funky Gladstone Hotel.
    How the Good Lovelies (Caroline Brooks, Kerri Ough and Sue Passmore) got together is a bit of a mystery: Sue remembers meeting her band mates during a limbo competition, Caroline thinks they met at a chess tournament, but Kerri is convinced they first crossed paths during a bar fight. Whatever the story may be, the ladies immediately realized they had something special, so they hit the road on a mission to charm Canadian audiences coast to coast.
    Their tireless rain or shine outlook and undeniable mutual respect have helped the trio weather years of constant touring. With jaunts to Australia, the UK and the US in their 2011 schedule, the Good Lovelies road-tested tenacity will bring them further afield than ever before.
    Light-hearted songwriting and irresistibly buoyant dispositions have made them the darlings of the summer festival circuit, including spots at the storied Mariposa and Hillside Festivals and the Montreal Jazz Festival. They have toured with Stuart McLean and the Vinyl Café and appeared on stages and in studios with Broken Social Scene, Kathleen Edwards and Jill Barber.
    In addition to their acclaimed holiday album, Under the Mistletoe (2009), which showcases old and new seasonal tunes (including three original songs), the Good Lovelies self-titled full-length album (also released in 2009) proved their blithe brand of folk music has year-round appeal. With this record, the Good Lovelies won New Emerging Artist at the Canadian Folk Music Awards. In 2010, this same album received a Juno for Roots/Traditional Album of the Year.
    Let the Rain Fall, their third full-length album, is an ode to camaraderie. With equal parts city and country, highway and home, wistfulness and sass, the Good Lovelies good humour and self-assurance shines through from the toe-tapping start of Made for Rain to the sweet final notes in the French-flecked Mrs. T. In between, you’ll hear reflections on urban imperfections with Backyard, straight-up love songs like Best I Know and upbeat numbers like Kiss Me in the Kitchen.
    The album, like the Good Lovelies, has a universal appeal, sure to please not just their fellow Canadians, but those south of the border and across the pond too.
    Let The Rain Fall, say the Good Lovelies, confident that bright and breezy days lie ahead.
    LET THE RAIN FALL

     

Children’s Album of the Year

  • Kathy Reid-Naiman - I Love to Hear the Sounds

    www.merriweather.ca

    Kathy Reid Naiman is a full time children’s performer, member of Mariposa in the Schools and the Children’s Music Network. She is a multi-instrumentalist who plays guitar, fiddle, Appalachian dulcimer, banjo ukulele and autoharp.

    She is a music specialist who teaches music and movement classes for children [aged 6 months to 5 years] in libraries and schools throughout Ontario. She is currently running programs in the Aurora and Uxbridge libraries. She is a member of Mariposa In The Schools, an organization dedicated to bringing high quality music to the school children of Ontario and The Children’s Music Network, an international network of children’s musicians.

    Her many award winning children’s recordings are very popular with families with toddler’s & young children. They are used extensively by teachers looking for resources to use in their own programs. “A Smooth Road to London Town” Kathy’s fourth recording was chosen to be part of the Ontario Early Years Newborn Literacy Kit. She has just released her eleventh CD!

     
  • Benoît Archambault - Les pourquoi

    www.monamibenoit.com

    “Benoît Archambault….c’est qui ça ?”

    Prenons tout d’abord son nom de famille: Archambault. Bon, on pense immédiatement à un certain magasin de musique. Pourtant, Benoît Archambault n’a rien d’un magasin…bien qu’il aime les fréquenter de temps à autre !

    “Ça serait pas le frère de l’autre là, le grand rouquin ?”

    Voilà, on y est ! Mais ne nous attardons pas à la couleur de ses cheveux. Je vous propose plutôt un court survol de sa carrière…

    Auteur-compositeur-interprète, il “court les concours” de chansons du Québec. En 1998, il remporte le festival en chanson de Petite-Vallée.

    Parallèlement à sa carrière solo, il participe aux spectacles d’un jeune groupe costumé: Mes Aieux…Bien qu’il soit un peu moins jeune, le groupe existe encore !

    Parallèlement à sa carrière solo, parallèlement au groupe Mes Aieux, Benoît Archambault devient simplement Benoît, chanteur pour enfants. Le projet, qui voit le jour dans un cadre pédagogique, engendre plusieurs productions et de nombreux spectacles: Le monde est petit (2002), Chez moi (2003), Benoît se fait du ciné-bas (2006), Sourires (2007).

    “Ouin, je savais pas qu’y faisait tout ça”

    Et ça continue…premier tome d’une longue série, Les pourquoi (et non, ça ne prend pas de “S”) emmèneront Benoît au quatres coins du Québec…peut-être finira-t-il par trouver un cinquième coin !

     
  • Marky Weinstock - SONGS FOR DREAMERS

    www.SongsForDreamers.com

    Marky Weinstock is a popular children’s entertainer, combining his experiences as an award winning songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and respected educator. He continues to perform across the continent and overseas, picking up new instruments and stories to share along the way. His unforgettable concerts have become a festival favorite, filled with singing, dancing, group participation and lots of laughter.

    Music was always part of Marky’s life, growing up in Ontario. He started writing songs in fifth grade and later that year, he performed with John Sebastian at the Genie Awards and sang the national anthem at a Blue Jays Game. This sparked his love for music, setting his path for years to come.

    While Marky studied Education, Music and Health Sciences, he has dedicated his life work to making music with children. His songs are interactive and fun, while at the same time promoting motor and language development. He honed his craft while making music around the world. Along his adventures, he sung with children in Himalayan villages, the jungles of Australia, Cambodian orphanages, interfaith communities in Jerusalem, and festivals across North America. He loves to travel but Ontario remains his home.

    Marky’s songs have been placed in feature film and his written works have been published in several countries. Over the years, Marky has collaborated with an eclectic mix of musicians, including a seven year old soul singer, a Colorado cowboy, the All Gods Children Harlem Gospel Choir and greats from bands such as Janis Joplin’s Full Tilt Boogie Band.

    “SONGS FOR DREAMERS”, Marky’s first Children’s Album has been receiving awards and glowing recognition from the media, music circles and leading educators. It follows a day in the life of a child with gentle wake up songs, fun dances, stories and lullabies, featuring some of Canada’s finest musicians. Children and grown-ups alike are falling in love with Marky’s Music. It will put a smile on your face and a song in your heart.

     
  • Colleen Power with Crooked Stovepipe - For Little Ones

    www.colleenpower.com

    In Summer 2010, Music NL Award-winning, bilingual singer/songwriter/producer Colleen Power teamed up with smokin’ Bluegrass legends and ECMA Award winners, Crooked Stovepipe to bring you “For Little Ones”, a bluegrass CD for children aged 0-6. “For Little Ones” features Colleen on lead vocals, accompanied by the unmistakable instrumentation and harmonies of Newfoundland’s own Award-winning Crooked Stovepipe, led by internationally renowned bluegrass banjo player and scholar, Neil Rosenberg, with Ted Rowe on guitar, Dave Rowe on bass and mandolin, and Charles Cook on fiddle.

    Colleen Power and Crooked Stovepipe’s live performances have seen many children dancing and singing along to their own brand of children’s bluegrass, which the Bluegrass Blog, Virginia USA describes as “Songs that your kids and grandkids will love to sing, and a great way to imbed the bluegrass bug in their tiny little minds!” Kidzmusic.com, Los Angeles, California, USA describes “For Little Ones” as “A gentle feel-good album filled with charm, love and splendid musical integrity. The mixture of traditional and original songs – some in French – evoke all that is right about music for family listeners. Play this one again!”

    Colleen Power and Crooked Stovepipe are currently playing at selected family events in Newfoundland and Labrador and are looking forward to taking children’s bluegrass music to children’s festivals everywhere.

     
  • Will Stroet - Walk 'n' Roll

    www.willmusic.ca

    Award-winning children’s entertainer Will Stroet connects
    with kids through high-energy, interactive and educational
    music in English and French. From folk to rock to pop
    songs about active living, sports, animals and the environ-
    ment, Will’s guitar-driven music appeals to kids of all ages.

    Born and raised in Vancouver, Canada, Will has per-
    formed his highly entertaining show to enthusiastic
    young audiences at hundreds of major festivals, schools
    and theatres. Notable performances include the Vancou-
    ver, Surrey, Canmore, Whistler and Okanagan Children’s
    Festivals; the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics; and Folk
    on the Rocks in Yellowknife.

    Will first discovered his talent for writing kids’ songs
    while completing his bachelor of education at the Univer-
    sity of B.C. in 2004. He recorded his first album, “Let’s All
    Dance,” in the fall of 2005. After receiving great reviews
    from kids, parents and educators, Will knew he had found
    his calling.

    In 2007, Will recorded “Will et sa maman: Chantons et
    dansons” with his mother, a highly-regarded kindergarten
    teacher. A popular teaching aid, this album is widely used
    by French immersion and core French teachers. In 2009,
    Will took a leave from teaching French immersion music
    to pursue his music career full time.

    In 2010, the Western Canadian Music Awards nominated
    “Dans mon jardin” for “Best Francophone Recording,” fol-
    lowing a 2009 nomination for “Best Children’s Recording”
    for “My Backyard.” Will’s fifth album, a 2011 Kids Music
    Award winner, “Walk ‘n’ Roll,” includes road safety songs
    that the Insurance Corporation of B.C. commissioned for
    their school curriculum.

    Will is also part of B.C.’s ArtStarts in Schools roster
    and regularly leads music workshops for teachers
    and students.

     

Traditional Singer of the Year

  • Enoch Kent - Take A Trip With Me

    www.enochkent.ca

    Enoch’s music is treasured by both traditional and contemporary music enthusiasts with a passion
    for story-songs, love and betrayal ballads, and gritty politics. While his songs are deeply
    rooted in the Scottish style, much of his subject matter is Canadian, giving his music a unique
    cultural blend. What’s more is Enoch’s natural storytelling style complemented by a ferocious
    wit and kitchen range warmth.

    “Enoch Kent is a singer and a crafter of songs in the fine old mold of Ewan MacColl, and Kent’s
    broad, smoky, powerful voice is every bit the equal of MacColl’s.”
    – Dirty Linen

     
  • Dave Gunning - a tribute to John Allan Cameron

    www.davegunning.com

    “Dave Gunning is the next big thing in the True North of Song, an artist as compelling, as assured and attentive to every nuance of the writing process as Lightfoot, Coburn and Stan Rogers before him.” — Greg Quill, The Toronto Star

    There are stories that wash over you like a tide, and then there are stories that grab you by the heart. Dave Gunning has made a point of finding the latter and wrapping them up in song since he broke upon the East Coast music scene in Canada back in 1997. The Pictou County, Nova Scotia born and bred singer-songwriter and working class hero has built up from humble beginnings to a point where his name is regularly included in conversation with artists such as David Francey, James Keelaghan, Ron Hynes, Stan Rogers, Bruce Cockburn and Gordon Lightfoot. Writing from a sonic menu that includes flavors of Irish, Scottish, French Acadian, folk and country musical styles, Dave Gunning transcends genre with songs that fill your senses and touch your soul.

    Dave Gunning was a painfully shy teenager who might never have gotten on stage if it weren’t for his junior high best friend JD Fortune (INXS). Fortune signed the two up for a variety concert where the sound man was none other than country singer/songwriter George Canyon (Nashville Star 2). Gunning backed Fortune on guitar for “La Bamba” before taking the mic for a Buddy Holly cover. Little did anyone know that in that room in a small East Coast school were three future stars. Fortune has shone brightest thus far, and Canyon isn’t far behind. But thirty years from now it seems likely that Dave Gunning will outshine them all.

    While names like Francey, Keelaghan, Hynes and even Rogers won’t mean a great deal to American audiences, together with Gordon Lightfoot and Bruce Cockburn they are iconic across Canada. Parallels in the United States might include James Taylor, Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, Randy Newman or Lyle Lovett. Dave Gunning is that sort of songwriter; one who creates images and moments in song that are palpable. Quiet and reserved otherwise, Gunning takes on an almost Garrison Keillor-type storyteller persona on stage, injecting stories between songs that run the range from sweet and touching to uproariously funny. If you’re lucky enough to catch a Dave Gunning show, perhaps he’ll tell you the one about getting beaten up by a dentist as a toddler. You can’t make stuff like this up.

    Dave Gunning paid his dues supporting other artists over the years, touring with the likes of Stompin’ Tom Connors, JP Cormier, John Allen Cameron, Ron Hynes and Stephen Fearing. Since heading out on his own, Gunning has continually stood out in the crowd. Dave has been awarded six East Coast Music Awards out of fifteen nominations since 2003. Recently, Dave took home two 2011 ECMA awards for his recording, a tribute to John Allan Cameron. Gunning has also been a finalist in the Great American Song Contest, the USA Songwriting Competition, the John Lennon Songwriting Contest and the International Songwriting Contest. All of the hardware and certificates aside, however, it is the personal connection that Gunning’s music engenders that is the greatest testament to his craft.

    Perhaps the most intriguing thing about Gunning as an artist is his willingness to just accept what the muse might bring. Unlike many artists, Gunning is almost superstitious about not trying to understand his songwriting process, indicating a fear that if he finally comes to understand it the music will stop. This is the anxiety of a man who has always wanted music as a part of his life and simply wouldn’t know what to do without it. Gunning is a family man, with a wife and three sons to sustain him and hold down the fort at home. But if they are his life’s blood, then music is the air that he breathes.

    It’s rare in any realm of popular music (folk included) to find an artist so wholly cut from the land he grew up on. Dave Gunning’s humility and talent are both born of a farmer’s acceptance of the world around him. Gunning doesn’t sit down to try to create grand music. He views the world around him for the seeds of something to grow, and cultivates what he sees into life as stories and songs that will touch your heart; he’ll make you think, laugh and cry with classic story songs of underdogs and a world that’s perhaps not quite level but well worth the climb. Like Gunning himself is fond of saying, “There’s a song in there somewhere.”

     
  • Lizzy Hoyt - Home

    www.lizzyhoyt.com

    Lizzy Hoyt is a gifted performer whose voice and instrumental skills have captivated audiences across Canada. This Canadian ‘east-meets-west’ performer combines the energetic and rhythmic fiddling from the maritimes with country-folk songs from the west.

    Lizzy is becoming known for her compelling live performances that feature her immense range of talents. Energetic delivery of toe-tapping fiddle tunes, musical delivery of songs featuring her sweet voice, crowd-pleasing step dancing and original Canadian-inspired songs like “Vimy Ridge” (finalist in the 2010 John Lennon Songwriting Contest) show that Lizzy Hoyt is a versatile and engaging performer.

    Working as a professional musician since the age of 15, Lizzy has toured internationally as a fiddler, mandolin player and harmony singer for other Canadian recording artists such as Eli Barsi and Maria Dunn. These years of experience are evident when Lizzy performs and have provided her with skills far beyond her years.

    In June 2010, Lizzy released her second album “Home”. Produced by Juno-award winner Jeremiah McDade, the album has received “glowering praise from a number of media outlets, with emphasis given to Hoyt’s burgeoning songwriting talent” – Johnathan Milke, The Fort Saskatchewan Record. The album’s interesting acoustic arrangements are delivered by some of Canada’s top folk musicians. It is currently receiving support from radio stations across the country.

    Lizzy Hoyt is truly one of Canada’s up and coming artists. Her professionalism and leadership allows her to collaborate with some of the best musicians in the country. Her dedication and hard work have resulted in the release of two, independent studio albums by the age of 25. Her third album, “A Christmas Song”, was recorded in March 2011 and will be released later in the year.

    Lizzy has also been granted permission from the Vimy Ridge Memorial in France and from Veteran Affairs Canada to film a music video to accompany her award-winning ballad “Vimy Ridge”. Filming is set to take place in France in 2012.

     
  • Eileen McGann - Pocketful Of Rhymes

    www.eileenmcgann.com

    BC-based Eileen McGann has long been acclaimed as one of Canada’s finest singers and songwriters. For more than 25 years she has toured across Canada, the US, Great Britain and Ireland, bringing her rich, poetic lyrics and soaring melodies to festivals, clubs and concert halls. Born in Ontario to Irish parents, she began her professional career as a singer of the traditional songs she grew up with, but soon became known as an outstanding writer of songs that, while often showing Celtic influence, are strongly and distinctively Canadian.

    Her seven solo CDs have received international 5-star reviews, and many “top ten of the year” listings. Eileen’s CD Beyond The Storm was nominated for a 2002 Juno Award as “Best Album: Roots & Traditional”. She has been the recipient of numerous awards, grants and accolades, including multiple awards for overseas touring from External Affairs Canada, as well as from Canada Council, SOCAN, AFA, FACTOR and the BC Arts Council.

    Thematically, Eileen’s songs range widely, from incisive political and environmental anthems, to story songs from modern and ancient sources; from celebrations of the Canadian wilderness to powerful songs of the spiritual journey. These diverse songs are united by strong, singable choruses, flowing melodies, lyrical depth and a clear unified vision.

    After a decade in Calgary, Eileen moved to Vancouver Island in 1999, and continues recording and touring, as well as following her second profession as a painter of vibrant Canadian landscapes. She teaches workshops on songwriting, voice, traditional music, painting, Celtic knotwork art and creativity.

    “McGann has become synonymous with Celtic influenced Canadian folksong. She is one of the finest contemporary Canadian singer-songwriters of today.” -Celtic Heritage Magazine, Halifax, NS

    “One of folk music’s most breathtaking voices…A gifted lyric poet and musical composer whose gorgeous vocals make her a must-see performer!” -Songstreet, Boston

     
  • Joel Fafard - Cluck Old Hen

    www.joelfafard.com

    Award-winning guitarist Joel Fafard performs Southern roots and blues classics with the soul of a purist and the showmanship of a seasoned entertainer.

    He sings with the sexy, sandpapered-sounding vocal style of the new generation bluesman. He tells his hilarious between-song stories with the confidence of a late show host delivering his monologue. And when he lets rip a solo on his resonator guitar, it’s easy to hear how he once earned both a Juno nomination and a Western Canadian Music Award for his skills on the axe.

    With his latest album, Cluck Old Hen, and with its accompanying brand new live show, Fafard is using his uncommon skill as an entertainer to embark on a new musical mission: breathing new life into grand old numbers like “Can’t be Satisfied,” “Spoonful,” “Come on in my Kitchen,” and “Angeline and the Baker.”

    His performances are as authentic as those of a Beale Street busker but infused with a touch of contemporary urban attitude. And his live show is pure polish and professionalism.

    Farfard has been playing old Southern classics for years as part of those live sets. His love for it can be traced back to his youth in Saskatchewan and his time spent at Georgia Fats, a Regina biker bar that was a destination for musicians from the Chicago blues scene. Canadians like Amos Garrett and Sue Foley also passed through the joint, as did Delta bluesmen like Charlie Musselwhite.

    Until recently though, Fafard’s covers of Southern gems served as mere vocal interludes in his live sets of award-winning guitar instrumentals.

    A gifted slide-fingerstyle player, Fafard earned a Western Canadian Music Award for Outstanding Instrumental Album for his 2006 collection …and another thing… He was also nominated for both a Juno and a Canadian Folk Music Award. The album’s follow-up, Three Hens Escape Oblivion, received a second CFMA nod and was a runner up for an International Acoustic Music Award. Meanwhile, Fafard’s music was featured in the TV shows Alice I Think and Road Trip Nation, his compositions were included on several well-respected guitar compilations, and he co-scored the Middle of Somewhere TV series with Jason Plumb. In 2008, he was commissioned by The Globe Theatre in Regina to write a one-man show of tunes with tales.

    Fafard began studying guitar back in the Georgia Fats days, inspired by the fingerpicking style of Bruce Cockburn. He took lessons with local bluesman Jack Semple and went on to spend two years in the jazz program at Vancouver’s Capilano University before finally leaving to develop his own style. Blues music would be one of several influences to shape his stirring and expressive rootsy sound.

    He launched his music career in the mid-90s as a member of Scruj MacDuhk, the predecessor of the Juno-winning Grammy-nominated Duhks. Later, he established himself as a solo singer-songwriter, releasing three albums, touring coffee houses and earning praise for the maturity of his songwriting. But there was something missing for Fafard in the life of the folk-singing troubadour. Eight years ago he traded it in for the seemingly-less-lucrative life of the acoustic guitar instrumentalist, and it was all up hill from there.

    But fans kept asking what album those soulful Southern roots covers were on, and Fafard got tired of saying “none of them.” In 2009, after a brief creative breather, during which he felt drawn to the music like never before, Fafard – who had recently relocated to B.C.’s Sunshine Coast — decided it was time for a musical change of direction to match his geographic one. He gathered his long-time band-mates Gilles Fournier (bass) and Richard Moody (violin) and headed off to Winnipeg’s Private Ear studios to commit the songs to record. Mixing was done by award-winning Vancouver roots and blues producer Steve Dawson.

    As he closes in on 20 years as a professional musician, Joel Fafard has traveled down several distinct paths: folk singer-songwriter, roots rocker, acoustic instrumentalist and now interpreter of Southern roots and blues. But regardless of which direction he goes in, his fans seem happy to follow, because Fafard has a few key attributes that remain constant. First, he is one of Canada’s most tasteful acoustic guitarists and one of the funniest and most personable entertainers on the circuit today. He is also an artist so brimming with authenticity that he’s not afraid to play exactly the style of music that feels most real to him in the moment.

     

Contemporary Singer of the Year

  • David Myles - Live at the Carleton

    www.davidmyles.com

    In December 2010, Kyle Cunjak, Alan Jeffries and I played four nights in a row at a great spot called The Carleton in downtown Halifax. We had a blast! The crowds were great and we were feeling awesome playing and singing together.

    What we didn’t know was that the sound man, Jonathan Cornwall, had secretly recorded the run of shows. I couldn’t help but think, what better way to make a live album? It was perfect. We didn’t get the chance to over-think things and get nervous. We just played like crazy and luckily, Jonathan was there to capture it. I hopeyou enjoy it! – David Myles

    Live at The Carleton, gives listeners the opportunity to
    experience the concert show that has fuelled David’s rise
    in the music industry. Accompanied by stellar musicians
    Kyle Cunjak (upright bass and vocals) and Alan Jeffries
    (guitar and vocals), this acoustic performance gets to the
    heart of David’s music and is interspersed with the
    humorous and clever stage patter that has made him so
    popular with audiences.

    The track listing spans David’s recording career with
    audience favourites from his last three releases – from the
    sing-along “When It Comes My Turn” (Things Have Changed)
    to the seductive “Turn Time Off” (Turn Time Off).
    Live at The Carleton marks David’s fifth release and is the first exclusive release by theindiestore.com.

     
  • Suzie Vinnick - Me 'n' Mabel

    http://www.suzievinnick.com

    It’s about time.

    After winning numerous awards for playing, singing and writing the blues, Suzie Vinnick has finally put out a blues album under her own name. Suzie has been a perennial nominee and six-time winner of the Canadian Maple Blues awards for her work with blues players such as Rick Fines. And while she has three critically acclaimed folk-roots albums under her belt, including one that earned her a 2009 Juno nomination, this is her first solo outing as a blues artist.

    Me ’n’ Mabel is an intimate, bare-bones collection of 14 acoustic blues songs featuring Suzie and her guitar, with guests such as Rick Fines and Chris Whiteley on a few tracks. She travels many of the musical roads that the blues takes her — from familiar bar room shuffles like “Walkin’ by Myself,” to her own delicious “Save Me for Later,” likely the only song ever written that includes the phrase, “risotto con grana Padano”.

    The spotlight is on Suzie’s voice. Blessed with a huge range, she goes from a sweet whisper to a growl in a heartbeat. She can be sexy, humorous, sassy or heartbroken. With her impeccable sense of dynamics, Suzie’s voice commands attention.

    Her guitar playing on this disc will surprise even longtime fans. Suzie’s percussive style has the feel that elevates the blues from the mundane to the sublime, a sense of melody and rhythm you can’t learn at school.

    Always one to give credit where credit is due, Suzie says she couldn’t have done it without her Larivee parlour guitar, the shapely spruce and maple Mabel – her constant companion for the past eight years. “She can be bold and honky, but she can also sing sweetly. It depends on what we’re playing,” Suzie says. She puts up with a lot, and has the nicks and scratches to show, but she’s well-balanced and never complains, which makes Mabel the perfect musical partner.

    This long-awaited project was produced by Danny Greenspoon, who also produced her 2002 release, 33 Stars.

     
  • Cat Jahnke - The Stories are Taking Their Toll

    www.catjahnke.com

    150,000 kilometres of highways and boulevards…

    A thousand stories to tell of what she’s seen…

    It’s unlikely there are many people as intimately familiar with the inside of a KIA hatchback as Cat Jahnke. With her trusty guitar in hand, this singer-songwriter and die-hard prairie girl has racked up an impressive record, having performed over 300 shows across Canada in only a few short years.

    When not on the road, Cat has been busy writing and recording her new CD “The Stories Are Taking Their Toll.” This latest full-length album contains 13 songs which range from quirky pop tunes to folk rock rants, all highlighting Cat’s incomparable vocal quality, her multi-instrumentalist skills, and her trademark tongue-in-cheek storytelling. Standouts on the album include “Apple,” chosen as the theme song for the hit NBC webseries “Ctrl,” and “You Do Me Wrong,” which won Best Original Score at the 168 Hour Film Festival in Los Angeles, CA.

    This album follows the success of Cat’s 2006 release, “None of Those Things,” a breakout performance that earned her songwriting accolades from numerous international competitions, two featured slots in the revolutionary European video game system, “iDance,” as well as greater exposure on the Canadian media scene, including extensive airplay on CBC Radio and a featured song spot on the CTV hit television series “Degrassi: The New Generation.”

    Not one to limit herself to what she’s already done, in the past few years Cat and her songwriting prowess have been in demand on a variety of projects. Working in partnership with various producers in Hollywood, Cat has scored several short films, penned and produced made-to-order pop tunes for movie trailers, and composed the theme song and all related music for the first ever standalone webseries created by a major television network (NBC’s “Ctrl” starring Tony Hale).

    All this, in addition to her demanding touring schedule, has further honed Cat’s songwriting craft and musical abilities, and with one listen of her new album, it shows. Though it may be true that for Cat “The Stories are Taking Their Toll,” the rest of us can sit back and simply enjoy the ride.

     
  • Bruce Cockburn - Small Source of Comfort

    www.brucecockburn.com

    Bruce Cockburn has always been a restless spirit. Over the
    course of four decades, the celebrated Canadian artist
    has travelled to the comers of the earth out of humanitarian concems—olten to trouble spots experiencing events that have led to some of his most memorable songs. Going up against chaos, even if it involves grave risks, can be necessary to get closer to the truth.

    Small Source of Comfort, Cockburn’s 31s’ album, is his latest adventurous collection of songs of romance, protest and spiritual discovery. The album, primarily acoustic yet rhythmically savvy, is rich in Cockbum’s characteristic blend of folk, blues, jazz and rock. As usual, many of the new compositions come from his travels and spending time in places like San Francisco and Brooklyn to the Canadian Forces base in Kandahar, Afghanistan, jotting down his typically detailed observations about the human experience.

    “Each One Lost” and “Comets of Kandahar,” one of tive instrumentals on the album, stem from a trip Cockburn made to war-torn Afghanistan in 2009. The elegiac “Each One Lost” was written after Cockburn witnessed a ceremony honouring two young Canadian Forces soldiers who had been killed that day and whose cofhns were being flown back to Canada. It was, recalls Cockburn, “one of the saddest and most moving scenes I’ve been privileged to
    witness?

    Produced by longtime associate Colin Linden, the album also features Annabelle Chvostek, a Montreal-based singer-songwriter with whom Cockburn wrote two songs on which they also harmonize: the introspective “Driving Away” and the driving, freewheeling “BoundIess.” ln addition to newcomers Scheinman and Chvostek, Small Source of Comfort includes such regular Cockburn accompanists as bassist Jon Dymond, drummer Gary Craig and producer Linden, who also plays guitar.

    As always, there’s a spiritual side to Cockburn’s latest collection, best reflected on the closin “Gifls,” a song written in 1968 and but recorded here for the first time, and “The lris of the World,” which opens the album. The latter includes the humorously rueful line, “I’m good at catching rainbows, not so good at catching trout.”
    That admission serves as a useful metaphor for Cockburn’s approach to songwriting. “As you go through life, its like
    taking a hike alongside a river,” he explains. “Your eye catches little things that flash in the water, various stones and llotsam. I’m a bit of a packrat when it comes to saving these reflections. And, occasionally, a few of them make their way into songs.”

    Those songs, along with his humanitarian work, have brought Cockbum a long list of honours, including 13 Juno
    Awards, an induction into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame, a Govemor Generals Performing Arts Award and
    several international awards. In 1982, he was made a Member of the Order of Canada and was promoted to Oflicer in 2002. Last year, the Luminato festival honoured Cockburn’s extensive songbook with a tribute concert featuring such varied guests as jazz guitarist Michael Oochipinti, folk-rapper Buck 65, country rockers Blackie and The Rodeo Kings, country-folk singers Sylvia Tyson and Amelia Curran, pop artists the Barenaked Ladies and Hawksley Workman, and folk-pop trio The Wailin’ Jennvs.

    Never content to rest on his laurels, Cockburn keeps looking ahead. “I’d rather think about what l‘m going to do next,” he once said. “My models for graceful aging are guys like John Lee Hooker and Mississippi John Hurt, who never stopped working till they dropped, as I fully expect to be doing, and just getting better as musicians and as human beings.” Small Source of Comfort, a reflection of Cockburn’s ever-expanding world of wonders, is the latest step in his creative evolution.

     
  • Matthew Barber - Matthew Barber

    www.matthewbarber.com

    The latest offering from Toronto-based singer-songwriter Matthew Barber is a self-titled and self-produced collection of songs that marks a winter’s worth of work in his ramshackle basement home studio. By playing all the instruments as well as handling the recording and mixing duties, Barber has made somewhat of a return to his roots on this, his sixth release. “It’s the first time I’ve made a record by myself at home since the record before my first official record, if that makes sense, “ jokes Barber.

    Over a decade has passed between the early 4-track experiments as a philosophy student at Queen’s University and his latest eponymous effort (out June 5th on the Outside Music label). In the meantime, Barber has become a seasoned songwriter and performer with five albums, numerous tours across Canada and around the world, a handful of record deals, a Juno nomination and an award-winning musical to his credit. “I’d like to think my recording chops have improved a bit since then,” adds Barber, “and I’ve collected a few more odds and ends to play with in the studio.”

    However these odds and ends may have been deployed, the result is a disarmingly honest record of charming simplicity. Melodic instrumental hooks weave in and out of the tastefully spare arrangements, providing an engaging musical setting for Barber’s signature vocals and neatly-packaged lyrical turns about love, lust, longing, disillusionment, injustice, hope and the modern experience.

    Barber’s passion for the throwback sounds of the late 60’s and early 70’s is again clearly evident on this record, which was captured entirely on an analog 8-track machine. “ I read Keith Richards’ autobiography as I was beginning the recording process and I was excited by his statement that 8-track was his preferred format for recording,” says Barber. “It forces you to make choices as you go along and keep the arrangements lean, which suited the sort of record I wanted to make. I also got an iPhone around that time and the only album I had on it for months was Beggar’s Banquet, which became a reference point sonically.”

    Astute listeners will surely notice nods to 20th century masters like The Beatles, The Stones, Dylan, The Band and Paul Simon – but the voice at the heart of each song – both as songwriter and singer – is singularly Matthew Barber. “The heart of the record is about being in a long-term relationship, trying to make sense of all that goes along with your life becoming more deeply entwined with that of another person and how that influences both your outlook on the world and your understanding of yourself.”

     

Instrumental Solo Artist of the Year

  • Jayme Stone - Room of Wonders

    www.jaymestone.com

    Jayme Stone keeps an ear to the ground. His curiosity and unlikely set of reference points started early with the quirky physics of the banjo, led to a mysterious librarian who stocked his local public library with a vast trove of banjo recordings, and landed him long-lasting lessons with a series of maestros, from Tony Trischka to Bill Frisell. Influenced by Japanese poetry and Brazilian literature and featuring what he calls a “tiny symphony that takes place inside an imaginary light bulb”, Stone’s album, The Utmost, won the 2008 Juno Award for Instrumental Album of the Year.

    The last chapter in Stone’s musical travelogue takes place in Africa. He went knowing what’s still news to most: that the hide-covered instrument with an “extra” drone string we call the banjo actually comes from West Africa. He became particularly curious about the music that may not have made it across the ocean on slave ships headed west from Senegal and Mali in the 1700-1800’s. An eight-week trip to Mali was supported by a prestigious Chalmers Arts Fellowship and found Stone sitting in with Toumani Diabate and the Symmetric Orchestra in downtown Bamako, lost in circles of Wassoulou polyrhythms and in a rural Dogon village with no electricity where he inadvertently discovered a banjo predecessor unheard of in the West. The resulting album, Africa to Appalachia, is a boundary-crossing musical collaboration with singer and kora maestro Mansa Sissoko. Produced by David Travers-Smith and featuring celebrated ngoni master Bassekou Kouyate, the recording won the 2009 Juno Award for World Music Album of the Year.

    Stone’s brand new album, Room of Wonders, is Inspired by folk dances from around the world, Stone’s brand new album, Room of Wonders, includes music from Norway, Sweden, Brazil, Bulgaria, Italy and North America. His third solo recording, following the international breakout success of Africa to Appalachia, features fiddle pioneer Casey Driessen, gravity-defying guitarist Grant Gordy, former Punch Brother Greg Garrison and special guests Olov Johansson (nyckelharpa), Nick Fraser (drums), Kevin Turcotte (trumpet), William Carn (trombone) and more. Room of Wonders will be out on September 28th in Canada and March 15th in the US & Europe.

     
  • Jaron Freeman-Fox - Manic Almanac : Slow Möbius

    www.jaronfreemanfox.com

    Contorting the violin into new traditions, fiddler Jaron Freeman-Fox dances down the fine line between the poignant and the ridiculous, while taking some bold new steps in Canadian instrumental music. Having played on over 25 albums (Jayme Stone, Anne Lindsey, David Celia) and regularly seen as a member of bands such as Delhi 2 Dublin or The David Woodhead Confabulation, Freeman-Fox fuses his roots of Celtic and bluegrass fiddling with his study of Indian classical music and jazz. Playing the violines of his late mentor: fiddle pioneer Oliver Schroer, Jaron is equally likely to play completely acoustically as he is to wield them like a guitar through a series of processors, loopers and effects. Now, performing around the world with his new celebrated debut album Manic Almanac : Slow Möbius, and his fiery band The Opposite of Everything, this young fiddler is redefining what a fiddle-fronted band can sound like.

     
  • Anne Lindsay - Hurry On Home

    anne-lindsay.com

    One of Canada’s most engaging and versatile violinist/singer – songwriter/producers Anne Lindsay has played on hundreds of recordings and is a featured performer with the Jim Cuddy Band, Blue Rodeo and John McDermott. She was the resident fiddler for the Toronto Maple Leafs and the stage production of The Lord of the Rings.
    She released her first solo CD, Eavesdropping in 2001 and her sophomore release, News from Up the Street in 2007. These recordings have won her numerous awards including Solo Instrumentalist and Producer of the Year (Canadian Folk Music Awards 2007) and Jazz Violinist of the Year (National Jazz Awards 2007.)
    Hurry on Home continues the legacy — featuring Anne’s virtuoso playing, heartfelt vocals with a who’s-who of the Canadian contemporary music scene playing Anne’s twisty fiddle tunes, some sultry jazz, soulful gypsy and a hip hop beat!
    The CD is co-produced by Anne and her son, Tosh Weyman, a talented hip-hop artist and producer. The resulting album bridges both genres and generations with brilliant performances by musical friends.
    Key tracks: “Hurry On Home”, a neo-Appalachian duet with Jim Cuddy; “Valentine”, a poignant song about Valentine’s Day as a springboard into solitude; and “May Our Minds Meet” — think Cape Breton fiddle tune meets hip hop beats.

     
  • April Verch - That's How We Run

    www.aprilverch.com

    April Verch doesn’t just perform music, she exudes it. Her passion is performing and her goal is to touch the lives of those who are listening, in whatever way they are needing it on that given day, in that particular moment. “The world is this amazing puzzle that we can’t fully understand and music is the joy that pulls it all together and helps us make sense of it” says Verch with an excitement and confidence that makes you believe her in a heartbeat.

    Verch was born to traditional music, in Canada’s hard-working, hard-dancing Ottawa Valley. She was a local star at four, step dancing with her sister and winning awards at contests. She became the first woman in history to win both of Canada’s most prestigious fiddle championships, the Grand Masters and Canadian Open; and when Canada hosted the 2010 Winter Olympics, she was asked to represent her country’s music at the opening ceremonies.

    Ottawa Valley music is a foot-stomping, open-minded fusion of Irish, Scottish, French, German, and Polish influences, sprinkled with tangy spices of American country music. The twang of the banjo and the driving Franco-Celtic pulse of the fiddle are as ingrained in April as snowbound winters and Saturday dances.

    “What makes the Ottawa Valley unique,” she says, “is that it’s melting-pot music. People there work hard, and when it was time to let loose, you went out and had fun together; you danced and played music. Growing up around that, being able to perform and see how happy it made people feel, I’m sure that’s what drew me into music.”

    That desire to share music is why she’s among the most in-demand performers in roots music today, both with her own crack three-piece band and Bowfire, with whom she occasionally tours. The April Verch Band consists of April at the helm and world-class musicians Clay Ross on guitar and Cody Walters on upright-electric bass and banjo. They have toured across Canada, the United States, the U.K., Europe, Australia and China. Together they have established a reputation as consummate performers with boundless energy on stage that inevitably brings audiences to their feet.

    Fred Kaiser programmed the storied Philadelphia Folk Festival for over 20 years, and now runs the 125-seat Mainstay in Maryland. He’s booked her at both. “Not every performer can adapt from large to small venues,” he says, “but I know April’s show will work, and I know audiences will want her back. That’s because of her talent, energy, showmanship, and the quality of musicians she brings with her; but it’s also because of her performing intelligence. She has a great way of keeping things changing and moving, not only with her energy level, but the different kinds of tunes she plays.”

    On her eighth recording, That’s How We Run, April explores the Southern mountain traditions known as old time music, but always brings her Northern roots with her. Plucky, straight-backed Canadian tunes fit so snugly beside ancient Appalachian airs that you’d think they’d been neighbors for centuries. When she sings her own songs, you feel sultry Southern air blowing through every wet, bluesy slide of “That’s How We Run,” just as you feel the tight-shouldered Northern chill in her heartbroken “Still Trying.” Through sinewy old time American reels or crisp Canadian hops, singing the happy Ontario chestnut “Moonshine Mac,” or swapping hot licks with the cream of old time’s new breed, like Riley Baugus, and Rayna Gellert, April is always being April.

    Dirk Powell, who produced one of April’s previous releases and appears as a special guest on That’s How We Run, is a multi-instrumentalist, who has worked with Jack White, Joan Baez, and Riverdance. He is awed by April’s ability to play any kind of roots music as though it was her native tongue. “She’s so fluent in the language of music that she never needs to imitate. She hears the heart of it and lets that become part of her core. April’s just got that, man; she’s always speaking the language for real. She is a rare mix of all the technique and super-flashy things, along with the deep soul and tradition that comes from having grown up with the music,” Powell says.

    But it’s this insight from Powell that sums it up best. “April has an amazing ability to touch people’s hearts, get them having fun, and sharing the whole range of human emotions. She’s a grand master fiddler and a very expressive singer, but what sets her apart is the openness, humor and social fun she got growing up in the music. It’s not always easy for professionals to keep that social joy in their music. Even though April is playing at a very high level, she brings that explosive joy with her.”

     
  • Don Ross - Breakfast for Dogs

    donrossonline.com

    A true innovator of guitar composition and technique, Don Ross has emerged as one of the most respected musicians in Canada and one of the top guitarists in the world. In September 1996, he managed to do what no other player has done: win the prestigious U.S. National Fingerstyle Guitar Championship for the second time (he first won in 1988). The competition, held yearly in Winfield, Kansas, judges not just technique, but emotion and intensity – hallmarks of Don’s style.

    The son of a Scottish immigrant father and a Mi’kmaq aboriginal mother, Don was born in Montreal in 1960. A member of a highly musical family, Don first started experimenting with the solo possibilities of the acoustic guitar at the age of eight. By age ten he was playing in alternate tunings and exploring “fingerstyle” technique. The result of this exploration is an unclassifiable musical style that borrows from jazz, folk, rock and classical music.

    Since 2005, Don has been releasing his CDs through the internet-based Candyrat Records. Recent recordings include MUSIC FOR VACUUMING (2005), LIVE IN YOUR HEAD (2006), THE THING THAT CAME FROM WITH SOMEWHERE with Andy McKee (2008), ANY COLOUR (2009), and BREAKFAST FOR DOGS (2010).

    Don’s most recent release is his first all-solo-guitar recording since 1999′s PASSION SESSION. On it he plays a collection of original and interpreted tunes in his distinctive funky style.

    Don continues to do extensive touring in Europe, Canada, Australia, China, India, the United States and Asia’s Pacific Rim. When he’s not on the road, he lives with his wife in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.

     

Instrumental Group of the Year

  • The Creaking Tree String Quartet - Sundogs

    www.creakingtree.com

    The Creaking Tree String Quartet

    String-band music has long been a staple of Americana. While the four members of the Creaking Tree String Quartet pay homage to that tradition, they refuse to be bound by it.

    Instead, the technically dazzling outfit uses fingerboards to leap stylistic boundaries and fuse intricate styles. The result is a smartly intellectual and yet deeply moving sound that’s a true Canadian original: jazz forms sliding over a rootsy bluegrass base, with flashes of chamber music, reverence and avant-garde experimentation.

    It’s the product of four adept and accomplished musicians, dedicated to performing unique and exciting material that raises the bar for instrumental acoustic music.

    Mandolinist Andrew Collins, guitarist Brad Keller, bassist Brian Kobayakawa, and violinist John Showman earned a Juno Award nomination for their 2003 debut CD. Their 2005 follow-up “Side Two” won the Pushing The Boundaries trophy at the 2005 Canadian Folk Music Awards, was named Instrumental Album of the Year at the Indie Acoustic Project Awards, and “Old Crow” won Song of the Year at the International Acoustic Music Awards. The band’s third album, “The Soundtrack” was produced, recorded and mixed by Grammy Award winner Bil VornDick. It won two awards at The Canadian Folk Music Awards for Pushing The Boundaries and Best Instrumentalists, and was nominated for the 2009 JUNO Award for Instrumental Album of the Year.

    The band’s fourth album, “Sundogs”, is its finest and most ambitious to date. Recently nominated for two 2011 JUNO Awards – for Instrumental Album of the Year and Roots and Traditional Album Of The Year – “Sundogs” features the quartet in expanded instrumentation with guests that include some of Canada’s finest on drums, piano and pedal steel.

     
  • Qristina & Quinn Bachand - Family

    www.qbachand.com

    This brother and sister duo from Victoria, BC, have quickly emerged at the top of the Celtic music world. Qristina and Quinn Bachand won the 2010 Irish Music Award for Top Traditional Group in Festival, Pub & Concert and were also nominated as the Best New Irish Music Artist. Qristina Bachand is an expressive fiddler, with a unique style that is bold and edgy. Though strongly rooted in the Celtic tradition, her versatility and interests also include Old-Time, Appalachian, Swing & contemporary folk music. Fifteen-year old, Quinn Bachand, is one of the most gifted and creative Celtic guitar players today. Quinn adds a contemporary edge to traditional Celtic music; his hard-driving strumming, inventive chord voicing and powerful rhythmic effects make even the most well-worn tunes seem new and exciting. A sought after accompanist, Quinn has also performed with other artists such as Pierre Schryer, Daniel Lapp and Cape Breton’s Ashley MacIsaac with whom he’s toured across Canada and Australia, performing at festivals such as Edmonton Folk Festival, Mariposa Folk Festival, Cavendish Beach Music Festival, Celtic Colours, Ten Days on the Island (Australia), Castlemaine State Festival (Australia) and more.

    Qristina & Quinn Bachand, create music that is sophisticated, exciting & relevant to a whole new generation of Celtic & Roots Music lovers. Their critically acclaimed debut album, “Relative Minors” received a 2009 Canadian Folk Music Award nomination. Their highly anticipated follow up album, “Family”, features a repertoire of mostly Irish traditional music, with Qristina on fiddle and vocals and Quinn playing guitar plus a variety of other instruments including Irish tenor banjo, 5-string banjo, bodhran, harmony fiddle and electric guitar. Guest musicians include Zac Leger (uilleann pipes, flute, whistle), Scott Senior (cajon, bonjo, shakers, percussion), Adrian Dolan (accordion, mandola), Felix Prummel (low whistle), Oliver Swain (bass & vocals) & Bryan Skinner (bodhran). The album is co-produced by Qristina and Quinn Bachand and Adrian Dolan (The Bills). Recorded and mixed by Adrian Dolan at Baker Studios & Crossties Studios and mastered by Grammy Award winning producer Joby Baker at Baker Studios.

    Qristina and Quinn have performed across Canada, the US and Europe, they have appeared on national and international radio and television programs and have shared the stage with many of the world’s top Celtic and Roots musicians.

    Here’s what they’re saying about this young duo:

    “Qristina is a gutsy, fiery fiddle player… Quinn is nothing short of amazing.” – The Living Tradition
    “Qristina and Quinn are the most exciting act to come along in the world of Celtic music..” – Penguin Eggs
    “The Bachands have got the Celtic fever in spades and play it superbly.” – Roots Music Canada
    “A superb album by two of the most important young musicians in the international Celtic music scene.” – World Music Central”

     
  • Maz - Télescope

    www.espacemaz.ca

    Inspiré par des compositeurs tels que John Zorn et Béla Fleck, Marc Maziade (guitare électrique, banjo, pieds) vous invite à voyager dans l’univers de ses compositions : à partir de la mémoire musicale du Québec pour passer à travers les profondeurs du jazz modal et la transe des musiques actuelles.

    Pour son premier album, l’artiste s’associe à des musiciens parmi les meilleurs de la relève montréalaise : Robin Boulianne (violon, mandoline, pieds), Olivier Hébert (contrebasse), Gabriel Godbout-Castonguay et Jean-François Debellefeuille (Rhodes, Wurlitzer, Moog). Chacun d’eux apporte une couleur aux arrangements, faisant de MAZ un univers contemporain et enraciné.

    En février 2007, Marc Maziade reçoit carte blanche pour monter son propre projet musical dans le cadre du festival Ste-Rose en Blanc. Il fait alors appel à Robin Boulianne (compositeur et violoniste) avec qui il partage déjà une passion pour les musiques traditionnelle et jazz. Pour compléter l’ensemble, il invite les musiciens les plus inspirants de sa promotion à l’Université de Montréal : Louis-Joseph Cliche et Olivier Hébert. Par la suite, il enregistrera une première version de Quasis-s-pace avec Lévy Bourbonnais, Olivier Hébert et Jean-François Debellefeuille, pour une chorégraphie de danse du même nom. MAZ se retrouve pour quelques apparitions au fil des ans et se lance finalement dans l’aventure en 2011 en produisant son premier album, Télescope.

    Avec Télescope, MAZ insuffle une nouvelle vitalité à la musique traditionnelle québécoise en s’inspirant des grands courants musicaux actuels. Il crée une musique où l’on perçoit l’équilibre audacieux et efficace entre la fougue et la transe, entre les sons acoustiques et les sons électriques, entre affirmation et ouverture.

    Cet ensemble instrumental représente la richesse de l’identité culturelle du Québec moderne et souhaite la faire rayonner sur les scènes musicales nord-américaine et européenne.

     
  • Eh?! - Eh?!

    www.Ehtunes.com

    Eh?! is a new collaborative fiddle-based trio of Emilyn Stam, James Stephens and Anne Lederman. Solidly rooted in traditional styles, Eh?! is dedicated to exploring the myriad pathways between older fiddle traditions and newly created music, bridging the gap between fiddling as dance music and fiddling as artistic expression. Think of it as music with deep roots, soaring branches and birds leaving the nest, heading for distant horizons.

    All three core members of Eh?! sing and play several instruments as well as fiddle: voices, piano, mandolin, guitar, feet, percussion and accordion all weave their way through an Eh?! experience. Since Eh?! is devoted to collaboration and improvisation, anything can happen at an Eh?! event. Formed in 2009, Eh?! has performed at: The Saline Celtic Festival, The Flying Cloud Folk Club, The Weeds, Algoma Trad Music and Dance Camp, Legless Stocking, Goderich Suzuki School, The Dan Dance, and Christmas at the Assembly Hall. Eh?!’s first self-titled CD was released in June 2011, and features guest performances from Andy Hillhouse (guitar) Joe Philips (Bass) and Ben Grossman and Rob Graves (percussion).

    Emilyn Stam: is a young pianist and fiddler who worked closely with Oliver Schroer as a founding member of Twisted String. She is quickly being recognized as a brilliant improviser, composer and creative collaborator. IN addition to Eh?!, She currently works with Beneath the Ice. She has collaborated with Pierre Schryer, Daniel Lapp, David Woodhead, Anne Lindsay, Bill Brennan, Casey Sokol, Soozi Schlanger and Jaron Freeman-Fox, among others. Emilyn also recently released her debut solo album, Holding Time – a beautiful collection of solo piano improvisations recorded in the summer of 2008.

    James Stephens: James is known both for his work as a performer and as a producer/recording engineer. In performance, he plays a multitude of stringed instruments with an emphasis on fiddling. He has an abiding interest in various traditional styles, and also works extensively with singer-songwriters. He was the principal songwriter in critically acclaimed pop/roots band Fat Man Waving and has performed with many Ottawa area singer/songwriters such as Lynn Miles, Ian Tamblyn, Melwood Cutlery, and Terry Tufts. James is also a former member of Texas Swing group, The Black Donnellys and neo-traditional Celtic group, Six Mile Bridge. Currently, he performs with The Brian Pickell Band, Finest Kind, Ecosse (Bobby Watt, Duncan Gillis and Rob Graves), renowned clawhammer banjo player Ken Perlman, and JIIG (James, Ian Robb, Ian Clark, Greg Brown) whose self-titled CD won a Canadian Folk Music Award in 2005. James also teaches regularly at fiddle camps throughout Canada and the U.S.

    Anne Lederman: Originally from Manitoba, Anne is an internationally-acclaimed fiddler, singer, composer, multi-instrumentalist strongly rooted in several musical traditions – Celtic, Métis and French-Canadian, Klezmer, Balkan and African music. Over her 30 year career, Anne has worked with such bands as Muddy York, The Flying Bulgar Klezmer Band, Siyakha, and LOKA and such artists as Harry Hibbs, Margaret Christl, Don Freed, Holly Cole, Theresa Tova, Tom Leadbeater and Garnet Rogers, among others. She has her own band, Fiddlesong, and also performs with Njacko Backo and HAWP. She has recorded four CDs under her own name: Not a Mark in This World, 7 Cats, Come From Every Way and Fiddlesong. Anne also composes for theatre and her own play, Spirit of the Narrows, about the Metis fiddle tradition, was featured at the Blyth Theatre Festival in 2004 and 2005. Anne teaches traditional fiddle at the World Music Centre of the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto, and internationally at camps and festivals.

     
  • Raz-de-Marée/Tidal Wave - Marche du St-Laurent

    www.tidalwavemusic.com

    RAZ-DE-MARÉE est un ensemble de musique traditionnelle unique dans les eaux de la culture québécoise. Composé de musiciens accomplis, reconnus par leurs pairs comme étant des musiciens de haut niveau, l’ensemble a évolué depuis 2003 principalement sur les scènes des veillées, faisant perdurer la raison d’être de l’instrument traditionnel, celui de faire danser les gens.

    RAZ-DE-MARÉE dont les membres proviennent du Québec (Sabin Jacques à l’accordéon et Éric Favreau au violon), de l’Acadie (Rachel Aucoin au piano et au chant) ainsi que de la Nouvelle-Angleterre (Stuart Kenny, contrebasse et banjo) invite les cultures à se métisser et à partager la passion de la musique et de la danse traditionnelle.

    RAZ-DE-MARÉE offre une musique profondément enracinée, une musique authentique de cœur et révélatrice. S’appuyant principalement sur un répertoire traditionnel, leur musique déborde d’énergie contagieuse, de sensibilité et amène autant les danseurs que les auditeurs dans un univers de fraîcheur et de bonne humeur.

    RAZ-DE-MARÉE joue autant pour la danse que sous la formule concert, participe à des camps de maître et donne aussi des ateliers en milieu scolaire. Leurs performances toujours impeccables amènent le groupe à se produire régulièrement sur les scènes américaines. Il est d’ailleurs qualifié par plusieurs comme étant l’un des meilleurs orchestres de contredanse aux États-Unis.

    **********

    TIDAL WAVE is a unique traditional music ensemble on the Quebecois folk music scene. Composed of accomplished musicians, recognized by their peers as top musicians, the ensemble has evolved since 2004 primarily as a dance band, infusing them with the original essence of traditional instrumental music: to make people dance.

    TIDAL WAVE whose members come from Quebec (Sabin Jacques on accordion and violin Eric Favreau), Acadie (Rachel Aucoin on piano and vocals) and New England (Stuart Kenney on bass and banjo) invites cultures to meet and share a passion for traditional music and dance.

    TIDAL WAVE reveals a deeply rooted music, authentic and heartfelt. Relying primarily on a traditional repertoire, their music is contagiously energetic and sensitive. They propel dancers and audiences into a world of liveliness.

    TIDAL WAVE performs for dances as well as on concert stages, participates in camps and also offers school workshops. The band’s impeccable performances make them well in demand for American festival stages and have grown to be one of the best dance bands in the country.

    Their latest album MARCHE DU ST-LAURENT features inspired melodies, both bound to be danced to and listened to with pure enjoyment. Served by flawless execution and backed by a deliciously imaginative accompaniment, the album shows maturity and a rare blend of excellent musicianship.

     

English Songwriter of the Year

  • Ron Hynes - Stealing Genius

    www.hynesite.org

    Multi award winner Hynes is considered to be one of the finest Canadian songwriters. With a songwriting career that spans more than 30 years, Ron Hynes is a six-time East Coast Music Award winner, a Genie Award winner and a past Juno, CCMA and Canadian Folk Music Awards nominee. He’s been recipient of both Artist of The Year and the prestigious Arts Achievement Award from the Newfoundland & Labrador Arts Council, as well as a Lifetime Achievement Award from the St. John’s Folk Arts Council. Ron Hynes also holds an Honorary PhD from Memorial University for his songwriting and cont ribution to the cultural life of his beloved home province of Newfoundland (Canada).

    Frequently referred to as the “man of a thousand songs”, Ron Hynes’ songs have been covered by dozens of artists worldwide, including Emmylou Harris, Christy Moore, Mary Black, Denny Doherty, Murray McLauchlan, Valdy, John McDermott, Terry Kelly, Prairie Oyster, The Good Brothers, Shaye, The Cottars and most recently, classical soprano Hayley Westenra.

    Ron Hynes began his career as a singer-songwriter on the coffeehouse circuit in the early seventies and while on a Canadian theatre tour with The Mummers Troupe in ’76, he composed a song called “Sonny’s Dream” that’s become a folk classic performed and recorded by artists all over the world. He was a founding member of the Wonderful Grand Band, a musical comedy show featuring a six-piece traditional/folk/rock band together with various members of Codco. The group produced two albums of original work, forty-one half-hour television shows (plus specials) for CBC-TV, and tour ed the country non-stop during its six-year history.

    Ron Hynes recorded two original albums for EMI: “Cryer’s Paradise” (’93) and “Face To The Gale” (’97). The independently produced “11:11 Nfld. Women Sing” is a collection of songs co-written by Ron and Connie Hynes, sung by Newfoundland’s best female singers. Ron’s 1998 independent release “Standing In Line In The Rain” was awarded Best New Album from MusicNL.

    Ron’s moonlight career as an actor resulted in two principal theatre roles, as Newfoundland songwriter Johnny Burke in “The Bard Of Prescott Street”, and as country legend Hank Williams in “Hank Williams: The Show He Never Gave”. Ron also had a lead role in the Newfoundland Independent film release, “A Secret Nation”, for which his original song, “The Final Breath” won a Genie Award for best song. Ron spent most of his time in 1998 and 1999 involved in film and television projects, playing the irrepressible Johnny Shea in the CBC/Rinkrat TV series, “Dooley Gardens”, and closed out the decade as the subject of a concert/documentary film entitled “Ron Hynes: The Irish Tour” which continues to air on television networks throughout North America and abroad.

    In 2003 Ron Hynes released “Get Back Change” (Borealis), garnering MusicNL Awards for Male Artist, Country Album and SOCAN Song of the Year (Get Back Change), and winning the 2004 East Coast Music Awards for Country Recording of the Year and Album of the Year. Produced by Paul Mills at The Millstream Studios in Toronto, “Get Back Change” features 14 Ron Hynes’ songs, with guest performances by Sylvia Tyson, Cindy Church and Jenny Whiteley.

    December 2005 saw the launch of Ron’s first songbook, “Songs of Ron Hynes – Volume One”. Published by Vinland Music and distributed by Landwash Distribution, the book features 26 original Ron Hynes songs, arranged for vocal and guitar. Other recent projects include composing and performing the theme song for CBC-TV comedy series “Hatching Matching and Dispatching” , the musical soundtrack for the animated film “The Sparky Book”, and composing all songs for the Mary Walsh/Rick Boland stage play “High Steel”. He also contributed two original works to the feature film “Young Triffie’s Been Made Away With”.

    2006 marked the release of the “Ron Hynes” CD, a stirring coll ection of 14 soul-baring, personal songs, being touted by many as his most brilliant work to date. Ron teamed up again with producer Paul Mills and Borealis Records for this latest disc, which was the #1 most played album on Galaxie Network’s Folk-Roots channel for 2006. The “Ron Hynes” CD generated multiple regional and national award nominations, resulting in Ron Hynes winning the 2006 MusicNL Awards for Songwriter of the Year, Folk-Roots Artist of the Year, Entertainer of The Year and the 2007 ECMA for Male Solo Recording of the Year.

    In the fall of 2010 Ron’s new CD “Stealing Genius” was released by Borealis Records. Also, the feature film about Ron’s life “The Man of a Thousand Songs” debuted at the Toronto International Film Festival to sold out audiences and critical praise.

    Ron Hynes tours regularly throughout Canada and abroad, attracting enthusiastic audiences wherever he performs.

    For more, visit: www.hynesite.org ~~ www.myspace.com/ronhynes ~~ www.sonicbids.com/ronhynes

     
  • David Francey - Late Edition

    www.davidfrancey.com

    From carpenter to songwriter – Since leaving construction and recording Torn Screen Door in 1999 Scottish-born Canadian, David Francey is recognized as one of today’s finest singer-songwriters. He earned three JUNOs in less than 5 years. Francey also recently had the honour of receiving the prestigious SOCAN Folk Music Award, and the John Lennon Songwriting Award.

     
  • Mae Moore - Folklore

    www.maemoore.com

    Two-time SOCAN award winner for her songwriting and twice nominated for a Juno, Mae Moore is Canada’s quintessential bohemian. A touring musician, painter, and long-time environmentalist who has lived all over Canada, now makes her home on a working organic farm and heritage orchard in British Columbia’s Gulf Islands.

    All of these facets of Mae come together like never before on her new project, Folklore, a collection of songs inspired by Mae’s varied experiences living in different parts of this country.. Folklore is a bountiful harvest, rich in color and texture and substance. The title track “Folklore” explores the decisions one makes in life and how these decisions form one’s own mythology. “Oh, Canada” is a paean to the beauty and diversity of the country that Mae calls home. “ Tom Thomson’s Mandolin” is born of the legend and mystery surrounding the life, the death and the music of iconic Canadian artist Tom Thompson.

    Joby Baker (Cowboy Junkies, Alex Cuba) has captured Mae’s mature sophisticated mixture of folk, roots and jazz music, on Folklore. The core line-up sees Marc Atkinson (The Bills, The Marc Atkinson Trio) on guitars, Daniel Lapp on flugelhorn, Rick May on bass, Scott Sheerin on soprano sax, Baker on drums, bass, piano and strings, and of course, Mae and her signature sound of using alternate tuned acoustic guitars and dulcimer.

    “Listen to the gorgeous blend of lyrics and atmosphere on “Tom Thomson’s Mandolin”…It exists like a strange sonic cousin to Lightfoot’s “Edmund Fitzgerald”…Her songs carry the same crafted tradition as some of Canada’s finest: Bruce Cockburn, the McGarrigles, Joni Mitchell … but strongly bear the imprint of her own making.”
    ~Ben Mink – Musician/Producer (kd lang, Feist)

     
  • Lynn Miles - Fall for Beauty

    www.lynnmilesmusic.com

    There is something to be said for experience, for taking the time to grow into your own skin. All sturdy
    things need time to root firmly into the ground to find their strength. Lynn Miles is one of Canada’s most accomplished singer/songwriters. With seven albums to her credit, the winner of multiple Canadian Folk Music Awards, and a 2003 Juno Award for Roots & Traditional Solo Album of the Year, she has certainly found her strength over time.

    Through a career that has seen her move from Ottawa to Los Angeles and back again, with stops in
    Nashville and Austin, she has always written music with unbridled feeling and vulnerability. Miles has
    consistently been unflinching in putting herself out there. Now with her eighth studio offering Fall For
    Beauty the voice of her experience has truly elevated her songwriting to its richest depth of emotion.

    While her melodies undulate between traditional country and folk roots, on Fall For Beauty, it’s her
    sensitivity to the world around her that pours itself directly into Miles’ music to make it stand out.
    “Love Doesn’t Hurt” was written as an emotional plea for people in abusive relationships. “I wrote this
    song after watching Oprah do a show about domestic violence. She kept repeating “love doesn’t hurt”,
    and even though I’ve written plenty of songs about how emotionally painful love can be, I wanted to put
    this crucial idea right up there beside my other songs, for balance, and clarity.” says Miles. “I’ve been playing the song live and have been approached by several people who work at women’s shelters who tell me it’s a powerful song, and that they want to play it for their clients. There’s no better compliment than that.”

    Therein is the powerful secret behind Miles’ music – her astute observations of life, its trials and triumphs,
    are the hallmark of sincerity in her music. The gritty honesty of her music never falters – neither does her
    unshakeable ability to make even the most melancholy lyrics sound as if they are brimming with hope and
    grace. “Little Bird” infuses her lyrics with an assertive and encouraging voice. “I wrote this song after reading “In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts” by Gabor Mate. It’s the best book on addiction and articulates the need for compassion when dealing with addictions. The song about what I call The X Factor, the initial source of pain that can cause a person to seek solace in alcohol and drugs.

    Lynn MIles is a musician in the rarest sense of the word, an unmistakable talent, an eye for both the subtle and sweet that can only be unearthed with experience.

     
  • Bruce Cockburn - Small Source of Comfort

    www.brucecockburn.com

    Bruce Cockburn has always been a restless spirit. Over the
    course of four decades, the celebrated Canadian artist
    has travelled to the comers of the earth out of humanitarian concems—olten to trouble spots experiencing events that have led to some of his most memorable songs. Going up against chaos, even if it involves grave risks, can be necessary to get closer to the truth.

    Small Source of Comfort, Cockburn’s 31s’ album, is his latest adventurous collection of songs of romance, protest and spiritual discovery. The album, primarily acoustic yet rhythmically savvy, is rich in Cockbum’s characteristic blend of folk, blues, jazz and rock. As usual, many of the new compositions come from his travels and spending time in places like San Francisco and Brooklyn to the Canadian Forces base in Kandahar, Afghanistan, jotting down his typically detailed observations about the human experience.

    “Each One Lost” and “Comets of Kandahar,” one of tive instrumentals on the album, stem from a trip Cockburn made to war-torn Afghanistan in 2009. The elegiac “Each One Lost” was written after Cockburn witnessed a ceremony honouring two young Canadian Forces soldiers who had been killed that day and whose cofhns were being flown back to Canada. It was, recalls Cockburn, “one of the saddest and most moving scenes I’ve been privileged to
    witness?

    Produced by longtime associate Colin Linden, the album also features Annabelle Chvostek, a Montreal-based singer-songwriter with whom Cockburn wrote two songs on which they also harmonize: the introspective “Driving Away” and the driving, freewheeling “BoundIess.” ln addition to newcomers Scheinman and Chvostek, Small Source of Comfort includes such regular Cockburn accompanists as bassist Jon Dymond, drummer Gary Craig and producer Linden, who also plays guitar.

    As always, there’s a spiritual side to Cockburn’s latest collection, best reflected on the closin “Gifls,” a song written in 1968 and but recorded here for the first time, and “The lris of the World,” which opens the album. The latter includes the humorously rueful line, “I’m good at catching rainbows, not so good at catching trout.”
    That admission serves as a useful metaphor for Cockburn’s approach to songwriting. “As you go through life, its like
    taking a hike alongside a river,” he explains. “Your eye catches little things that flash in the water, various stones and llotsam. I’m a bit of a packrat when it comes to saving these reflections. And, occasionally, a few of them make their way into songs.”

    Those songs, along with his humanitarian work, have brought Cockbum a long list of honours, including 13 Juno
    Awards, an induction into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame, a Govemor Generals Performing Arts Award and
    several international awards. In 1982, he was made a Member of the Order of Canada and was promoted to Oflicer in 2002. Last year, the Luminato festival honoured Cockburn’s extensive songbook with a tribute concert featuring such varied guests as jazz guitarist Michael Oochipinti, folk-rapper Buck 65, country rockers Blackie and The Rodeo Kings, country-folk singers Sylvia Tyson and Amelia Curran, pop artists the Barenaked Ladies and Hawksley Workman, and folk-pop trio The Wailin’ Jennvs.

    Never content to rest on his laurels, Cockburn keeps looking ahead. “I’d rather think about what l‘m going to do next,” he once said. “My models for graceful aging are guys like John Lee Hooker and Mississippi John Hurt, who never stopped working till they dropped, as I fully expect to be doing, and just getting better as musicians and as human beings.” Small Source of Comfort, a reflection of Cockburn’s ever-expanding world of wonders, is the latest step in his creative evolution.

     

French Songwriter of the Year

  • Jean-François Lessard - Jean-François Lessard

    www.jeanfrancoislessard.com

    Jean-François Lessard est un auteur-compositeur-interprète et réalisateur musical québécois. Guitariste et chanteur autodidacte, c’est en voyageant durant près de cinq ans dans plus d’une vingtaine de pays qu’il a développé son goût pour la chanson à texte. Depuis une quinzaine d’années, il a présenté ou participé à plus de 1400 spectacles, manifestations et festivals au Québec, en Europe et ailleurs dans le monde.

    Celui qu’on compare encore souvent à Richard Desjardins, à Plume Latraverse ou même à Brel possède une plume aiguisée, pouvant glisser sur la peau ou pourfendre les esprits tout en gardant une bonne part d’autodérision. Éclaté et surprenant, Lessard occupe toute la scène en nous balançant un spectacle entre chanson festive et folk où les mots tendres et les répliques cinglantes sont au rendez-vous… Du brut et de la finesse tout à la fois!
    Septembre 2010: sortie du 2ième album de Jean-François Lessard (éponyme)
    Mai 2007: Lancement de l’album UTOPIA
    Octobre 2004 : Lancement du disque/maquette “Art-la-loi”

     
  • Alexandre Poulin - Une lumière allumée

    www.alexandrepoulin.com

    BIOGRAPHIE ALEXANDRE POULIN

    Ayant grandi dans une famille où la musique prenait une place importante, Alexandre plaque ses premiers accords à l’âge de 8 huit ans sur la guitare de son père. Le coup de foudre est instantané, à 10 ans, il compose déjà ses propres chansons, paroles et musique. Les galas amateurs d’écoles secondaires se succèdent rapidement pour laisser place aux bars de chansonniers où le chanteur fait ses classes dès ses 17 ans offrant un répertoire où classiques québécois, folk américains et chansons françaises se côtoient.

    À son arrivée à l’Université de Sherbrooke en 1998 où il poursuit des études pour être enseignant (son plan B), Alexandre se retrouve au Château Bromont. Il y sera en résidences toutes les fins de semaine pour les 4 années que durera son baccalauréat, profitant de cette vitrine pour jouer ses propres chansons et parfaire son expérience de scène.

    Ses études terminées, Poulin met les voiles vers le Costa Rica, alliant ainsi musique et voyage d’où il reviendra avec une multitude de chansons, dont le premier extrait de son album éponyme, Un bout de temps.

    Son premier album sous étiquette Victoire paraît en mai 2008 et reçoit des critiques élogieuses. Cet opus sur lequel se retrouvent histoires et personnages permet à l’artiste de se produire un peu partout au Québec avec son spectacle Conteur de chansons, chanteur d’histoires. On souligne aussi la qualité de l’album à l’ADISQ où l’auteur-compositeur-interprète est nominé dans la catégorie Révélation de l’année en 2009.

    Après une tournée de plus de 75 spectacles, la sortie de 7 extraits radio dont Un bout de temps, La prière et Fernand, un détour par la France en plus de chanter pour la délégation canadienne aux jeux Olympiques de Vancouver, Alexandre enregistre à l’été 2010 son deuxième album : Une lumière allumée.

    Une lumière allumée/
    Pour ce deuxième album, Alexandre Poulin a choisi de s’associer à l’un des réalisateurs les plus talentueux de sa génération, Éric Goulet (Monsieur Mono, Les Chiens), lui confiant ainsi le mandat d’habiller les contes et les personnages de ses histoires, mais aussi de trouver la texture musicale de chansons plus personnelles qui marquent un tournant dans l’écriture d’Alexandre.

    Ensemble, ils ont su créer un univers à la fois folk et planant où les guitares acoustiques, les cordes, mais aussi les chœurs et les instruments organiques se métissent pour créer un son qui sert magnifiquement l’écriture à la fois poétique et réaliste de l’auteur-compositeur-interprète.

    Mais ce qui marque avant tout sur Une lumière allumée, ce sont les textes et les histoires. Bien que les thématiques soient variées, on remarque une constance dans les questionnements d’une génération qui franchit les portes de la trentaine avec l’envie soudaine de regarder derrière et de croire que devant, tout reste à faire.

     
  • Claude Cormier - Acoustique

    www.claudecormier.ca

    Claude Cormier a grandi au bord de la mer, dans ce coin du Québec appelé les Îles-de-la-Madeleine. Pêcheur de métier, il est fasciné par la musique depuis bien des marées. Auteur-compositeur-interprète « de la relève » ayant déjà 10 ans de tournée et de travail en studio derrière lui, il écrit les événements du quotidien et les chante merveilleusement bien. En mars 2011, il offre un album tout en douceur et simplicité, intitulé … Acoustique. Claude vous donne un rendez-vous aux saveurs folk, teinté de la couleur chaleureuse et dynamique des Acadiens, avec la poèsie qui caractérise l’insularité des Madelinots.

     
  • Les Surveillantes - La racine carrée du coeur

    www.lessurveillantes.com

    Les Surveillantes
    Le public ne peut s’empêcher de sourire en voyant Les Surveillantes se produire sur scène. Le plaisir de la formation de Winnipeg est évident et contagieux. Rassemblés sur scène autour de deux micros, la proximité mène à une complicité sans pareille entre Danielle Burke (chant, guitare), Jérémie Gosselin (chant, banjo), Denis Vrignon-Tessier (chant, guitare) et Éric Gosselin (chant, basse). Si les groupes bluegrass américains ont initié cette simplicité volontaire en spectacle, Les Surveillantes présentent des chansons de leur propre cru, inspirées du folk, de la chanson française et du rock. Chansons dans lesquelles humour et sensibilité se renvoient la balle. Chaque membre du quatuor écrit, compose et chante à son tour la voix principale menant ainsi à une variété toute aussi divertissante que surprenante. Les harmonies, sujettes au rapprochement avec Beau Dommage et Harmonium, assurent aux pièces une cohésion et une richesse sonore indéniables.

    À l’automne 2010, Les Surveillantes livrent un premier album La racine carrée du coeur où l’authenticité et l’originalité du groupe prennent tout leur sens. Elles n’hésitent pas à proclamer leur amour pour autrui avec des théories de physique (La Force de gravité) ou à porter un regard satirique sur l’urbanisation galopante (Partons d’ici). Elles dressent un portrait émouvant du joug quotidien (Gros peureux) avant d’aborder le ridicule hebdomadaire (À l’épicerie). Leurs chansons reflètent autant les grands espaces qui les entourent (Thompson, Voyageuse) que leur vécu. Avec un album et un spectacle aussi simples que désarmants, Les Surveillantes sont promises à des lendemains qui chantent. Pas étonnant que, malgré son jeune âge, la formation accumule les prix et distinctions.

     

Aboriginal Songwriter of the Year

  • Vince Fontaine - Songs For Turtle Island

    www.vincefontaine.com

    Vince Fontaine is a guitarist, songwriter and producer. Born and raised in Winnipeg, Vince draws his musical and creative inspiration from Winnipeg’s vibrant cultural community and his Ojibway heritage.

    Vince is the founder, primary songwriter and guitarist of the music group Eagle & Hawk. Eagle & Hawk takes the lead in defining the genre of contemporary Indigenous music. To date, the band has received five dozen nominations and over 30 wins at awards ceremonies across North America, including a Juno Award. In 2010, Eagle & Hawk won “Best Group of the Year” and “Best Album of the Year” for their latest album The Great Unknown at the Canadian Aboriginal Music Awards.

    In 2009, Eagle & Hawk surged to new heights as they performed their first ever symphony show at special invitation from the world-renowned Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra.

    In 2008, Vince Fontaine was the recipient of the Winnipeg Arts Council’s prestigious “Making A Mark Award” presented at the Mayor’s Arts Luncheon.

    In 2011, Vince released his first solo album Songs For Turtle Island. On Songs for Turtle Island, Vince explores Indigenous stories and themes by combining traditional music elements with contemporary and classical instrumentation.

     
  • Robert Davidson & Terri-Lynn Williams-Davidson - New Journeys

    www.ravencallingproductions.ca

    Robert Davidson is one of Canada’s most respected and important contemporary visual artists. A Northwest Coast native of Haida descent, he is a master carver of totem poles and masks and works in a variety of other media as a printmaker, painter and jeweler. He is best known as an impeccable craftsman whose creative and personal interpretation of traditional Haida form is unparalleled.

    Robert is a leading figure in the renaissance of Haida art and culture and is a founding member of The Rainbow Creek Dancers with his brother, Reg Davidson. He is also one of the founding members of the Haida Gwaii Singers Society.

    Robert’s original song compositions in the Haida Language
    on the CD New Journeys by Terri-Lynn Williams-Davidson are an extension of his belief in perpetuating cultural traditions by practicing and evolving their form.
    His work in Haida songs is described in the Haida Gwaii Singers material: “Five longstanding singers of Haida songs formed The Haida Gwaii Singers Society in the year 2000 with the goal of educating Haida people and the general public about, and in the rich musical traditions of the Haida. The Society also seeks to reinvigorate Haida songs and protocol, perpetuating the continued use and existence of traditional and contemporary songs. Today, as in the past, Haida culture, songs and ceremonies
    continue to transform and evolve so that they can remain relevant to Haida people. The Haida Gwaii Singers Society celebrates and sustains the Songs of Haida Gwaii for this and future generations.”

    Born November 4, 1946 in Hydaburg Alaska, Robert’s Haida name is Guud San Glans/Eagle of The Dawn. He moved with his family to Massett on Haida Gwaii (Queen Charlotte Islands) in 1947 and lived there until 1965 when he moved to Vancouver to complete his education at Point Grey Secondary School. It was here that he first learned the fundamentals of silk-screening. In 1966 he met
    Bill Reid, who coached Robert on sculpture and design for
    18 months. Through Reid, he met anthropologist Wilson Duff, artist Bill Holm and learned much about the Haida art. In 1967 he enrolled in the Vancouver School of Art (predecessor to the Emily Carr University of Art and Design), a place he credits for developing his drawing and design skills.

    Robert Davidson was surrounded by fine carving from an
    early age as both his father, Claude Davidson and grandfather, Robert Davidson Sr. were respected carvers in Massett. His great grandfather was the famed Haida carver Charles Edenshaw.

    Robert began carving at the age of 13 when his father insisted he carry on the family artistic tradition. Since that time, he has continued to explore the carved form in a variety of traditional and non-traditional media including bronze. He is now the consummate Haida artist whose strong rhythms and personal style are recognizable and sought the world over.

    For more than thirty years, Robert Davidson has worked as an artist and has produced an internationally acclaimed body of work. His work is found in a number of important private and public collections including the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa, the Vancouver Art Gallery, the Canadian Museum of Civilization in Hull, Quebec, the Southwest Museum in Los Angeles and the Artists for Kids Gallery in North Vancouver. He has also received many honours for his accomplishments. In 1995 he received the National Aboriginal Achievement Award for his contribution to First Nations art and culture. He holds honourary degrees from the University of Victoria, Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, the Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas and the Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design in Vancouver, University of Northern British Columbia, and the University of British Columbia. He has received the Order of British Columbia, and in 1996 was awarded the prestigious Order of Canada, and received
    both the Governor General’s Award for Visual Arts and the Audain Prize for Lifetime Achievement Award in the Visual Arts in 2010.

    For more information about Robert Davidson, please visit:
    www.robertdavidson.com

     
  • Janet Panic - Samples

    www.janetpanic.com

    ARTIST BIO
    Biography
    Pronounced “Panich”
    Métis artist Janet Panic has built a reputation as one of Canada’s premier songwriters over the past ten years. Her captivating solo performances have attracted the attention of names such as Bruce Allen and Daniel Lanois all the while expanding a dedicated fan base nationwide. Her lyrics are on par with the greatest of writers. The Vancouver Sun called her “a cross between Lou Reed and Leonard Cohen”. She moves between haunting ballads and up tempo melodic foot tappers with flawless dynamics and arrangement. When she is heard, she is understood whether she is singing in English or French. Janet Panic’s appeal is universal and she brings magic where ever she goes.
    The return to the guitar and voice format reflects Janet’s insight into what the foundation of commercial music really is. With her new record she can perform the material with its intimate integrity regardless of the size of the venue. This allows the live show to mirror the songs as they were intentionally produced on the CD, thus marrying the touring artist with fans that wish to bring the experience home with them.
    Janet Panic is real. She brings a powerful presence everywhere she goes. The connection people feel with her music is special and she wishes to touch her audience in a deep and personal way. That quality in her art continues to grow as her career progresses, and the infectious pleasure that comes from this is impossible to miss!

     
  • Don Amero - The Long Way Home

    www.donamero.om

    Don Amero remembers it well. It was the day that changed his life. On September 15, 2007, he walked off his job as a hardwood flooring installer and set out to pursue music fulltime. And what a good day that turned out to be! In the past four years, Don has released three albums that generated two national awards and twelve nominations. He has toured the country from coast-to-coast, been invited to play festivals, been asked to perform with symphony accompaniment, and appeared on national television concerts. While a lot has happened for Don in a seemingly short time, in actuality, it was a long road for him to get to where he is today.

    From the notoriously tough North End of Winnipeg, Don faced his share of adversity growing up. With poverty, gangs, drugs and violence all around, fortunately, his life was tempered by love, support, and faith in a Greater Power. Shaped and molded by his own experiences, Don’s music now carries both the depth of hardship and luminosity of hope. For all who take the time to listen, his message is one of encouragement, positivity and beauty, despite the harshness of the world. Don’s desire to take a serious shot at music was ignited with the unexpected success of his debut album – fittingly called Change Your Life. Released in the fall of 2006, it garnered the #1 spot on the National Aboriginal Countdown and received a total of seven nominations for the Aboriginal Peoples Choice Music Awards (APCMAs). In February of 2009, Don released his second album Deepening, which saw two more singles climb to #1 on the National Aboriginal Countdown. Deepening also earned him Aboriginal Songwriter of the Year at the Canadian Folk Music Awards, Male Artist of the Year at the Canadian Aboriginal Music Awards, and two more nominations at the APCMAs. His professionalism and perseverance caught the attention of a local radio host, who bestowed Don with the James Brown Hardest Working Musician Award. While this one was meant to be a joke, in reality, it rings pretty true!

    Now working his third album, The Long Way Home was released in the fall of 2010. With impeccable production and presentation, The Long Way Home is receiving great reviews from media, and generating excitement among fans. The country-flavoured first single Right Where I Wanna Be has been featured on radio stations across Canada, and continues to climb the charts. It is also widely distributed – along with his first two albums – to HMV, 34 CD Plus stores across Canada, and is available on Itunes, Amazon, CD baby and other digital outlets.

    Grateful for his success so far, and eager to see what the future brings, Don’s decision to make music for a living is proving to be a good one. The year to come is quickly booking up with tours and featured performances, speaking engagements at youth gatherings, and invitations to industry and media events. It also holds all the potential in the world for his latest album, and ever-expanding music career.

    Don is deeply inspired by his life, his family, and his surroundings. That’s why he makes a point of spending as much time as possible at the cabin, canoeing in the wilderness, or traveling with his wife. Because no matter what else is going on, it’s the little things that matter most to him.
    Even though you could say it has been a long road for Don Amero, that’s okay. Because he knows for certain that now, he’s on the right one.

     
  • Kristi Lane Sinclair - I Love You

    kristilanesinclair.com

    Kristi Lane Sinclair was raised on grunge in the backwaters of British Columbia. A Haida Nation singer-songwriter armed with a classical guitar and the training to use it, Kristi’s debut album, ‘I Love You’ melds hard edged vocals, doleful viola and whimsical guitar lines. The seven tracks on ‘I Love You’ are an intoxicating mix of rock, folk, ambient and country.

    Kristi Lane Sinclair’s debut music video for “Last Song” will premiere on the APTN special “First Tracks” in December. Key tracks from ‘I Love You’ have been featured on Spirit Magazine’s “Roots and Rights” compilation CD (a bona fide collectible) and APTN’s coverage of the 2010 Olympic Games.

    Kristi Lane Sinclair is a nominee for Best Folk Album and Best Producer in this years Aboriginal People’s Choice Music Awards. A cross-Canada spring tour is in the works for 2011. See tour dates and hear her now at www.myspace.com/kristisinclair.

     

Vocal Group of the Year

  • Finest Kind - For Honour & For Gain

    www.finestkind.ca

    FINEST KIND was formed in 1991 in Ottawa, by Ann Downey, Ian Robb, and Shelley Posen. Since then, the trio has earned a solid reputation on both sides of the Atlantic for exquisite vocal harmony and an unusually wide assortment of songs.
    Given the Canadian, British and American origins and varied musical backgrounds of its members, the repertoire and sound of Finest Kind is hard to categorize. The trio’s common ground, however, and the key to their success, is a lifelong interest in old songs and a passion for harmony singing. File Finest Kind’s music under “Folk,” but only if that includes traditional British, American, Newfoundland, Ottawa Valley, Sacred Harp, gospel, English music hall, vaudeville, the Carter Family, Hank Williams, George Jones and Rudyard Kipling.

     
  • Les Charbonniers de l'Enfer - Nouvelles fréquentations

    www.lescharbonniersdelenfer.com

    Les Charbonniers de l’enfer
    C’est dans le souffle de leurs voix que tout prend forme. Comme une machine à voyager dans le temps, une rafale nous transporte dans un passé riche de culture.

    Seule formation québécoise a capella spécialisée dans la recherche et l’interprétation du répertoire de tradition orale, Les Charbonniers de l’enfer s’enflamment depuis 12 ans, calcinant les planches des salles de spectacles à travers le Québec.

    Formé de cinq chanteurs d’expérience – Michel Bordeleau, Michel Faubert, André Marchand, Jean-Claude Mirandette, Normand Miron – l’originalité de leur démarche est marquée par le sens de l’actualisation de leur répertoire qui assure, parallèlement, la continuité d’un patrimoine chanté alors qu’au rythme des voix s’ajoute le tapement de pieds.

    Avec leur dernière mouture « Nouvelles fréquentations », Les Charbonniers abordent un répertoire contemporain. De Neil Young à Félix Leclerc en passant par Noir désir et Daniel Lanois, Plume, Cassonnade, Daniel Lavoie et Florent Volant, Dédé Fortin, Les sœurs McGarrigle, Marcel Martel et même Bertolt Brecht, le résultat est étonnant et audacieux, matérialisant ces rencontres inattendues au rythme de chansons modernes, bien charbonnisées, avec voix et podorythmie : du trad pour demain… maintenant !

    *******
    It is in the breath of their voices that all takes form. Just as a time travel machine, a gust transports us in a past rich in culture.

    Les Charbonniers de l’enfer have been burning the boards of venues all over Québec for the past 12 years. It is the only “québécois” a capella group specialising in the research and interpretation of the oral tradition repertoire. To the rhythm of their voices is added the tap of their feet.
    Formed of five experienced singers – Michel Bordeleau, Michel Faubert, André Marchand, Jean-Claude Mirandette and Normand Miron – the group developed a harmonic complicity very much of here. The originality of their approach is marked by their sense of the actualisation of the repertoire which ensures, at the same time, the continuity of the vocal heritage.

    Les Charbonniers de l’enferis all fired up about their new album « Nouvelles fréquentations ». This amazing innovative concept is rooted in a contemporary repertoire that boogies from Neil Young to Félix Leclerc, with nods to Noir désir and Daniel Lanois, Plume, Cassonnade, Daniel Lavoie and Florent Folant, Dédé Fortin, the McGarrigle sisters, Marcel Martel and even Bertolt Brecht along the way. Don’t worry – you can still hear the voices and foot rhythms that define the group, but it’s “tomorrow’s trad” that’s on the program.

     
  • The Wailin' Jennys - Bright Morning Stars

    www.thewailinjennys.com

    The Wallin’ Jennys are Nicky Mehta, Ruth Moody and Heather Masse—three distinct voices that
    together make an achingly perfect vocal sound.
    Starting as a happy accident of solo singer-songwriters getting together for a one-time—
    onIy
    performance at a tiny guitar shop in Winnipeg, Manitoba, The Wallin’ Jennys have grown over the years
    into one of today’s most beloved international folk acts. Founding members Ruth Moody and Nicky
    Mehta along with New York-based Heather Masse continue to create some of the most exciting and
    exquisite music on the folk—roots scene, stepping up their musical game with each critically-lauded
    recording and thrilling audiences with their renowned live performances.
    ln 2004, The Wailin’ Jennys released their first full-length album 40 Days in the to great critical acclaim,
    and in 2005 it won them a Juno Award (Canadian Grammy) for Roots & Traditional Album of the Year.
    Bolstered by their frequent appearances on Garrison Keillor’s public radio show A Prairie Home
    Companion, The Jennys exploded onto the roots music scene, performing at packed venues across the
    Canada, the U.S. and throughout the world. Their next CD Firecracker was a powerful follow-up to their
    debut album and found The Jennys stepping out of the folk realm and into the world of alt-country, pop
    and rock. Garnering much attention, it was nominated for a Juno Award and won a 2007 Folk Alliance
    Award for “Contemporary Release of the Year.” lt charted for over 56 weeks on the Billboard charts
    and was followed up by their 2009 release Live at Mauch Chunk Opera House, which also spent over a
    year on the Billboard bluegrass charts. lt captured the magic of their live performances with show-
    stopping harmonies, impressive instrumental prowess, breathtaking songs and witty stage banter.
    Now, The Wallin’ Jennys join the ranks of Lucinda Williams and Emmylou Harris, recording their new
    studio album Bright Morning Stars with award-winning producer Mark Howard. Co-produced by
    frequent Jennys collaborator and Juno Award-nominated David Travers-Smith, the album combines
    fresh and innovative sounds with the band’s signature harmonies—a perfect mix of Americana, pop and
    traditional folk that is certain to be an instant classic.
    Although known primarily as an acoustic outfit, The Wallin’ Jennys have a wide range of musical
    backgrounds that have formed their musical sensibilities. Soprano Ruth Moody (vocals, guitar,
    accordion, banjo, bodhran) is a classically trained vocalist and pianist known as an accomplished,
    versatile singer of traditional and Celtic music and as the former lead singer of Juno-nominated roots
    band Scruj MacDuhk. She recently released her first full-length solo album The Garden, whose title trac
    :k
    was the #4 most played song of 2010 on international folk radio. Mezzo Nicky Mehta (vocals, guitar,
    harmonica, drums, ukulele), a trained dancer raised on classical music, 70′s a.m. radio and heavily
    influenced by alternative pop, was nominated for a Canadian indie Music Award for her solo album
    Weather Vane. ln July 2009 she became the proud mother to twin boys, Beck and Finn, who join the
    band on tour as the newest Jennys roadies. Alto Heather Masse (vocals, upright bass) is a Jazz Voice
    graduate of the New England Conservatory of Music, who has performed in Mark O’Connor’s Hot
    Swing, Darol Anger’s Republic of Strings and is a regular guest on A Prairie Home Companion. She hasalso toured with her own band, supporting her 2009 Red House release Bird Song. With their varying backgrounds, each of the Jennys is unique in their individual expression. Together they forge a unified foIk-pop sound-al| delivered with the irresistible vocal power of three.

    For more information about The Wallin’ Jennys, please visit www.thewaiIinjennys.com.

     
  • Good Lovelies - Let The Rain Fall

    www.goodlovelies.com

    Sunny and upbeat, with just a pinch of sass, the Good Lovelies textbook three-part harmonies, constant instrument swapping and witty on-stage banter have enlivened the folk music landscape since they joined forces in 2006 for their first show at Toronto’s funky Gladstone Hotel.
    How the Good Lovelies (Caroline Brooks, Kerri Ough and Sue Passmore) got together is a bit of a mystery: Sue remembers meeting her band mates during a limbo competition, Caroline thinks they met at a chess tournament, but Kerri is convinced they first crossed paths during a bar fight. Whatever the story may be, the ladies immediately realized they had something special, so they hit the road on a mission to charm Canadian audiences coast to coast.
    Their tireless rain or shine outlook and undeniable mutual respect have helped the trio weather years of constant touring. With jaunts to Australia, the UK and the US in their 2011 schedule, the Good Lovelies road-tested tenacity will bring them further afield than ever before.
    Light-hearted songwriting and irresistibly buoyant dispositions have made them the darlings of the summer festival circuit, including spots at the storied Mariposa and Hillside Festivals and the Montreal Jazz Festival. They have toured with Stuart McLean and the Vinyl Café and appeared on stages and in studios with Broken Social Scene, Kathleen Edwards and Jill Barber.
    In addition to their acclaimed holiday album, Under the Mistletoe (2009), which showcases old and new seasonal tunes (including three original songs), the Good Lovelies self-titled full-length album (also released in 2009) proved their blithe brand of folk music has year-round appeal. With this record, the Good Lovelies won New Emerging Artist at the Canadian Folk Music Awards. In 2010, this same album received a Juno for Roots/Traditional Album of the Year.
    Let the Rain Fall, their third full-length album, is an ode to camaraderie. With equal parts city and country, highway and home, wistfulness and sass, the Good Lovelies good humour and self-assurance shines through from the toe-tapping start of Made for Rain to the sweet final notes in the French-flecked Mrs. T. In between, you’ll hear reflections on urban imperfections with Backyard, straight-up love songs like Best I Know and upbeat numbers like Kiss Me in the Kitchen.
    The album, like the Good Lovelies, has a universal appeal, sure to please not just their fellow Canadians, but those south of the border and across the pond too.
    Let The Rain Fall, say the Good Lovelies, confident that bright and breezy days lie ahead.
    LET THE RAIN FALL

     
  • Genticorum - Nagez Rameurs

    www.genticorum.com

    En dix ans, le groupe trad québécois Genticorum s’est taillé une place de choix sur la scène internationale des musiques traditionnelles, folk et celtiques. Les trois premiers albums du groupe ont été salués par la critique au Canada et à l’étranger et lui ont permis de développer une solide carrière. Reconnu pour son énergie et sa présence scénique, le groupe a déjà présenté plus de 700 concerts dans une quinzaine de pays et son calendrier de spectacles est bien garni pour les années à venir.

    Le trio s’est produit sur de nombreuses scènes de renom et a été programmé dans plusieurs festivals prestigieux du milieu world/folk, tels Celtic Connections en Écosse, le Tonder Folk Festival au Danemark, le Vijlandi Folk Festival en Estonie, le Festival International de Chihuahua au Mexique, le Independent Music Festival d’Alexandrie en Égypte mais aussi en Malaisie, en Israël, ainsi qu’en Australie lors de troistournées mémorables… Ils ont été sélectionnés pour les concerts-vitrines du Womex à Newcastle, et tournent régulièrement en Grande-Bretagne, au Danemark, aux États-Unis et au Canada.

    Avec «Nagez Rameurs» (Roues et Archets – Outside Distribution), Genticorum poursuit sa démarche en proposant un album à la fois enraciné et moderne. Sous la direction musicale de Pascal Gemme, le groupe et ses invités de marque Stéphanie Lépine, Olivier Demers, Nicholas Williams et Grey Larsen signent un album d’un grand raffinement musical et d’une énergie brute irrésistible.

    Comme à l’habitude, les chansons traditionnelles et les pièces instrumentales s’entremêlent pour donner un ensemble riche et diversifié. Le thème des voyages, et plus particulièrement celui des «voyageurs» qui ont sillonné l’Amérique, est bien présent dans les chansons de l’album, notamment dans la chanson titre «Nagez Rameurs».

    ********

    Over the past decade the trad Quebec group Genticorum (Pascal Gemme, Alexandre de Grosbois-Garand and Yann Falquet) has become a fixture on the international world, trad, folk and Celtic music circuit. The trio’s first three albums met with critical acclaim in Canada, the United States and Great Britain, assuring the band a brilliant future. Known for its energy and its stage presence (and often mistaken for a larger ensemble), Genticorum has given more than 700 concerts in no fewer than 15 countries – and is showing no sign of slowing down: this is a band in high demand.

    Firmly rooted in the soil of their native land, the energetic and original traditional ‘power trio’ also incorporates the dynamism of today’s North American and European folk cultures in their music. They weave precise and intricate fiddle and flute work, gorgeous vocal harmonies, energetic foot percussion and guitar and bass accompaniment into a big and jubilant musical feast. Their distinctive sound, sense of humour and stage presence makes them a supreme crowd pleaser

    With its latest album, Nagez Rameurs (2011 Roues et Archets | Outside), the band continues to develop its unique sound, which is at once ancient and modern. Under Pascal Gemme’s musical direction, on this album the group is joined by such well-known trad artists as Stéphanie Lépine, Olivier Demers, Nicholas Williams and Grey Larsen, signalling a work of undeniable musical refinement and irresistible raw energy. As with previous Genticorum offerings, here the traditional songs and instrumental pieces are intermingled, resulting in an overall recording that is wide-ranging and rich. The theme of voyages, and more precisely voyageurs travelling the waterways of North America, runs throughout the album, most especially in its title track, “Nagez Rameurs.”

     

Ensemble of the Year

  • The Creaking Tree String Quartet - Sundogs

    www.creakingtree.com

    The Creaking Tree String Quartet

    String-band music has long been a staple of Americana. While the four members of the Creaking Tree String Quartet pay homage to that tradition, they refuse to be bound by it.

    Instead, the technically dazzling outfit uses fingerboards to leap stylistic boundaries and fuse intricate styles. The result is a smartly intellectual and yet deeply moving sound that’s a true Canadian original: jazz forms sliding over a rootsy bluegrass base, with flashes of chamber music, reverence and avant-garde experimentation.

    It’s the product of four adept and accomplished musicians, dedicated to performing unique and exciting material that raises the bar for instrumental acoustic music.

    Mandolinist Andrew Collins, guitarist Brad Keller, bassist Brian Kobayakawa, and violinist John Showman earned a Juno Award nomination for their 2003 debut CD. Their 2005 follow-up “Side Two” won the Pushing The Boundaries trophy at the 2005 Canadian Folk Music Awards, was named Instrumental Album of the Year at the Indie Acoustic Project Awards, and “Old Crow” won Song of the Year at the International Acoustic Music Awards. The band’s third album, “The Soundtrack” was produced, recorded and mixed by Grammy Award winner Bil VornDick. It won two awards at The Canadian Folk Music Awards for Pushing The Boundaries and Best Instrumentalists, and was nominated for the 2009 JUNO Award for Instrumental Album of the Year.

    The band’s fourth album, “Sundogs”, is its finest and most ambitious to date. Recently nominated for two 2011 JUNO Awards – for Instrumental Album of the Year and Roots and Traditional Album Of The Year – “Sundogs” features the quartet in expanded instrumentation with guests that include some of Canada’s finest on drums, piano and pedal steel.

     
  • Maz - Télescope

    www.espacemaz.ca

    Inspiré par des compositeurs tels que John Zorn et Béla Fleck, Marc Maziade (guitare électrique, banjo, pieds) vous invite à voyager dans l’univers de ses compositions : à partir de la mémoire musicale du Québec pour passer à travers les profondeurs du jazz modal et la transe des musiques actuelles.

    Pour son premier album, l’artiste s’associe à des musiciens parmi les meilleurs de la relève montréalaise : Robin Boulianne (violon, mandoline, pieds), Olivier Hébert (contrebasse), Gabriel Godbout-Castonguay et Jean-François Debellefeuille (Rhodes, Wurlitzer, Moog). Chacun d’eux apporte une couleur aux arrangements, faisant de MAZ un univers contemporain et enraciné.

    En février 2007, Marc Maziade reçoit carte blanche pour monter son propre projet musical dans le cadre du festival Ste-Rose en Blanc. Il fait alors appel à Robin Boulianne (compositeur et violoniste) avec qui il partage déjà une passion pour les musiques traditionnelle et jazz. Pour compléter l’ensemble, il invite les musiciens les plus inspirants de sa promotion à l’Université de Montréal : Louis-Joseph Cliche et Olivier Hébert. Par la suite, il enregistrera une première version de Quasis-s-pace avec Lévy Bourbonnais, Olivier Hébert et Jean-François Debellefeuille, pour une chorégraphie de danse du même nom. MAZ se retrouve pour quelques apparitions au fil des ans et se lance finalement dans l’aventure en 2011 en produisant son premier album, Télescope.

    Avec Télescope, MAZ insuffle une nouvelle vitalité à la musique traditionnelle québécoise en s’inspirant des grands courants musicaux actuels. Il crée une musique où l’on perçoit l’équilibre audacieux et efficace entre la fougue et la transe, entre les sons acoustiques et les sons électriques, entre affirmation et ouverture.

    Cet ensemble instrumental représente la richesse de l’identité culturelle du Québec moderne et souhaite la faire rayonner sur les scènes musicales nord-américaine et européenne.

     
  • The Wailin' Jennys - Bright Morning Stars

    www.thewailinjennys.com

    The Wallin’ Jennys are Nicky Mehta, Ruth Moody and Heather Masse—three distinct voices that
    together make an achingly perfect vocal sound.
    Starting as a happy accident of solo singer-songwriters getting together for a one-time—
    onIy
    performance at a tiny guitar shop in Winnipeg, Manitoba, The Wallin’ Jennys have grown over the years
    into one of today’s most beloved international folk acts. Founding members Ruth Moody and Nicky
    Mehta along with New York-based Heather Masse continue to create some of the most exciting and
    exquisite music on the folk—roots scene, stepping up their musical game with each critically-lauded
    recording and thrilling audiences with their renowned live performances.
    ln 2004, The Wailin’ Jennys released their first full-length album 40 Days in the to great critical acclaim,
    and in 2005 it won them a Juno Award (Canadian Grammy) for Roots & Traditional Album of the Year.
    Bolstered by their frequent appearances on Garrison Keillor’s public radio show A Prairie Home
    Companion, The Jennys exploded onto the roots music scene, performing at packed venues across the
    Canada, the U.S. and throughout the world. Their next CD Firecracker was a powerful follow-up to their
    debut album and found The Jennys stepping out of the folk realm and into the world of alt-country, pop
    and rock. Garnering much attention, it was nominated for a Juno Award and won a 2007 Folk Alliance
    Award for “Contemporary Release of the Year.” lt charted for over 56 weeks on the Billboard charts
    and was followed up by their 2009 release Live at Mauch Chunk Opera House, which also spent over a
    year on the Billboard bluegrass charts. lt captured the magic of their live performances with show-
    stopping harmonies, impressive instrumental prowess, breathtaking songs and witty stage banter.
    Now, The Wallin’ Jennys join the ranks of Lucinda Williams and Emmylou Harris, recording their new
    studio album Bright Morning Stars with award-winning producer Mark Howard. Co-produced by
    frequent Jennys collaborator and Juno Award-nominated David Travers-Smith, the album combines
    fresh and innovative sounds with the band’s signature harmonies—a perfect mix of Americana, pop and
    traditional folk that is certain to be an instant classic.
    Although known primarily as an acoustic outfit, The Wallin’ Jennys have a wide range of musical
    backgrounds that have formed their musical sensibilities. Soprano Ruth Moody (vocals, guitar,
    accordion, banjo, bodhran) is a classically trained vocalist and pianist known as an accomplished,
    versatile singer of traditional and Celtic music and as the former lead singer of Juno-nominated roots
    band Scruj MacDuhk. She recently released her first full-length solo album The Garden, whose title trac
    :k
    was the #4 most played song of 2010 on international folk radio. Mezzo Nicky Mehta (vocals, guitar,
    harmonica, drums, ukulele), a trained dancer raised on classical music, 70′s a.m. radio and heavily
    influenced by alternative pop, was nominated for a Canadian indie Music Award for her solo album
    Weather Vane. ln July 2009 she became the proud mother to twin boys, Beck and Finn, who join the
    band on tour as the newest Jennys roadies. Alto Heather Masse (vocals, upright bass) is a Jazz Voice
    graduate of the New England Conservatory of Music, who has performed in Mark O’Connor’s Hot
    Swing, Darol Anger’s Republic of Strings and is a regular guest on A Prairie Home Companion. She hasalso toured with her own band, supporting her 2009 Red House release Bird Song. With their varying backgrounds, each of the Jennys is unique in their individual expression. Together they forge a unified foIk-pop sound-al| delivered with the irresistible vocal power of three.

    For more information about The Wallin’ Jennys, please visit www.thewaiIinjennys.com.

     
  • Harry Manx & Kevin Breit - Strictly Whatever

    www.harrymanx.com/strictly-whatever

    HARRY MANX – born in the Isle of Man (you can find it in the atlas, with a magnifying glass, midway between the UK and Ireland), he came to Canada when he was a kid. Eventually, he moved on — and on, and on — to South America, China, Europe and India — before he returned home to Saltspring, an idyllic retreat off Vancouver Island.
    His years in India, and his mastery of the mohan veena (a 20-string modified slide guitar, developed by Manx’s mentor Vishwa Mohan Bhatt) influenced his accomplished slide guitar work, Harry’s deep affection for the blues and his laid-back vocal style led him to a career as a solo artist, with stunningly enthusiastic response from festival audiences in Canada, the U.S., Europe and Australia.

    Along the way he recorded his first album, “Dog My Cat,” in 2000, and followed it with “Wise and Otherwise” in 2001. Three more releases (“Road Ragas,” “west eats meet” and “Mantras for Madmen”) have followed.

    KEVIN BREIT lives in a small Ontario country town, but almost every Monday night — for more than 10 years — he has packed some of his many guitars and driven to the Orbit Room, a tiny club in the middle of Toronto’s Little Italy.

    “That gig grounds me,” he says, acknowledging that there have been times, on extensive world-wide tours with Cassandra Wilson or Norah Jones, that he’s had to get a substitute for the gig. “I remember once, in Brazil, looking at my watch and thinking, ‘heck, I’ve got to get ready for the Orbit Room’ before I realized where I was.”

    His studio work and tours with Wilson and Jones may have ramped up his fame, but he has become a first-call recording guitarist for literally hundreds of other artists. He seems to have particular empathy for women singers — recent sessions for Molly Johnson, Holly Cole, Rosanne Cash, Serena Ryder, Rita Chiarelli, Janis Ian, k.d. lang and Natalie MacMaster have added to a lengthening discography and pay tribute to his skills. To prove his versatility, he’s also recorded with Ian Tyson, Marc Jordan, Amos Lee and the Guess Who.

    He also leads at least three bands (at last count!), The Sisters Euclid, Folk Alarm and Supergenerous, and there are at least 15 CDs in the Breit catalogue.

    HARRY MANX + KEVIN BREIT ** are a duo who seem made for each other. More importantly, they’re made for us.

    Kevin Breit tells the story: “We were both at a folk festival in Owen Sound and were asked to share a workshop. We were introduced, we shook hands, and we went on stage and started to play. No rehearsal, no set list, no plans. And it was magic!” That was in 2001, and the instant friendship the pair had struck resulted in the award-winning album “Jubilee.”

    Now, several years on, the magic is still there. Says Kevin: “Originally, we planned a slide guitar album with Harry and my friend in California, Greg Liesz. Then, at the last minute, Greg got sick and couldn’t make it. But the studio was booked, tickets purchased, so we went ahead. At first, we thought we’d leave spaces for Greg to fill later —but, to be honest we just couldn’t leave an invisible hole. So we all decided to leave that idea for another time.

    “For four days we just played. Two or three takes of each tune at the most. It came together so well; Harry and I are a symbiotic team. And this was double the fun that we had four years back.”

     
  • Genticorum - Nagez Rameurs

    www.genticorum.com

    En dix ans, le groupe trad québécois Genticorum s’est taillé une place de choix sur la scène internationale des musiques traditionnelles, folk et celtiques. Les trois premiers albums du groupe ont été salués par la critique au Canada et à l’étranger et lui ont permis de développer une solide carrière. Reconnu pour son énergie et sa présence scénique, le groupe a déjà présenté plus de 700 concerts dans une quinzaine de pays et son calendrier de spectacles est bien garni pour les années à venir.

    Le trio s’est produit sur de nombreuses scènes de renom et a été programmé dans plusieurs festivals prestigieux du milieu world/folk, tels Celtic Connections en Écosse, le Tonder Folk Festival au Danemark, le Vijlandi Folk Festival en Estonie, le Festival International de Chihuahua au Mexique, le Independent Music Festival d’Alexandrie en Égypte mais aussi en Malaisie, en Israël, ainsi qu’en Australie lors de troistournées mémorables… Ils ont été sélectionnés pour les concerts-vitrines du Womex à Newcastle, et tournent régulièrement en Grande-Bretagne, au Danemark, aux États-Unis et au Canada.

    Avec «Nagez Rameurs» (Roues et Archets – Outside Distribution), Genticorum poursuit sa démarche en proposant un album à la fois enraciné et moderne. Sous la direction musicale de Pascal Gemme, le groupe et ses invités de marque Stéphanie Lépine, Olivier Demers, Nicholas Williams et Grey Larsen signent un album d’un grand raffinement musical et d’une énergie brute irrésistible.

    Comme à l’habitude, les chansons traditionnelles et les pièces instrumentales s’entremêlent pour donner un ensemble riche et diversifié. Le thème des voyages, et plus particulièrement celui des «voyageurs» qui ont sillonné l’Amérique, est bien présent dans les chansons de l’album, notamment dans la chanson titre «Nagez Rameurs».

    ********

    Over the past decade the trad Quebec group Genticorum (Pascal Gemme, Alexandre de Grosbois-Garand and Yann Falquet) has become a fixture on the international world, trad, folk and Celtic music circuit. The trio’s first three albums met with critical acclaim in Canada, the United States and Great Britain, assuring the band a brilliant future. Known for its energy and its stage presence (and often mistaken for a larger ensemble), Genticorum has given more than 700 concerts in no fewer than 15 countries – and is showing no sign of slowing down: this is a band in high demand.

    Firmly rooted in the soil of their native land, the energetic and original traditional ‘power trio’ also incorporates the dynamism of today’s North American and European folk cultures in their music. They weave precise and intricate fiddle and flute work, gorgeous vocal harmonies, energetic foot percussion and guitar and bass accompaniment into a big and jubilant musical feast. Their distinctive sound, sense of humour and stage presence makes them a supreme crowd pleaser

    With its latest album, Nagez Rameurs (2011 Roues et Archets | Outside), the band continues to develop its unique sound, which is at once ancient and modern. Under Pascal Gemme’s musical direction, on this album the group is joined by such well-known trad artists as Stéphanie Lépine, Olivier Demers, Nicholas Williams and Grey Larsen, signalling a work of undeniable musical refinement and irresistible raw energy. As with previous Genticorum offerings, here the traditional songs and instrumental pieces are intermingled, resulting in an overall recording that is wide-ranging and rich. The theme of voyages, and more precisely voyageurs travelling the waterways of North America, runs throughout the album, most especially in its title track, “Nagez Rameurs.”

     

Solo Artist of the Year

  • Ken Whiteley - Another Day's Journey

    http://www.kenwhiteley.com

    Ken Whiteley is one of Canada’s most respected roots musicians. Drawing on his
    incredibly rich background in blues, gospel and folk styles, this seven-time Juno award
    nominee is always a wonderful addition to any festival or concert series. He has
    played at virtually every major folk festival in Canada and performed and recorded with
    such legends as Pete Seeger, John Hammond Jr., Tom Paxton, Blind John Davis,
    Stan Rogers, The Campbell Brothers, Guy Davis, Raffi, Linda Tillery & the
    Cultural Heritage Choir and countless others. A prolific songwriter, a gifted and
    versatile instrumentalist and a powerful singer, Whiteley’s music communicates
    themes of freedom, love, spiritual aspiration and social comment. His performances
    are presented with participatory humor, grace and energy.

     
  • David Francey - Late Edition

    www.davidfrancey.com

    From carpenter to songwriter – Since leaving construction and recording Torn Screen Door in 1999 Scottish-born Canadian, David Francey is recognized as one of today’s finest singer-songwriters. He earned three JUNOs in less than 5 years. Francey also recently had the honour of receiving the prestigious SOCAN Folk Music Award, and the John Lennon Songwriting Award.

     
  • Mae Moore - Folklore

    www.maemoore.com

    Two-time SOCAN award winner for her songwriting and twice nominated for a Juno, Mae Moore is Canada’s quintessential bohemian. A touring musician, painter, and long-time environmentalist who has lived all over Canada, now makes her home on a working organic farm and heritage orchard in British Columbia’s Gulf Islands.

    All of these facets of Mae come together like never before on her new project, Folklore, a collection of songs inspired by Mae’s varied experiences living in different parts of this country.. Folklore is a bountiful harvest, rich in color and texture and substance. The title track “Folklore” explores the decisions one makes in life and how these decisions form one’s own mythology. “Oh, Canada” is a paean to the beauty and diversity of the country that Mae calls home. “ Tom Thomson’s Mandolin” is born of the legend and mystery surrounding the life, the death and the music of iconic Canadian artist Tom Thompson.

    Joby Baker (Cowboy Junkies, Alex Cuba) has captured Mae’s mature sophisticated mixture of folk, roots and jazz music, on Folklore. The core line-up sees Marc Atkinson (The Bills, The Marc Atkinson Trio) on guitars, Daniel Lapp on flugelhorn, Rick May on bass, Scott Sheerin on soprano sax, Baker on drums, bass, piano and strings, and of course, Mae and her signature sound of using alternate tuned acoustic guitars and dulcimer.

    “Listen to the gorgeous blend of lyrics and atmosphere on “Tom Thomson’s Mandolin”…It exists like a strange sonic cousin to Lightfoot’s “Edmund Fitzgerald”…Her songs carry the same crafted tradition as some of Canada’s finest: Bruce Cockburn, the McGarrigles, Joni Mitchell … but strongly bear the imprint of her own making.”
    ~Ben Mink – Musician/Producer (kd lang, Feist)

     
  • Ruth Moody - The Garden

    www.ruthmoody.com

    Ruth Moody is a Juno Award winning singer-songwriter from Winnipeg, Manitoba. Founding member of the internationally renowned, Billboard-charting trio The Wailin’ Jennys and former lead singer of the Canadian roots band Scruj MacDuhk, she has performed in sold-out venues around the world, made numerous critically-acclaimed albums, and has appeared more than a dozen times on the American national radio show A Prairie Home Companion.

    Although best known for her work with The Wailin’ Jennys, Ruth is an artist of exceptional depth and grace in her own right. Critics have lauded her ethereal vocals, impressive multi-instrumentalism (she plays guitar, banjo, accordion, piano, ukulele, and bodhrán), and her talent as a songwriter. Writing with a maturity and wisdom that belies her age, her songs are timeless, universal, and exceptionally well-crafted, all sung with an intimacy and honesty that is unmistakably her own.

    Ruth was a finalist in the USA Songwriting Competition and was recognized by the International Songwriting Competition for her song “One Voice,” which has gone on to be a signature song for The Wailin’ Jennys. It has been covered by countless artists and has been performed in concert halls, churches and schools throughout the world.

    In 2010, Ruth released her highly anticipated solo album, The Garden. It received rave reviews, was nominated for a Juno award for Roots album of the year (solo) and its title track was the fourth most played album of 2010 on North American Folk Radio. It was produced by Juno nominee David Travers-Smith and features an all-star cast including Kevin Breit (Norah Jones, k.d. lang), Luke Doucet, Crooked Still, and a guest appearance by The Wailin’ Jennys.

    Ruth recently showcased at the South By Southwest (SXSW) Music Festival and will continue to tour throughout 2011 and 2012, playing solo and with The Wailin’ Jennys.

     
  • Bruce Cockburn - Small Source of Comfort

    www.brucecockburn.com

    Bruce Cockburn has always been a restless spirit. Over the
    course of four decades, the celebrated Canadian artist
    has travelled to the comers of the earth out of humanitarian concems—olten to trouble spots experiencing events that have led to some of his most memorable songs. Going up against chaos, even if it involves grave risks, can be necessary to get closer to the truth.

    Small Source of Comfort, Cockburn’s 31s’ album, is his latest adventurous collection of songs of romance, protest and spiritual discovery. The album, primarily acoustic yet rhythmically savvy, is rich in Cockbum’s characteristic blend of folk, blues, jazz and rock. As usual, many of the new compositions come from his travels and spending time in places like San Francisco and Brooklyn to the Canadian Forces base in Kandahar, Afghanistan, jotting down his typically detailed observations about the human experience.

    “Each One Lost” and “Comets of Kandahar,” one of tive instrumentals on the album, stem from a trip Cockburn made to war-torn Afghanistan in 2009. The elegiac “Each One Lost” was written after Cockburn witnessed a ceremony honouring two young Canadian Forces soldiers who had been killed that day and whose cofhns were being flown back to Canada. It was, recalls Cockburn, “one of the saddest and most moving scenes I’ve been privileged to
    witness?

    Produced by longtime associate Colin Linden, the album also features Annabelle Chvostek, a Montreal-based singer-songwriter with whom Cockburn wrote two songs on which they also harmonize: the introspective “Driving Away” and the driving, freewheeling “BoundIess.” ln addition to newcomers Scheinman and Chvostek, Small Source of Comfort includes such regular Cockburn accompanists as bassist Jon Dymond, drummer Gary Craig and producer Linden, who also plays guitar.

    As always, there’s a spiritual side to Cockburn’s latest collection, best reflected on the closin “Gifls,” a song written in 1968 and but recorded here for the first time, and “The lris of the World,” which opens the album. The latter includes the humorously rueful line, “I’m good at catching rainbows, not so good at catching trout.”
    That admission serves as a useful metaphor for Cockburn’s approach to songwriting. “As you go through life, its like
    taking a hike alongside a river,” he explains. “Your eye catches little things that flash in the water, various stones and llotsam. I’m a bit of a packrat when it comes to saving these reflections. And, occasionally, a few of them make their way into songs.”

    Those songs, along with his humanitarian work, have brought Cockbum a long list of honours, including 13 Juno
    Awards, an induction into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame, a Govemor Generals Performing Arts Award and
    several international awards. In 1982, he was made a Member of the Order of Canada and was promoted to Oflicer in 2002. Last year, the Luminato festival honoured Cockburn’s extensive songbook with a tribute concert featuring such varied guests as jazz guitarist Michael Oochipinti, folk-rapper Buck 65, country rockers Blackie and The Rodeo Kings, country-folk singers Sylvia Tyson and Amelia Curran, pop artists the Barenaked Ladies and Hawksley Workman, and folk-pop trio The Wailin’ Jennvs.

    Never content to rest on his laurels, Cockburn keeps looking ahead. “I’d rather think about what l‘m going to do next,” he once said. “My models for graceful aging are guys like John Lee Hooker and Mississippi John Hurt, who never stopped working till they dropped, as I fully expect to be doing, and just getting better as musicians and as human beings.” Small Source of Comfort, a reflection of Cockburn’s ever-expanding world of wonders, is the latest step in his creative evolution.

     

World Solo Artist of the Year

  • Lenka Lichtenberg - Fray

    www.lenkalichtenberg.com

    Lenka Lichtenberg was born and raised in Prague, in the former Czechoslovakia. Her mother was a child survivor from Terezin concentration camp. She was a “child star” in the musical theatre Semafor, and graduated from the Prague Music Conservatory. She earned her Master of Arts degree in Ethnomusicology at the York University (1995), and taught music at the Ryerson Polytechnic University in Toronto until 2005. Today, Lenka is a singer, composer, arranger, producer, ethnomusicologist and bandleader of the award-winning swing-klez band Sisters of Sheynville, and her own six piece world-jazz ensemble “Fray”.
    Tours and performances:
    In 2011, Lenka and Fray presented concerts of original music in Toronto (Lula Lounge), Montreal (La Sala Rossa), and Quebec City (Café Babylone). In December, 2010, she performed with the Israeli oud virtuoso Yair Dalal in sold-out theatre shows in Prague, and Kosice (Slovakia). In October 2010, she took the Fray band on 4-date tour to Argentina. In July, 2010, she performed with her Fray co-leader and co-producer Alan Hetherington (Tasa, Escola di Samba, The Merlin Project, Sambacana) at the Boskovice Festival in Czech Republic. Concerts of original music in 2009 – Buenos Aires with German clarinet virtuoso Christian Dawid, at Chutzpah! in Vancouver, San Francisco with Kinneret Sagee, Tel Aviv with local musicians, London – solo, Prague with Christian Dawid, Holland with Brian Katz and Kinneret Sagee. Earlier important performances (2004-2008) include: La fete de la musique in Geneva, Switzerland; Klezmore in Vienna; the Leeds International Festival of Performing Arts (UK); concerts in New York; Australia and der Brücke/Most-Stiftung’s culture festival in Dresden, Germany.
    Recordings, composition, projects: Lenka has recorded 4 solo albums, evolving from traditional music to her own take on Yiddish-based world music. She writes her own music, original compositions and arrangements, for her “Fray” band and Sisters of Sheynville. Her original song “Phoenix” is included on “World Jazz for Haiti” compilation CD of some of Canada’s leading jazz and world artists, produced by George Koller (2010). One of Lenka’s current projects is “Songs for the Breathing Walls”, a collection of live recordings in mostly abandoned Czech and Moravian synagogues, with a wide array of international artists. Lenka has also created “Bridges” with Roula Said, a musical dialogue of Yiddish and Arabic music (debut performance in April, 2011).
    Discography
    Upcoming: “Bridges Live at the Lula Lounge” (August 2011); “Songs for the Breathing Walls” (November 2011); fray (2010): world Yiddish/English fusion (produced with Alan Hetherington); Lomir Zingen (2008): collection of children’s Yiddish songs, producer; Pashtes (2006) Original Yiddish music (produced with Brian Katz) – Canada Council’s Special Recording Grant; Open The Gate (2003) original songs in English, French (produced by Levon Ikhchkanian); Deep Inside (1999) trad. Yiddish and original songs in English (produced by Ken Whiteley). Other: Sheynville Express: with Sisters of Sheynville (2007), produced by Eric Stein.

     
  • Massiel Yanira - Una Voz

    www.massielyanira.com

    “Una Voz” is the first album of Canadian singer and composer Massiel Yanira. Born of a Latin American mother and a father from Quebec Massiel Yanira discovered from an early age, all the beauty and generosity of spanish-speaking cultures. Open to the world, she shared her life among El Salvador, Haiti and Quebec. In 2003, she completed her bachelor’s degree in classical singing at McGill University.

    After exploring different avenues, she started working on her compositions with bass player and composer Mathieu Gagné. Inspired and delighted by this creative and artistic journey, Massiel Yanira presented her songs to Alex Cattaneo, the producer and arranger of her debut album “Una Voz” recorded in Montreal in 2010.
    _____________________________________________________________
    Massiel Yanira connaît un parcours diversifié et ce, de par sa relation privilégiée avec les trois pays marquants de son enfance (Canada, El Salvador, Haïti). Née à Montréal d’une mère latino-américaine et d’un père québécois, elle grandit entre ces deux cultures. Très tôt, la musique prend une place importante dans sa vie. Vivant à Port-au-Prince en Haïti à l’âge de 6 ans, elle prend ses premiers cours de piano et de musique. De retour au Québec, elle fait partie du choeur « L’ Art qui chante au féminin » sous la direction de Gilbert Patenaude (Les Petits Chanteurs du Mont-Royal). En février 1991, elle chante et joue son premier rôle à l’opéra dans I Pagliacci de Leoncavallo (i ragazzi) présenté à la Place des Arts avec l’OSM.

    Massiel quitte le Québec à l’adolescence et s’installe à San Salvador, en Amérique centrale. Elle s’imprègne alors de la beauté, de la chaleur et des contrastes saisissants de la région. Cet environnement lui permet d’approfondir ses connaissances de la langue et de la culture latino-américaines. Elle revient au Canada afin de compléter son baccalauréat en chant classique à l’Université McGill (2003).

    Après avoir exploré différentes avenues, une collaboration plus étroite s’installe sur le plan musical et professionnel avec Mathieu Gagné, contrebassiste et compositeur. La musique latine s’impose alors naturellement au coeur de sa démarche. À l’automne 2008, elle rencontre Alexandre Cattaneo qui deviendra le réalisateur et l’arrangeur de son premier album solo « Una Voz ». De plus, Massiel se joint à la formation polyculturelle Roberto Lopez Project, avec qui elle a enregistré le deuxième album « Soy Panamericano », nommé aux Juno Awards 2011 dans la catégorie du meilleur enregistrement de musiques du monde.

     
  • Terri-Lynn Williams-Davidson - New Journeys

    www.ravencallingproductions.ca

    Along with being a well-known lawyer representing the Haida Nation in the area of aboriginal-environmental law, Terri-Lynn’s life’s work and passion has been to preserve the Haida songs of her culture. Born in Haida Gwaii off the west coast of Canada, Terri-Lynn has been a promoter of Haida music since the age of 13. She began singing Haida songs at a time when there were few Haida singers practising this musical tradition. As a young girl, she was drawn to the songs her great-grandmother and grandmother sang and sought out more of the music which she subsequently helped rescue from obscurity. For her work, which has spanned over 30 years and has helped bring renewal to Haida songs, she received a “Keeper of Traditions” Canadian Aboriginal Music Award in 2008.

    Terri-Lynn founded the Haida Gwaii Singers Society with other veteran Haida singers including her husband, artist Robert Davidson in 2000. As executive producer, fundraiser, project coordinator, writer and researcher for the project she was instrumental in producing archival and new recordings of over 450 traditional Haida songs. The two CD collections, “Songs of Haida Gwaii: Haida Gwaii Singers Anthology” (contemporary recordings) and “Songs of Haida Gwaii: Archival Anthology” are now part of museum and school collections and preserve songs that might otherwise have been lost.

    One of the CD’s from the Contemporary box set featuring Terri-Lynn as a solo singer: Lalaxaaygans: Beautiful Sound, received the “Best Female Traditional / Cultural Roots” award at the 2009 Canadian Aboriginal Music Awards (CAMA).

    In June 2011 Terri-Lynn released her first solo CD with original compositions – New Journeys – a collaboration with renowned classical composer Bruce Ruddell. Adding instrumentation to songs sung in the Haida language is a new and ground-breaking concept introduced on this CD, intended to build a bridge for a wider audience to appreciate the beauty of the Haida language and musical traditions.

    Terri-Lynn has recorded for film and television. Her voice has graced potlatches, exhibitions, ceremonies and conferences throughout the world including Indonesia, Italy, Amsterdam and New York.

    “Learning the Haida language through Haida songs led to an interest in ceremonies, medicines, and other cultural knowledge. I learned that the songs come from the land, and are a reflection of the land. From this basis, I was inspired to become a lawyer to protect the land. All are connected.” Terri-Lynn Williams Davidson

     
  • Zekuhl - I BOLO

    www.zekuhl.com

    Atna Njock est un multi-instrumentiste émérite d’origine camerounaise. Né au Québec en 1970, il a grandi au Cameroun en Afrique Centrale. Autodidacte, il a été initié dès son plus jeune âge aux traditions musicales camerounaises, bantoues et celles des Pygmées Baka proches de son village Kaya. Son bagage musical traditionnel s’est enrichi également par le développement de notions musicales jazz, classiques, contemporaines et modernes des musiques du monde.
    Guitares, balafons, Mbè (tambour long à peau), Nkuu ou téléphone africain, sont ses instruments de prédilection. Le Nkuu (prononcé Nkou), appelé le Téléphone africain est un tambour en bois avec fentes qui reproduit les langues parlées avec ses tons à l’aide d’un système ancestral de codes rythmiques. Il sert à communiquer entre les villages et à célébrer les rituels et les annonces de la vie.
    Arrivé au Québec en 1989, Atna Njock, alias Zekuhl, est l’un des précurseurs de la diversité musicale du Québec. Ses deux premiers albums, Zekuhl (1992) et Amon (1997), ont marqués les années 90. Auteur-compositeur-interprète, il écrit et compose le jeu de chaque instrument et des voix. Chaque composition parle le langage des traditions musicales ancestrales camerounaises. Chez les Bàsàa, le ”Bolbo” est un rituel musical de rencontres. C’est le terme qu’il utilise pour définir l’univers artistique de sa musique Afro Bolbo Jazz dont le temps et le mode d’expression sont la vie de tous les jours, la diversité et la spiritualité. En 2011, il sort son troisième album «Í Bòló» autoproduit, qui signifie «Effort». Cet opus présente douze compositions originales chantées en français, en Bàsàa, sa langue maternelle, et en anglais, qui expriment les efforts à réaliser chaque jour pour améliorer nos conditions de vie.
    Il partage également la richesse de sa culture à travers les arts de la scène, des collaborations artistiques, des cours, des ateliers, et des conférences. Il a donné de nombreux spectacles : Festival international de Jazz de Montréal, Festival Nuits d’Afrique, Traditions du Monde de Sherbrooke, Francofolies de Montréal, Musique Multi-Montréal, Festivals de Jazz d‘Ottawa, Womad à Toronto, Afrofest, etc.

     
  • Kiran Ahluwalia - aam zameen : common ground

    www.kiranmusic.com

    Born in India, raised in Canada, and now living in New York City, Kiran is an award winning vocalist and composer who released aam zameen : common ground, her 5th album in January , 2011. The UK’s, fRoots Magazine stated that she had, “a voice destined to enchant more than one generation” and US based Sing Out Magazine proclaimed that her artistry has “a deep spirituality and tranquility that borders on the mystic”. Songlines Magazine named her 2005 self titled release one of the Top Ten Albums of the year. And in 2009, they gave her an inaugural Songlines Music Award for her album Wanderlust, an honour she shared with such luminaries as Amadou and Miriam and Rokia Traore. All of her new releases have been nominated for a JUNO and her 2004 release, Wanderlust took home the Award for Best World Music Album of the Year.
    The new album, Aam Zameen : Common Ground is an inspiring step forward in the evolution of an artist who, while firmly rooted in the Indian genres of ghazal and Punjabi folk songs, is continually embracing influences from around the world. Her previous recordings have merged her Indian roots with musical styles as diverse as Portuguese fado, Celtic fiddle, Afghani rhubab and even hints of bossa nova. Now, on Aam Zameen, Kiran takes her penchant for fusing styles to a whole new level, by bringing to fruition her love of Tuareg rhythms – an infatuation that took root several years ago.
    Her first big exposure to the sound was when she heard the seminal Malian group, Tinariwen, in a concert in Toronto in 2004. Like many music lovers around the world since, Ahluwalia discovered the liberating power of their trance like rhythms. Kiran set out to find a way to meld her own musical aesthetics – rooted in the genres of ghazal and Punjabi folk songs – with the looser and more heavily blues influenced Tuareg sounds. She sought other groups from the Mali and Algeria to listen to, notably the up and coming group, Terakaft and she continued to dig her way deep into the sounds and the loose, hypnotic grooves of the Sahara. At the same time these musical ideas were taking flight, she quite unexpectedly expanded into another direction of artistic transition. For the first time, she began writing some of her own poems. “Proper ghazal poems were not letting me compose the hybrid music I was imagining and so I started to write my own lyrics,” she says, “something I had not really done outside of my dear diary entries meant only to be repeated as a symbol of sorority with a close friend. So imagine my surprise at my own words, coming out of my own pen.”
    Kiran started piecing together a road map for how to compose her new Urdu poems with an underpinning of the Tuareg phrasing and rhythms. She explains. “When you take two styles of music and merge them together – and you don’t want a simple cut and paste – then you are really trying to develop a hybrid genre. You’re doing something with no clear blueprints to help you. You have to figure it out by trying different things and seeing what works and what doesn’t. It’s really scary and sometimes stressful, but it’s also incredibly invigorating when you find those connections between things that didn’t seem to connect before. Those moments of discovery are nothing short of sublime. It’s really the essence of everything for me, musically.”

     

World Group of the Year

  • Nizar Tabcharani & The Backstrings - Bayati Ana

    www.backstrings.com

    Nizar Tabcharani, Studied music at The National Conservatory of Music of Lebanon. In Canada Nizar obtained a Bachelor Degree in Computer Science and Minor in Music from Concordia University. Nizar is extensively experienced in performing on the Kanoun with many Arabic folkloric troupes, which toured extensively throughout Lebanon and other Middle Eastern countries. He participated in the prestigious: Conservatoire du Liban ensemble, consisting of seventy of Lebanon’s finest musicians. The group was invited by Radio Stuttgart, in Germany where Lebanon was represented among thirty other countries. In addition, Nizar took part in numerous tours organized by folkloric cultural companies, sponsored by The Ministry of Tourism of Lebanon. Nizar has played in several national tour circuits taking him to: Gulf countries, as well as several African and American continent concert dates. In one of these: The International Exposition of Poitiers in 1997, Mr.Tabcharani was acting musical director of the company throughout the tour to France. The busy ensemble played packed houses alongside a host of famous singers and artists in an exhaustive visit of more than 30 countries. In 2001 Nizar Tabcharani performed in the 22nd edition of the ever popular Festival International de Jazz de Montréal. He was seen and heard on his kanoun on Télé Québec on January 23, 2001 and played for a Middle Eastern exposition at the Musée d’Art National of Quebec City. The years 2002 and 2003 brought Nizar to spotlights on Canadian stages at : Le Festival du Monde Arabe where he played with Christine Atallah and the Bassalindos, The Lebanese Festival, Les Francofolies, Winiarziana, Montreal, and the Lebanorama Festival in Ottawa, where he is a frequent guest.
    In 2004 Nizar Tabcharani co-founded the group BACKStrings with other 3 musicians, the group got very popular in a very short time and in 2005 they enchanted Montreal in several concerts, Festival des Musiques et Du Monde, Festival International de Jazz de Montréal where they performed in front of 20, 000 spectators, Concerti sous la pergola, Xtreme Music Group just to name a few.

    Nizar Tabcharani is a Canadian citizen and plays often in Montreal, Ottawa and Quebec best venues featuring Oriental Jazzy music. He is also a member of the band Aghanina, in which he arranges and composes music for the choir of 24 singers. He is usually present at every edition of the Festival du Monde Arabe to much critical acclaim. He composes his own music and recently recorded and produced with the Backstrings their new album called: Bayati Ana of his own compositions and arrangements to be released late June 2010. He aims to bring the beautiful sounds of his kanoun and its Middle Eastern melodies to audiences everywhere.

     
  • Trio Bembe - OH MY SOUL

    www.triobembe.com

    The brush of palm leaves, the whispering waves, the salt in the air. You reach the end of the beach, and feel a steady beat. A little closer and you hear the strum of a guitar. Just as you arrive, a voice rings out strong and clear. This isn’t a dream. It’s Trio Bembe.

    Out of the snowy Canadian prairies rises a tropical breeze from a surprising source. Three musicians join, having chased their passion to Cuba, Brazil, and Chile; Trio Bembe’s mastery of Latin music drives their audiences into a rhythmic frenzy.

    Amber Epp first encountered Latin music in Canada, but it was not until she moved to Cuba that she discovered her Latin soul. She shares her passion with audiences, leaving them walking away with a smile on their face and a groove in their step.

    Founder and leader of the well-known and loved Winnipeg band Papa Mambo, Rodrigo Muñoz is a primary figure in Canada’s music scene. His individual style on the guitar brings a rhythmic uplift to the harmonic side of Trio Bembe, and his laid-back, humorous personality immediately welcomes audiences into his world.

    Scott Senior’s story is uncovered through the instruments that he plays: the pandeiro from Brazil, the congas from Cuba, the cajón from Peru. The joy of experiences relived is evident on Scott’s face each time he picks up one of his precious instruments. He invites you in, and then he takes you on his journey.

    Trio Bembe creates infectious, danceable music that moves people; they’re the party down the street, so just follow your ears.

     
  • Maz - Télescope

    www.espacemaz.ca

    Inspiré par des compositeurs tels que John Zorn et Béla Fleck, Marc Maziade (guitare électrique, banjo, pieds) vous invite à voyager dans l’univers de ses compositions : à partir de la mémoire musicale du Québec pour passer à travers les profondeurs du jazz modal et la transe des musiques actuelles.

    Pour son premier album, l’artiste s’associe à des musiciens parmi les meilleurs de la relève montréalaise : Robin Boulianne (violon, mandoline, pieds), Olivier Hébert (contrebasse), Gabriel Godbout-Castonguay et Jean-François Debellefeuille (Rhodes, Wurlitzer, Moog). Chacun d’eux apporte une couleur aux arrangements, faisant de MAZ un univers contemporain et enraciné.

    En février 2007, Marc Maziade reçoit carte blanche pour monter son propre projet musical dans le cadre du festival Ste-Rose en Blanc. Il fait alors appel à Robin Boulianne (compositeur et violoniste) avec qui il partage déjà une passion pour les musiques traditionnelle et jazz. Pour compléter l’ensemble, il invite les musiciens les plus inspirants de sa promotion à l’Université de Montréal : Louis-Joseph Cliche et Olivier Hébert. Par la suite, il enregistrera une première version de Quasis-s-pace avec Lévy Bourbonnais, Olivier Hébert et Jean-François Debellefeuille, pour une chorégraphie de danse du même nom. MAZ se retrouve pour quelques apparitions au fil des ans et se lance finalement dans l’aventure en 2011 en produisant son premier album, Télescope.

    Avec Télescope, MAZ insuffle une nouvelle vitalité à la musique traditionnelle québécoise en s’inspirant des grands courants musicaux actuels. Il crée une musique où l’on perçoit l’équilibre audacieux et efficace entre la fougue et la transe, entre les sons acoustiques et les sons électriques, entre affirmation et ouverture.

    Cet ensemble instrumental représente la richesse de l’identité culturelle du Québec moderne et souhaite la faire rayonner sur les scènes musicales nord-américaine et européenne.

     
  • Minor Empire - Second Nature

    http://www.minorempire.net

    ENSEMBLE’S BIOGRAPHY

    Minor Empire is a Toronto based world music ensemble led by guitarist/composer Ozan Boz that brings together some of the most innovative and sought after musicians in Canadian world music and jazz scenes. Ensemble members include Ozgu Ozman (vocals), Michael Occhipinti (guitar), Chris Gartner (bass), Debashis Sinha (percussion) from Toronto and Ismail Hakki Fencioglu (ud) and Didem Basar (kanun) from Montreal. The ensemble offers a unique and exciting sound around ancient music traditions of Anatolia (geographical name for today’s Turkey) utilizing modern soundscapes of psychedelic rock, electronica and jazz.

    The ensemble’s debut album “Second Nature” was released in January 2011 with a show presented by Small World Music at Lula Lounge in Toronto. The album was produced by Ozan Boz and features guest performances by internationally acclaimed Istanbul-based clarinet master Selim Sesler. “Second Nature” has been featured on CBC’s Metro Morning and Big City Small World. In less than two months after its release, “Second Nature” reached #1 spot on the on the Canadian Campus Radio World Beat charts and number one on the World Folk charts and stayed in top 10 for twelve weeks.

    Minor Empire most recently performed at 2011 Luminato Festival. Ensemble’s future performances include Sunfest World Music Festival, Markham Jazz Festival, Festival du Monde Arabe de Montréal, National Arts Centre in Ottawa, Music Gallery and CBC’s Glenn Gould Studio in Toronto.

    Through this project Minor Empire brings together traditional East and modern West in an uncompromising way that can be best described as “confluence of music”.

    Minor Empire’s Second Nature has gratefully received support from Ontario Arts Council, Canada Council for the Arts and Toronto Arts Council.

    QUOTES and REVIEWS

    “Second Nature is more than just an interesting record, it marks an important way forward for Turkish and world music, in general.

    The captivating voice you hear on the CD “Second Nature” belongs to Ozgu Ozman, a native of Turkey who lives here (Toronto). She’s the lead singer with Minor Empire. I love how their sound blurs the lines between electronic and traditional Turkish music. I like how textured and trippy it is, and I especially like the guitars on this album – ominous and psychedelic. Ozan Boz, who is also from Turkey, formed Minor Empire with Ozman. To get the sound they wanted, they brought in Michael Occhipinti, Chris Gartner, Debashis Sinha and a couple of virtuoso Turkish-Canadian musicians from Montreal, and together they made a fine record. ”
    Errol Nazareth, CBC Radio One

    “Canada has an unfortunate specialty in producing limp world music sketches that may look good on paper, but are pretty thin gruel on disc. This isn’t one of those records. You hope for intense minor key action with a name like Minor Empire, and that’s what you get: a slinky, dub-y Turkish soup of knotty rhythms, largely unsweetened. One big pitfall avoided is overbearing fretless bass noodling – Chris Gartner’s deft bass work nearly melts into the percussion, as do Osan Boz and Michael Occhipinti’s guitars, for that matter. Ozgu Osman is front and centre with effective vocals, both sexy and serpentine, but never outlandishly so. The band aren’t hung up on perfection. There are a few fluffy moments in “Sen Bu Yaylalari Yaylayamazsin,” but these do not distract from the integrity of the music. The atmosphere is successfully dreamy without being wan and its sunny moods aren’t cloying. Best of all, this disc makes you want to check them out live.”
    David Dacks, Exclaim!

    “Minor Empire’s debut concert was an impressive affair all around. Musically sophisticated and well-played they also demonstrated their ability to draw the community and a broader audience together, celebrating their CD release to a full house at Lula Lounge. Congratulations and we look forward to next time!”
    Alan Davis, Small World Music Society

    “The centuries surge into the processions of rhythm that advance from the music of Minor Empire. Waving banners of melody emanate from the delicate, mysterious voice of Ozgu Ozman. Second Nature is a unique record that calms you while suggesting ecstatic possibilities in the blending of blazing muscular electric virtuosity within the echoes of ancient exotic sultanates.”
    Paul Corby, Corby’s Orbit

     
  • Ouzo Power - Ouzo Power Greatest Hits (Volume 1)

    www.ouzopower.ca

    GREEK BLUES: REBETIKA RE-INVENTED
    Ouzo Power is a rousing, one-of-a-kind, bouzouki-dominated rock band that reinvents and invigorates traditional Greek blues, blazing a trail through heavy metal and reggae to love songs and reinterpreted Bob Dylan.

    The Greek blues, unlike the American rural based blues, were an urban music with roots reaching back to Ottoman cafe music, a synthesis of European music, Orthodox ecclesiastical chant and traditional Anatolian dance rhythms.

    George Sapounidis, Ouzo Power’s front man, is a gently charismatic bouzouki master, who performs with an intensity and passion that comes from the soul, a soul that bears the genetic imprint of a people steeped in non-conformity. He is an intercultural musical pied piper who draws a crowd wherever he goes, a musical ambassador to the world who can perform in a dozen languages, a two-time Olympic torch bearer and subject of award-winning CTV and Chinese television documentaries. He holds a PhD in statistics.

    He is also a descendent of Greeks who lived in Asia Minor since antiquity but were forced into exile after the Greco-Turkish War of 1919-1922, relegated to shanty towns, living lives of broken dreams. Like the blues culture of Harlem their despair gave rise to a music of pain and protest. It was called Rebetika, the musicians “Rebetes” or rebels.

    In creating Ouzo Power, Sapounidis pulled together a trio of Canada’s top back-up musicians on bass, drums and electric guitar.

    Bass guitarist, Stuart Watkins’ talents span the global musical spectrum. He has toured with Paul Anka, David Foster, The Canadian Tenors, has worked with Hip Hop artists in Los Angeles and studied Mblalax music in Senegal (a popular dance music that is a fusion of jazz, soul, Latin and rock, merged with sabar traditional drumming) that emerged in the 1970’s. He played reggae for a decade, not to mention Bhangra (Indian pop), tango, Latin, Jazz as well as folk and rock.

    Fred Guignion’s work is everywhere: on countless albums as well as theatre, film and TV sound tracks. He is as comfortable with a folksy ballad as searing heavy metal. He has toured the U.S., Europe, the U.K. and Canada.

    Ross Murray has recorded and toured with Bo Diddley, Madagascar Slim, Great Big C, Etta James, and the East Village Opera Company.

    “To take a sad, heavy, hard-drinking Greek blues song with bawdy lyrics and turn it into fast rock or reggae, that’s fun. We’re not trying to be witty. We play with the style. We push the envelope.”
    — Ross Murray

     

New/Emerging Artist of the Year

  • Dave Gunning - a tribute to John Allan Cameron

    www.davegunning.com

    “Dave Gunning is the next big thing in the True North of Song, an artist as compelling, as assured and attentive to every nuance of the writing process as Lightfoot, Coburn and Stan Rogers before him.” — Greg Quill, The Toronto Star

    There are stories that wash over you like a tide, and then there are stories that grab you by the heart. Dave Gunning has made a point of finding the latter and wrapping them up in song since he broke upon the East Coast music scene in Canada back in 1997. The Pictou County, Nova Scotia born and bred singer-songwriter and working class hero has built up from humble beginnings to a point where his name is regularly included in conversation with artists such as David Francey, James Keelaghan, Ron Hynes, Stan Rogers, Bruce Cockburn and Gordon Lightfoot. Writing from a sonic menu that includes flavors of Irish, Scottish, French Acadian, folk and country musical styles, Dave Gunning transcends genre with songs that fill your senses and touch your soul.

    Dave Gunning was a painfully shy teenager who might never have gotten on stage if it weren’t for his junior high best friend JD Fortune (INXS). Fortune signed the two up for a variety concert where the sound man was none other than country singer/songwriter George Canyon (Nashville Star 2). Gunning backed Fortune on guitar for “La Bamba” before taking the mic for a Buddy Holly cover. Little did anyone know that in that room in a small East Coast school were three future stars. Fortune has shone brightest thus far, and Canyon isn’t far behind. But thirty years from now it seems likely that Dave Gunning will outshine them all.

    While names like Francey, Keelaghan, Hynes and even Rogers won’t mean a great deal to American audiences, together with Gordon Lightfoot and Bruce Cockburn they are iconic across Canada. Parallels in the United States might include James Taylor, Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, Randy Newman or Lyle Lovett. Dave Gunning is that sort of songwriter; one who creates images and moments in song that are palpable. Quiet and reserved otherwise, Gunning takes on an almost Garrison Keillor-type storyteller persona on stage, injecting stories between songs that run the range from sweet and touching to uproariously funny. If you’re lucky enough to catch a Dave Gunning show, perhaps he’ll tell you the one about getting beaten up by a dentist as a toddler. You can’t make stuff like this up.

    Dave Gunning paid his dues supporting other artists over the years, touring with the likes of Stompin’ Tom Connors, JP Cormier, John Allen Cameron, Ron Hynes and Stephen Fearing. Since heading out on his own, Gunning has continually stood out in the crowd. Dave has been awarded six East Coast Music Awards out of fifteen nominations since 2003. Recently, Dave took home two 2011 ECMA awards for his recording, a tribute to John Allan Cameron. Gunning has also been a finalist in the Great American Song Contest, the USA Songwriting Competition, the John Lennon Songwriting Contest and the International Songwriting Contest. All of the hardware and certificates aside, however, it is the personal connection that Gunning’s music engenders that is the greatest testament to his craft.

    Perhaps the most intriguing thing about Gunning as an artist is his willingness to just accept what the muse might bring. Unlike many artists, Gunning is almost superstitious about not trying to understand his songwriting process, indicating a fear that if he finally comes to understand it the music will stop. This is the anxiety of a man who has always wanted music as a part of his life and simply wouldn’t know what to do without it. Gunning is a family man, with a wife and three sons to sustain him and hold down the fort at home. But if they are his life’s blood, then music is the air that he breathes.

    It’s rare in any realm of popular music (folk included) to find an artist so wholly cut from the land he grew up on. Dave Gunning’s humility and talent are both born of a farmer’s acceptance of the world around him. Gunning doesn’t sit down to try to create grand music. He views the world around him for the seeds of something to grow, and cultivates what he sees into life as stories and songs that will touch your heart; he’ll make you think, laugh and cry with classic story songs of underdogs and a world that’s perhaps not quite level but well worth the climb. Like Gunning himself is fond of saying, “There’s a song in there somewhere.”

     
  • Andrea Ramolo - The Shadows and the Cracks

    http://www.andrearamolo.com

    An artist’s bio
    ANDREA RAMOLO:

    It’s been two and a half years since Andrea Ramolo released her first indie folk album Thank You for the Ride. And it definitely HAS been a ride — Andrea has criss-crossed Canada playing more than 400 shows since that record was launched. And now the ride is getting faster, harder and louder with the release of her new Tim Thorney-produced CD, The Shadows and the Cracks. The CD was granted support by FACTOR, released on Thorniac Records, and is being distributed by MDM/Universal Music Canada.

    The album demonstrates a sensitivity and strength, with honest tales of love, longing, sorrow, and human relationships – many of them inspired by “the ride.” Andrea’s gritty voice — softened occasionally by the vulnerability that comes from road-weariness and the distance from friends and family — is both unique and memorable; some of the best session players in Canada provide powerful support.

    For the past two years, Andrea’s home has been her van and the road has been her destination. Playing shows from Newfoundland to Vancouver Island and up to the Yukon certainly warrants Andrea her reputation as one of Canada’s most tireless road warriors. Musically, she’s been described as the antidote to too much Joni Mitchell, a tougher Dolly Parton a sexier Janis Joplin, but she has a soulful and sultry sound that’s all her own. There is an intimacy in her music that is both candid and unapologetic. Her beautifully woven narratives and raw delivery pull you in, force you to smile, break your heart, and mend it all over again. She’s a born performer and has been described as fearless, emotional, and confident. And you may even catch her tap dancing at one of her live shows.

    Andrea has lent her vocal talents to recordings for Martha and the Muffins, Cindy Doire, and The Strip; has opened for Stacey Earle, Fred Eaglesmith, Angel Band, ‘Law and Order’s Jeremy Sisto, and more; and has shared the stage with some of Canada’s best roots musicians, like Linda McRae and Colin Linden. In 2009, she won the Toronto Exclusive Magazine awards for Best Female Folk Artist, Best Folk Album, and Best Blues Song. She was a guest speaker at the 2009 Ontario Council of Folk Festivals Conference in Ottawa on how independent artists can book their own tours; showcased at the American Folk Alliance via the Sweet Beaver Suite in Memphis; and has recently returned from a successful full band album release tour coast to coast that was supported by the Canada Council for the Arts.

    Andrea is by far one of the hardest working women in the business.

     
  • Ruth Moody - The Garden

    www.ruthmoody.com

    Ruth Moody is a Juno Award winning singer-songwriter from Winnipeg, Manitoba. Founding member of the internationally renowned, Billboard-charting trio The Wailin’ Jennys and former lead singer of the Canadian roots band Scruj MacDuhk, she has performed in sold-out venues around the world, made numerous critically-acclaimed albums, and has appeared more than a dozen times on the American national radio show A Prairie Home Companion.

    Although best known for her work with The Wailin’ Jennys, Ruth is an artist of exceptional depth and grace in her own right. Critics have lauded her ethereal vocals, impressive multi-instrumentalism (she plays guitar, banjo, accordion, piano, ukulele, and bodhrán), and her talent as a songwriter. Writing with a maturity and wisdom that belies her age, her songs are timeless, universal, and exceptionally well-crafted, all sung with an intimacy and honesty that is unmistakably her own.

    Ruth was a finalist in the USA Songwriting Competition and was recognized by the International Songwriting Competition for her song “One Voice,” which has gone on to be a signature song for The Wailin’ Jennys. It has been covered by countless artists and has been performed in concert halls, churches and schools throughout the world.

    In 2010, Ruth released her highly anticipated solo album, The Garden. It received rave reviews, was nominated for a Juno award for Roots album of the year (solo) and its title track was the fourth most played album of 2010 on North American Folk Radio. It was produced by Juno nominee David Travers-Smith and features an all-star cast including Kevin Breit (Norah Jones, k.d. lang), Luke Doucet, Crooked Still, and a guest appearance by The Wailin’ Jennys.

    Ruth recently showcased at the South By Southwest (SXSW) Music Festival and will continue to tour throughout 2011 and 2012, playing solo and with The Wailin’ Jennys.

     
  • Ashley Condon - Come In From The Cold

    www.ashleycondon.com

    ASHLEY CONDON BIO

    Raised between two potato fields on Prince Edward Island, Ashley Condon is the grandchild of Bill Leblanc, a Canadian country pioneer who once spent the night in jail with Hank Snow. Like pecan pie – sweet and nutty – Ashley has won audiences over with her larger-than-life stage presence and down-to-earth charm. Growing up on everything from old-time country to folk, blues and southern rock, her music resonates.

    The success of her 2007 EP I’ve Got This Feeling garnered the attention of Ontario native and ECMA-nominated producer Joel Hunt (Teresa Ennis, Old Man Leudecke). The two have joined creative forces for Ashley’s debut, full-length album Come In From The Cold, released on June 15, 2010. The record features award-winning instrumentalist Dale Murray (Cuff The Duke) on pedal steel and electric guitar and Jeff Bird (Cowboy Junkies) on mandolin, bass and harmonica. Since its release in 2010, Come In From The Cold has been nominated for both a 2010 Music Nova Scotia award and a 2011 ECMA for “Country Recording Of The Year”.

    Come In From The Cold delivers a frank and refreshing perspective on love and life. “Baby Brown Eyes” captures the story of a mother and soon-to-be-wed son, while “Everything” honours her mother’s spirit. “The Neighbours Ain’t Home” offers a playful story of unabashed passion and “A New Heart” brings hope to the broken hearted. The simplicity of delivery coupled with a warm maple voice provides a record that is friendly and evocative, soulful and honest. A rich tapestry of country tinged sounds weaves through-out, inspiring thoughts of Anne Murray, Emmylou Harris and Eva Cassidy.

    Ashley has shared the stage with folk icons Tannis Slimmon, James Gordon, Jude Vadala (The Bird Sisters), Katherine Wheatley, Del Barber, Rose Cousins, Meaghan Blanchard and Nova Scotia artists Kim Wempe, Charlie A’Court, Ryan MacGrath, Ria Mae, Ian Sherwood, Old Man Leudecke, and Kev Corbett. She is touring the East Coast and central Canada in fall 2011 and will be a featured artist in this summer’s production of “Come All Ye” at The MacKenzie theatre in Charlottetown, PEI. As a performing artist, Ashley has more than eighteen years of stage experience and a degree in Theatre Studies from the University of Toronto and Sheridan College; a testament to her strength as both a songwriter and entertainer.
    “The title of Ashley Condon’s debut recording ‘Come In From The Cold’ couldn’t be more apt. Rich earthy tones wrapped lovingly around a voice as fresh and pure as a forest stream cannot help but melt the coldest heart.”
    – Glenn Meisner, CBC Atlantic Airwaves
    “She is like a Jann Arden kind of performer who can have you laughing one moment and weeping the next.”
    – Laurence F., Director/Actor/Producer
    “Ashley Condon brings to the music industry a sweet down-to-earth tone that truly captivates the listener and brings to light a joyfulness of acoustic singer-songwriter styles” – Maverick Magazine UK

     
  • Joe Nolan - Goodbye Cinderella

    www.joenolansongs.com

    JOE NOLAN BIO (June 2011)

    The year 2010 was a very good year for Joe Nolan. Touring and traveling extensively, Joe had the great pleasure of playing clubs, festivals and schools while sharing the stage with artists like Todd Snider, Colin Linden, Sam Baker, Gurf Morlix, Dave Alvin and the Guilty Women and the legendary Peter Asher. In December, Joe traveled to Nashville, Tennessee where he recorded his third album “Goodbye Cinderella”. The album was produced by Colin Linden and featured some of Nashville’s most storied players including Spooner Oldham (Bob Dylan, Aretha Franklin and Neil Young) on keyboards, Charlie McCoy (Bob Dylan, Elvis, Simon & Garfunkel) on harmonica, Dave Roe (Johnny Cash, John Mellencamp) on acoustic bass, Chris Donahue (Emmylou Harris, Robert Plant) on electric bass, Bryan Owings (Emmylou Harris, Tony Joe White, Delbert McClinton) on drums, along with producer Linden (Bruce Cockburn, Lucinda Williams) on electric guitars and vocals. The record was brilliantly recorded by John Whynot (Blue Rodeo, Loreena McKennitt) who also contributed keyboards on a few songs. The recording features 10 new Joe Nolan compositions and shows a quantum leap in maturity and confidence. Joe’s beautiful combination of sweet, sad lyrics and haunting vocals come from a deep well that shows a young man’s heart and an old man’s soul. Protest songs, love songs, songs with questions and songs with answers create a collection that will leave the listener wanting more. His live performances are mesmerizing and the audience connects to Joe’s soft, honest and heart-felt delivery. Yes, 2010 was a good year for Joe Nolan. All of this and he just turned 21 years old. Keep an ear out for this young man as he embarks on a career that will stand the test of time. He is a keeper.

    Joe is a previous winner of the CBC Radio Galaxy Rising Star Award.
    www.joenolansongs.com

    For information or bookings contact:

    Neil MacGonigill
    Indelible Music
    PO Box 36024 Lakeview RPO
    Calgary, AB, Canada
    T3E 7C6
    403 245 0425
    neil@indeliblemusic.com

     

Producer of the Year

  • Dave Gunning w/ Allie Bennett & John Meir - a tribute to John Allan Cameron (Dave Gunning)

    www.davegunning.com

    “Dave Gunning is the next big thing in the True North of Song, an artist as compelling, as assured and attentive to every nuance of the writing process as Lightfoot, Coburn and Stan Rogers before him.” — Greg Quill, The Toronto Star

    There are stories that wash over you like a tide, and then there are stories that grab you by the heart. Dave Gunning has made a point of finding the latter and wrapping them up in song since he broke upon the East Coast music scene in Canada back in 1997. The Pictou County, Nova Scotia born and bred singer-songwriter and working class hero has built up from humble beginnings to a point where his name is regularly included in conversation with artists such as David Francey, James Keelaghan, Ron Hynes, Stan Rogers, Bruce Cockburn and Gordon Lightfoot. Writing from a sonic menu that includes flavors of Irish, Scottish, French Acadian, folk and country musical styles, Dave Gunning transcends genre with songs that fill your senses and touch your soul.

    Dave Gunning was a painfully shy teenager who might never have gotten on stage if it weren’t for his junior high best friend JD Fortune (INXS). Fortune signed the two up for a variety concert where the sound man was none other than country singer/songwriter George Canyon (Nashville Star 2). Gunning backed Fortune on guitar for “La Bamba” before taking the mic for a Buddy Holly cover. Little did anyone know that in that room in a small East Coast school were three future stars. Fortune has shone brightest thus far, and Canyon isn’t far behind. But thirty years from now it seems likely that Dave Gunning will outshine them all.

    While names like Francey, Keelaghan, Hynes and even Rogers won’t mean a great deal to American audiences, together with Gordon Lightfoot and Bruce Cockburn they are iconic across Canada. Parallels in the United States might include James Taylor, Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, Randy Newman or Lyle Lovett. Dave Gunning is that sort of songwriter; one who creates images and moments in song that are palpable. Quiet and reserved otherwise, Gunning takes on an almost Garrison Keillor-type storyteller persona on stage, injecting stories between songs that run the range from sweet and touching to uproariously funny. If you’re lucky enough to catch a Dave Gunning show, perhaps he’ll tell you the one about getting beaten up by a dentist as a toddler. You can’t make stuff like this up.

    Dave Gunning paid his dues supporting other artists over the years, touring with the likes of Stompin’ Tom Connors, JP Cormier, John Allen Cameron, Ron Hynes and Stephen Fearing. Since heading out on his own, Gunning has continually stood out in the crowd. Dave has been awarded six East Coast Music Awards out of fifteen nominations since 2003. Recently, Dave took home two 2011 ECMA awards for his recording, a tribute to John Allan Cameron. Gunning has also been a finalist in the Great American Song Contest, the USA Songwriting Competition, the John Lennon Songwriting Contest and the International Songwriting Contest. All of the hardware and certificates aside, however, it is the personal connection that Gunning’s music engenders that is the greatest testament to his craft.

    Perhaps the most intriguing thing about Gunning as an artist is his willingness to just accept what the muse might bring. Unlike many artists, Gunning is almost superstitious about not trying to understand his songwriting process, indicating a fear that if he finally comes to understand it the music will stop. This is the anxiety of a man who has always wanted music as a part of his life and simply wouldn’t know what to do without it. Gunning is a family man, with a wife and three sons to sustain him and hold down the fort at home. But if they are his life’s blood, then music is the air that he breathes.

    It’s rare in any realm of popular music (folk included) to find an artist so wholly cut from the land he grew up on. Dave Gunning’s humility and talent are both born of a farmer’s acceptance of the world around him. Gunning doesn’t sit down to try to create grand music. He views the world around him for the seeds of something to grow, and cultivates what he sees into life as stories and songs that will touch your heart; he’ll make you think, laugh and cry with classic story songs of underdogs and a world that’s perhaps not quite level but well worth the climb. Like Gunning himself is fond of saying, “There’s a song in there somewhere.”

     
  • Paul Mills - Stealing Genius (Ron Hynes)

    www.themillstream.com

    Paul Mills is a graduate engineer, musician, musical arranger, graphic designer and record producer/engineer. This unique combination of skills has resulted in a varied career. He joined CBC Radio, Canada’s national public radio network in 1972 as a music producer and later moved over to the Radio Drama department as producer and executive producer. As a music producer for CBC Radio in the seventies, he conceived and produced a national folk music program called “Touch The Earth” which was hosted by Sylvia Tyson. As a drama producer, he developed the award-winning series, “The Scales of Justice” which was later adapted for CBC Television. Later, he was put in charge of planning the radio facilities in the new CBC building in Downtown Toronto and eventually became a senior manager for CBC Radio.

    In addition to his work at CBC, Paul Mills has been part of the Canadian folk music scene and recording industry for over thirty years. He has produced over 100 albums working with artists such as the late Stan Rogers (all but one of Rogers’ albums were produced by Mills), Sharon, Lois and Bram, Terry Kelly, Ron Hynes and John Allan Cameron. He is a founding partner of the “Borealis Recording Company”. He owns and operates his own production company and recording studio called “The Millstream” in Toronto.

    Albums produced or engineered by Paul have earned four gold records (sales over 50,000), two platinum records (sales over 100,000), 6 Juno nominations (Canada’s equivalent of the Grammys), and 5 East Coast Music Awards. Natalie MacMaster’s record, “My Roots are Showing”, which Paul engineered, won the 1999 Juno award for best instrumental album. Sharon Lois & Bram’s recording “Skinnamarink TV”, co-produced by Paul with Bill Garrett won the 2000 Juno for “Best Children’s Album”. Terry Kelly’s “Power of the Dream” won the 2003 East Coast Music Award for best roots and traditional album. Ron Hynes’ “Get Back Change” won the 2004 East Coast Music Awards for “Album of the Year” and “Best Country Album”.

    His specialty is an understanding of folk and roots music in all of its various forms and his ability to record this music in a way which has broad audience appeal. He also enjoys the reputation of bringing projects in on time and on budget!

    Paul has recently released a CD of his own work. Details at www.paulmills.ca.

    Paul also does graphic design for CD packaging.

     
  • Dave Zeglinski, Steve Bell & Murray Pulver - Kindness (Steve Bell)

    www.stevebell.com

    Call him the best-kept secret in Canadian music. Winnipeg-based singer/songwriter Steve Bell has enjoyed serious commercial success over a prolific solo career that has spanned two decades, yet he has flown rather under the radar in terms of music industry and media recognition. Despite this, his large and loyal fan base has continued to grow, both here in Canada and the U.S. With the imminent release of a new album, KIN.DNESS, Bell is offering to a wider audience, his eloquent and heartfelt material. “We’ve managed to develop an niche audience that is very receptive to my music,” Steve explains, “and now we have a new album coming out that I think can potentially cut a wider swathe than previous ones.”

    Steve Bell’s career statistics are certainly striking. Since releasing his first solo project – Comfort My People – in 1989, he has put out a total of 15 CDs, and they’ve sold over 300,000 copies independently. Add in three concert videos, four songbooks, and an estimated 1,500 concerts, and you have a body of work equaled by very few artists in any genre. Bell’s work has also brought him numerous industry accolades, including two JUNO Awards (Romantics & Mystics, 1998; Simple Songs, 2001), multiple Prairie Music, Covenant, Vibe, and Western Canadian Music Awards.

     
  • David Travers-Smith - Soon The Birds (Oh Susanna)

    none

    David Travers-Smith is a Toronto-based Producer, Mixer, Engineer and Musician. He has produced and/or engineered recordings for numerous artists including Deerhoof, The Wailin’ Jennys, Jane Siberry, Veda Hille, Oh Susanna, Spiral Beach, Dan Goldman, Oliver Schroer, Luke Doucet, Jayme Stone, Melissa McClelland, Old Man Luedeke, Creaking Tree String Quartet, Lori Cullen, Jim Byrnes, The Brothers Creeggan, Kiran Ahluwalia, Kevin Breit, Harry Manx, David Buchbinder, and many more.
    His work has been featured in publications including EQ Mag, Recording Magazine and Canadian Musician. David holds a Master of Music degree from Yale University, Bachelor of Fine Arts from The University of Victoria and was enrolled in two cycles of The Banff Centre’s Winter Cycle for Advanced Study in Music. He toured extensively with Jane Siberry, as both musician and engineer and his playing can be heard on over 60 albums.
    Recordings he has produced and/or engineered have garnered 31 Juno Nominations, with 8 wins along with nominations and wins at the Maple Blues Awards, Western Canadian Music Awards, American Folk Alliance Awards, American Indie Music Awards, Canadian Folk Music Awards, and East Coast Music Awards. He was nominated as Engineer of the Year at the 2007 Juno Awards, for his work on The Wailin’ Jennys Firecracker CD. He was nominated again as Engineer of the Year for the 2010 Junos for his work on Ruth Moody’s The Garden and Jayme Stone’s Room of Wonders and produced and/or engineered 5 of this years nominated albums.

     
  • Mark Howard & David Travers-Smith - Bright Morning Stars (The Wailin' Jennys)

    none

    Mark Howard

    Mark Howard is a Canadian record producer, engineer, and mixer. He has worked with many artists including Bob Dylan, Tom Waits, Lucinda Williams, Willie Nelson, Marianne Faithful, Emmylou Harris, U2, Peter Gabriel, The Neville Brothers, and The Tragically Hip.

    He began working as an assistant at Grant Avenue Studios in Hamilton and in 1986 met up with Daniel Lanois while working on the latter’s solo album, Acadie. Lanois invited Howard to New Orleans to help set up a studio and begin work on the Neville Brothers album, Yellow Moon.

    During his 23-year-long musical partnership with Lanois, Howard handled the mixing, recording and engineering duties, as well as all the studio installations including Kingsway, in New Orleans, Teatro in Oxnard California, The Paramour Estate in Silverlake California and The Temple in Toronto.

    He was nominated in 1993 as The Juno Awards Producer of the Year for his work on The Tragically Hip’s ‘Day for Night’ and in 1994 completed work on Emmylou Harris’s Wrecking Ball, which went on to win a Grammy award for best contemporary folk and was critically acclaimed by many.

    His years at Teatro gave voice to several acclaimed recordings by Willie Nelson, Bob Dylan and U2, after which he created his own studio at the Paramour Estate in Silver Lake, Los Angeles producing the Lucinda Williams album, World Without Tears, which was nominated for a grammy award, along with Vic Chestnutt’s Silver Lake and the beginnings of Tom Waits Real Gone. Howard finished Real Gone at an old school house in northern California.

    David Travers-Smith

    David Travers-Smith is a Toronto-based Producer, Mixer, Engineer and Musician. He has produced and/or engineered recordings for numerous artists including Deerhoof, The Wailin’ Jennys, Jane Siberry, Veda Hille, Oh Susanna, Spiral Beach, Dan Goldman, Oliver Schroer, Luke Doucet, Jayme Stone, Melissa McClelland, Old Man Luedeke, Lori Cullen, Jim Byrnes, The Brothers Creeggan, Kiran Ahluwalia, Kevin Breit, Harry Manx, David Buchbinder, and many more.
    His work has been featured in publications including EQ Mag, Recording Magazine and Canadian Musician. David holds a Master of Music degree from Yale University, Bachelor of Fine Arts from The University of Victoria and was enrolled in two cycles of The Banff Centre’s Winter Cycle for Advanced Study in Music. He toured extensively with Jane Siberry, as both musician and engineer and his playing can be heard on over 60 albums.
    Recordings he has produced and/or engineered have garnered 31 Juno Nominations, with 8 wins along with nominations and wins at the Maple Blues Awards, Western Canadian Music Awards, American Folk Alliance Awards, American Indie Music Awards, Canadian Folk Music Awards, and East Coast Music Awards. He was nominated as Engineer of the Year at the 2007 Juno Awards, for his work on The Wailin’ Jennys Firecracker CD. He was nominated again as Engineer of the Year for the 2010 Junos for his work on Ruth Moody’s The Garden and Jayme Stone’s Room of Wonders and produced and/or engineered 5 of this years nominated albums.

     

Pushing the Boundaries

  • New Country Rehab - New Country Rehab

    www.newcountryrehab.com

    Take Canada’s hottest fiddle player, a guitarist that is a cross between Tom Morello and Kevin Breit, a percussionist that plays sawblades and cookie sheets and one of the most versatile double bass players in Canada and you get NEW COUNTRY REHAB. With John Showman, James Robertson, Roman Tome’ and Ben Whiteley, the band’s unique OUTLAW INDIE COUNTRY sound channels Hank Williams Sr. as much as Arcade Fire to create exciting new music. Their debut, self-titled album is slated for release on Jan. 11, 2011. Recorded by Roots and Indie – Rock producer Chris Stringer (Obijou and Timber – Timbre) NEW COUNTRY REHAB highlights the group’s original compositions and deep musical palette.

     
  • Twilight Hotel - When the Wolves Go Blind

    www.twilighthotel.ca

    Twilight Hotel is the musical partnership of Brandy Zdan & Dave Quanbury. Together they possess an elusive chemistry and musical style that is dark, moody and rooted in some kind of nostalgic passion for scratchy records and vintage guitar tones. They combine a rock n roll sensibility, compelling songwriting, and haunting arrangements while standing comfortably outside your predictable genre box.

    In late 2009 Zdan & Quanbury made the trek across the New Mexico/Arizona desert from their new home in Austin, TX to Los Angeles, CA to record their third album “When The Wolves Go Blind”. They holed up in Kingsize soundlabs for 3 days and laid down the album live off the floor.

    “When it came time to making the record, we could only imagine this batch of songs with Stephen Hodges (Tom Waits, Mavis Staples) behind the kit and John Whynot (Lucinda Williams, Blue Rodeo) at the board. John brought in bassist Jeff Turmes to round out the rhythm section as well as lend his talents on Saxophone and Banjo. Jeff and Stephan have been playing together for 15 plus years, it was a perfect choice.” says Quanbury.

    ‘When the Wolves Go Blind’ further defines Twilight Hotel’s sound. From the hypnotic ride of the title track to the cinematic landscape of ‘The Darkness,’ the album is infused with a sense of travel and reflection.

    “Most of the songs on the album were co-written between the two of us while we were touring Highway Prayer” says Zdan. “The experiences we had out there on the road and the feeling we’d have coming home to Winnipeg in the winter informed the lonely lap-steel lament ‘Frozen Town,’ and the odyssey ‘Mahogany Veneer.’ In the past we’d written third person narratives about seedy characters and Americana but this time around we realized that we were becoming the subjects of our writing.”

    Hailing from the fertile music scene of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, Zdan & Quanbury have been combining their talents for 8 years and now make their home in Austin, Texas. In 2008, they released their sophomore album Highway Prayer, produced by Colin Linden. Highway Prayer has received critical praise both nationally & internationally including a debut at #2 on the Euro Americana Chart , a Western Canadian Music Award for Outstanding Roots Album Duo/Group, a 2009 JUNO nomination for “Roots & Traditional Album of the Year”.

     
  • Jaron Freeman-Fox - Manic Almanac : Slow Möbius

    www.jaronfreemanfox.com

    Contorting the violin into new traditions, fiddler Jaron Freeman-Fox dances down the fine line between the poignant and the ridiculous, while taking some bold new steps in Canadian instrumental music. Having played on over 25 albums (Jayme Stone, Anne Lindsey, David Celia) and regularly seen as a member of bands such as Delhi 2 Dublin or The David Woodhead Confabulation, Freeman-Fox fuses his roots of Celtic and bluegrass fiddling with his study of Indian classical music and jazz. Playing the violines of his late mentor: fiddle pioneer Oliver Schroer, Jaron is equally likely to play completely acoustically as he is to wield them like a guitar through a series of processors, loopers and effects. Now, performing around the world with his new celebrated debut album Manic Almanac : Slow Möbius, and his fiery band The Opposite of Everything, this young fiddler is redefining what a fiddle-fronted band can sound like.

     
  • Ruth Moody - The Garden

    www.ruthmoody.com

    Ruth Moody is a Juno Award winning singer-songwriter from Winnipeg, Manitoba. Founding member of the internationally renowned, Billboard-charting trio The Wailin’ Jennys and former lead singer of the Canadian roots band Scruj MacDuhk, she has performed in sold-out venues around the world, made numerous critically-acclaimed albums, and has appeared more than a dozen times on the American national radio show A Prairie Home Companion.

    Although best known for her work with The Wailin’ Jennys, Ruth is an artist of exceptional depth and grace in her own right. Critics have lauded her ethereal vocals, impressive multi-instrumentalism (she plays guitar, banjo, accordion, piano, ukulele, and bodhrán), and her talent as a songwriter. Writing with a maturity and wisdom that belies her age, her songs are timeless, universal, and exceptionally well-crafted, all sung with an intimacy and honesty that is unmistakably her own.

    Ruth was a finalist in the USA Songwriting Competition and was recognized by the International Songwriting Competition for her song “One Voice,” which has gone on to be a signature song for The Wailin’ Jennys. It has been covered by countless artists and has been performed in concert halls, churches and schools throughout the world.

    In 2010, Ruth released her highly anticipated solo album, The Garden. It received rave reviews, was nominated for a Juno award for Roots album of the year (solo) and its title track was the fourth most played album of 2010 on North American Folk Radio. It was produced by Juno nominee David Travers-Smith and features an all-star cast including Kevin Breit (Norah Jones, k.d. lang), Luke Doucet, Crooked Still, and a guest appearance by The Wailin’ Jennys.

    Ruth recently showcased at the South By Southwest (SXSW) Music Festival and will continue to tour throughout 2011 and 2012, playing solo and with The Wailin’ Jennys.

     
  • Evalyn Parry - SPIN

    www.evalynparry.com

    Innovative, award-winning songwriter, poet and theatrical creator evalyn parry takes her audience on an uncommon musical and poetic trip with her newest release: SPIN. A modern concept record, SPIN is a collection of catchy, hook infused folk songs that have at their centre, both as inspiration and instrument, one thing: the bicycle.

    SPIN takes the listener on a journey through the last 150 years – tracing the bike’s evolution and underlining it’s significance as a catalyst of social change. From 19th century women’s emancipation to 21st century consumer culture; from social history to contemporary social comment, parry uncovers little-known female characters from history (from the incredible true story of Annie Londonderry, the first woman to ride around the world on bicycle in 1894, to Amelia Bloomer, namesake of “bloomers”), and locates the personal, contemporary resonance inside each story.
    The musical arrangements are build around the bicycle-as-instrument, creating a completely distinctive foundation for parry’s award–winning songwriting. The record is a collaboration between parry, musicians Brad Hart and Anna Friz and producer Don Kerr (Rheostatics, Ron Sexsmith).

A 1972 CCM Galaxie bicycle is hooked up to contact microphones, a loop station and reverb/delay pedal; played by percussionist Brad Hart, it becomes an evocative and unique contemporary instrument. At times recalling the “junkyard soundscapes” of Tom Waits, there are moments on the record where you are not sure what you are listening to. The natural spring reverb of the vinyl bike seat creates an amazing “bass drum”; tunes spokes play melodies; fenders, pedals and frame all make wildly different sounds when played with hands, brushes or sticks; not to mention the otherworldly sound of a violin bow on the spokes, or the amplified buzz of flashing bicycle lights, as played by sound artist Anna Friz.
    On some songs, like the catchy “She Rides” and the anthemic “Progress”, the bike functions as a driving rhythm section, pushing guitars and voices forward. The bicycle also creates sinewy, hypnotic rhythms, heard on the trip–hop influenced “World of Spin” as well as on the record’s centerpiece, the 12-minute groove-heavy, radio play styled “Ballad of Annie Londonderry”. On this song, vintage microphones and turn of the century jingles collide with modern rhythm and melody to create a unique sonic hybrid – over which evalyn spins an unforgettable tale of perseverance and adventure: Annie Londonderry, the first woman to ride around the world on a bicycle, in 1894.

    Blessed with “an ethereally beautiful singing voice” (NOW Magazine), parry is a captivating live performer, who’s outspoken, personal and political performances are inspired by a powerful vision of social activism, spinning language and ideas as deftly as Hart spins, plucks and bows the wheels of the bicycle. parry has previously released three critically acclaimed CDs of music and spoken word and a live DVD on Borealis Records; she has been waking up audiences across the continent over the last decade with her pointed words, and her work has been widely broadcast, commissioned and anthologized. SPIN had its theatrical premiere at Buddies in Bad Times Theatre in March 2011, where it played to rave reviews and sold out its two week run.


     
  • Geoff Berner - Victory Party

    www.geoffberner.com

    We at Mint are pleased to introduce a new sound and a new signing, Vancouver’s Geoff Berner, whose Mint debut, Victory Party, will emerge on March 8th, 2011. His openness to experimentation, spirited Eastern European klezmer influences, punk rock attitude and work with producer/mastermind Josh Dolgin (Socalled) resulted an an innovative, engaging and lively album full of surprises that we are proud to be part of.

    An evening spent with Geoff Berner’s music is, in the words of the good Dr. Hunter S. Thompson, “a wild combination of menace, madness, and genius… fragmented coherence that wreaks havoc on the mind of any listener.” – Vue Weekly, Edmonton

    “I know this sounds extreme, but with producer Josh Dolgin’s help, and Mint Records’ backing, I was finally able to realize my potential in the medium of recorded music.”

    After completing his highly-acclaimed Whiskey Rabbi trilogy of trio albums, it was time for Geoff Berner to move on.

    “I wanted to make an album that sounded bigger, more “klezmer-ey”, and more transgressive, all at the same time. And I knew I couldn’t do it alone. In fact, I knew that I couldn’t do it without Josh.”

    Josh Dolgin, aka Socalled, is an acknowledged genius of modern Jewish music. He is famous for his own albums, which fuse hip-hop and klezmer. A feature film about him, The Socalled Movie, was released internationally in 2010 by Canada’s National Film Board.

    “I had to swallow a great deal of anxiety to be able to hand the reigns of production over to someone else. And if anything, he exceeded my expectations. He had a new idea for making a song better every 3-5 minutes.

    New musicians were also added to the mix. Benjy Fox-Rosen and Michael Winograd came up from Brooklyn to play bass and clarinet, respectively, as an addition to familiar brilliant members of the Berner posse — Wayne Adams on percussion, Diona Davies and Brigitte Dajczer on violins.

    What’s really remarkable about Winograd and Fox-Rosen is that they are among the first true new klezmorim in 70 years. Since the 1970s, klezmer revivalists have always come to the music from other styles, like old-time country, classical, or jazz. Benjy and Michael learned to play their instruments by learning klezmer. That really hasn’t happened since before the Holocaust. They represent the flowering of a reborn radical Jewish culture, what Berner’s tourmate Daniel Kahn of Berlin band The Painted Bird calls the “Klezmer Bund”.

    “We’re all trying to put out a vision of Jewish culture that’s the opposite of the conservative, knee-jerk pro-Israel, judgmental bullshit that’s emerged in recent decades.”

    That vision is evident at Berner’s live shows, which tend to devolve into crazed, chaotic, drunken dancing and psychotic laughter. He has built a sizable cult following through extensive touring, and audiences of odd, bookish people who like to drink come out to pack bars in Berlin, Amsterdam, Oslo and Zurich, as well as in Canada. Look out for the Victory Party to hit your town this year!

     

Young Performer of the Year

  • Qristina & Quinn Bachand - Family

    www.qbachand.com

    This brother and sister duo from Victoria, BC, have quickly emerged at the top of the Celtic music world. Qristina and Quinn Bachand won the 2010 Irish Music Award for Top Traditional Group in Festival, Pub & Concert and were also nominated as the Best New Irish Music Artist. Qristina Bachand is an expressive fiddler, with a unique style that is bold and edgy. Though strongly rooted in the Celtic tradition, her versatility and interests also include Old-Time, Appalachian, Swing & contemporary folk music. Fifteen-year old, Quinn Bachand, is one of the most gifted and creative Celtic guitar players today. Quinn adds a contemporary edge to traditional Celtic music; his hard-driving strumming, inventive chord voicing and powerful rhythmic effects make even the most well-worn tunes seem new and exciting. A sought after accompanist, Quinn has also performed with other artists such as Pierre Schryer, Daniel Lapp and Cape Breton’s Ashley MacIsaac with whom he’s toured across Canada and Australia, performing at festivals such as Edmonton Folk Festival, Mariposa Folk Festival, Cavendish Beach Music Festival, Celtic Colours, Ten Days on the Island (Australia), Castlemaine State Festival (Australia) and more.

    Qristina & Quinn Bachand, create music that is sophisticated, exciting & relevant to a whole new generation of Celtic & Roots Music lovers. Their critically acclaimed debut album, “Relative Minors” received a 2009 Canadian Folk Music Award nomination. Their highly anticipated follow up album, “Family”, features a repertoire of mostly Irish traditional music, with Qristina on fiddle and vocals and Quinn playing guitar plus a variety of other instruments including Irish tenor banjo, 5-string banjo, bodhran, harmony fiddle and electric guitar. Guest musicians include Zac Leger (uilleann pipes, flute, whistle), Scott Senior (cajon, bonjo, shakers, percussion), Adrian Dolan (accordion, mandola), Felix Prummel (low whistle), Oliver Swain (bass & vocals) & Bryan Skinner (bodhran). The album is co-produced by Qristina and Quinn Bachand and Adrian Dolan (The Bills). Recorded and mixed by Adrian Dolan at Baker Studios & Crossties Studios and mastered by Grammy Award winning producer Joby Baker at Baker Studios.

    Qristina and Quinn have performed across Canada, the US and Europe, they have appeared on national and international radio and television programs and have shared the stage with many of the world’s top Celtic and Roots musicians.

    Here’s what they’re saying about this young duo:

    “Qristina is a gutsy, fiery fiddle player… Quinn is nothing short of amazing.” – The Living Tradition
    “Qristina and Quinn are the most exciting act to come along in the world of Celtic music..” – Penguin Eggs
    “The Bachands have got the Celtic fever in spades and play it superbly.” – Roots Music Canada
    “A superb album by two of the most important young musicians in the international Celtic music scene.” – World Music Central”

     
  • Olivia Korkola - Playing in Traffic

    www.oliviakorkola.com

    Raised in a musical home in Thunder Bay Ontario, 17 year old Olivia Korkola has been entertaining listeners since she picked up her great grandfather’s fiddle at the age of 5. At 11, when her girlfriends were dancing and singing along to Britney Spears and Avril Lavigne, Olivia had a secret musical passion –
    Don Messer and the fiddle music of Canada’s east coast.

    Over the years this petite powerhouse has had the great fortune to pursue her craft by studying with a list of influential players including Jerry Holland, Liz Carroll, and Brenda Stubbert to name a few. She has shared the stage with a long list of musicians, including Ashley McIsaac, J.P. Cormier, Oli Brown, Tyler Yarema, Pierre Schryer, and the Thunder Bay Symphony Orchestra.

    At 15 years of age, Olivia won the title of Minnesota State Old Time Fiddle Champion, and last year at 16 she released her debut album, “Playing In Traffic”. The CD has been called “joyful” (Nancy Ewachow, WallEye Magazine) and is a wonderful blend of Irish, Scottish, French Canadian, Cape Breton, Texas Swing and original selections that showcase the versatility and musical maturity of this dedicated young performer. The CD features a list of talented Canadian musicians, including Ashley MacIsaac, Brenda Stubbert, Pierre Schryer, Joe Phillips and Andy Hillhouse.

    Olivia has been accepted on a scholarship to the strings program at Berklee College of Music in Boston, where she is currently in her first year. This past summer, she spent time in New York City where she studied at the Julliard School of Music.

    With a bright future on the horizon, this dynamic fiddler and accomplished classical violinist continues to tear up the stage at festivals and concert halls throughout Northwestern Ontario. From her bright pink toenails to her white-blonde tresses, Olivia wears her music for all to see and enjoy.

     
  • Rebecca Lappa - Not in Neverland

    www.rebeccalappa.com

    At 14, Rebecca Lappa is a prolific songwriter who has penned over fifty songs with more waiting to be born. She writes songs inspired by observations of life, historical events, and literary references that slide between the realms of pop and folk. Her songs range from explorations of the dark side of human nature to get-stuck-in-your-head catchy tunes about conquests and heroes. Since a little girl, Rebecca has loved to sing and perform. During her pre-teen years she dabbled in musical theatre (Sinbad the Sailor, Annie, My Fair Lady) operas (Filumena, Pagliacci) and T.V. commercials (Family Channel, Acura, Save on Foods). But when she combined her love of writing with her passion for music, Rebecca finally found what she excels at and what comes easily to her: songwriting.

    “In the last 2 years I have watched Rebecca’s songwriting evolve and from the get-go I was very impressed with her sensitivity to the human condition and her ability to tell stories from the perspectives of different characters. Her lyrics are very mature and evocative and I expect she will only continue to grow as a writer and performer” 


    Ann Vriend



    Rebecca is a classically trained singer who delivers her songs in an expressive soprano accompanied by her keyboard. Always striving to improve, she took her Grade 7 RCM vocal exam in June. She is an award winning vocalist, receiving multiple awards at local competitions such as Futures Fest and E.F.C.L. talent shows and has been a finalist in the Northern Star Talent search for 6 years. She was also honored to receive a vocal scholarship at the St. Albert Rotary Music Festival. Rebecca draws comparisons to strong female vocalists and songwriters such as, Sarah McLachlan, Joni Mitchell, Kate Bush and Tori Amos. Rebecca’s unique edgy Alice in Wonderland look compliments her music and makes her stand out as a performer.

    “Your style is like a young lady Gaga, but more respectable.”
    “You have a very recordable voice with you own unique sound”
    Undiscovered Edmonton Panel

    In her hometown of Edmonton, Rebecca is wowing audiences and building a fan base as she performs at venues such as Homefest, Nextfest, The Works, SOS Fest, Heart of the City Festival, Pine Trials Music Festival, Big Valley Jamboree, the Greycup Huddle Pavilion, Musicians in the Making at the Winspear, Blossom into the Blues Festival, Night of Artist Gala, Eye on Music Showcase, Kaleido Family Arts Festival, Black Gold Rodeo, Hair Massacure, and many other charity events, libraries, coffee shops, open mikes and markets. She is working hard at breaking into the live music scene and has performed her original music over 150 times. Sharing her music with an audience is Rebecca’s true passion.

    As a member of U22, Rebecca has grown as a performer and eagerly collaborates with other young artists. This summer Rebecca is excited to attend a music camp at the prestigious Berklee in Boston. Besides performing, Rebecca has mentored other songwriters as a speaker at the 2010 Highlands School Young Readers Conference, in a presentation at Victoria School of Performing Arts and in a song circle at NextFest.

    “I have worked with and mentored hundreds of exceptionally talented young musicians and bands……she {Rebecca} most certainly emerges as one of the most promising young songwriters in the U22 program”
    Rhea March Executive Director U22 Music Productions

    Besides two EP’s, Rebecca just released her first full-length CD of original music, “Not in Neverland” produced by Peter Stone of 100 Mile House. Rebecca has had songs played on CBC, CKUA, CJSR, Women’s Radio Channel on Live365, Vents Music Podcast and WITRR Radio Network. She has been filmed for Shaw TV, Breakfast Television, and Global TV. She has had press coverage in the Edmonton Journal, Saint City News, Edmonton Sun, The West Edmonton Local and an article in Alternative Trends magazine. Rebecca has won both St. Albert Idol and East Meets West Idol performing her original songs. In 2010 and 2011, Rebecca’s original songs were used in a collective showcase at Victoria School of Performing Arts. At the Edmonton Kiwanis Music Festival in April 2011, Rebecca received a mark of “Superior” for her original song “Forever Together”. Rebecca’s engaging songs once heard are sure to be remembered.

    “Rebecca is an inspiring young performer who captured the essence of our event while entertaining a diverse audience. Her beautiful voice and incredible lyrics were touching and beautiful.”
    Amanda Sigaty, 
Fundraising Coordinator for the Children’s Wish Foundation

    Rebecca’s music is available at Kerfmusic and Itunes. For more information please check out her website at www.rebeccalappa.com.

     
  • Molly Thomason - Beauty Queen

    www.mollythomason.ca

    Molly Thomason

    Hooks. That is what Molly Thomason is about, and nowhere is that more evident
    than on her new recording, Beauty Queen. From Molly’s distinctive vocal style
    and clever lyrics to the music itself, Beauty Queen delivers.

    Produced by award-winning musician and producer Dale Murray (Christina
    Martin’s I Can Too) at Codapop Studios in Halifax, Beauty Queen marks the sophomore
    release by 16-year-old Molly Thomason. Her debut recording Through The
    Static was a solid effort by a talented young singer-songwriter, but it is on her
    second recording that Molly really starts stretching her creative muscles.

    Not afraid to experiment with different styles and influences, Molly has a vision for
    each of her songs and works diligently to realize their individual sound without
    regard to the boundaries of genres. The result is a record with an undeniable pop
    sensibility that showcases a variety of musical styles and instrumentation – from
    the doo-wop vibe of “Shine In the Dark” to the jazz tinged “Amsterdam”. The
    songs themselves are intelligent and perceptive, often showing a maturity that
    belies her years.

    Through the Static garnered a lot of attention for Molly including two Music Nova
    Scotia award nominations (New Artist & Pop/Rock Recording), a placement on
    Degrassi and two #1’s on the East Coast Countdown. Molly’s songs “Little Bones”
    and “People Lie” achieved semi-finalist status in the International Songwriting
    Contest in 2010 and 2011. “People Lie” also won the Viewfinder Competition
    and was released as a video at the Atlantic Film Festival 2010.

    Molly tours at every opportunity. A confident and engaging performer, she
    captures and holds the attention of her audiences, whether she is appearing
    in theatres, on festival stages or at high schools.

    Molly Thomason’s destiny is a future filled with music. It will be an exciting journey
    to witness.

     
  • The Doll Sisters - The Road - EP

    www.dollsisters.com

    Jenna and Shelby Doll (The Doll Sisters) are an acoustic roots duo with haunting harmonies and songwriting skills that prove these girls are ‘old souls’ at heart.
    They started out singing harmonies in the little log church beside their family’s farm and a few years later they added instruments. Now you’ll hear the guitar, fiddle, banjo, bodhran (celtic drum), and sometimes the mandolin. Shelby is also tackling the cello and dobro. When they started out they were playing covers, and couldn’t imagine being the songwriters they are today. It has been an exciting and rewarding experience for the girls to discover they were able to write songs, and to do it well. Now they have a good number of originals under their belt, and several more in the works.
    The girls love the fact that being Roots musicians affords them the opportunity to write and play in the genres they were brought up on….. Bluegrass, Celtic, Folk, Appalachian. The Doll Sisters put their own stylings into anything they write and anything they play. They maintain traditional integrity while putting a modernity into their songs. Jenna and Shelby are forging a name for themselves in Central Alberta, and with requests to head over to their neighboring provinces, BC and Saskatchewan – these 2 young ladies are proving they’re a force to be reckoned with!