Canadian Folk Music Awards nominees announced

At the Folk Music Ontario headquarters, in downtown Ottawa, the Canadian Folk Music Awards (CFMA) announced the nominees for the 10th Anniversary edition of the awards. Overall, 68 artists and groups were announced as nominees in 19 categories who hail from 9 provinces and 1 territory in Canada.

Ontario artists lead the charge with 20 nominations with British Columbian artists (15 nominations) and Quebecois artists (12 nominations) not far behind. Artists from Manitoba (6 nominations), Alberta (5 nominations), Nova Scotia (4 nominations), Saskatchewan (3 nominations) and New Brunswick (2 nominations) also received multiple nominations with PEI and Nunavut taking home one each.

The CFMA weekend begins on November 27 and runs through to November 29, culminating in the bilingual gala awards presentation at the Bronson Centre in Ottawa. The gala event on November 29th is hosted by the CBC’s Shelagh Rogers and musician Benoit Bourque (La Bottine Souriante). Tickets for the gala are $40. A Full Access Weekend pass is $70. Thursday and Friday evening showcase events are $25 per evening. Full purchase links are available at

Eighteen year old Quinn Bachand leads the nominees this year, both for his work as an Emerging Artist of the Year and Young Performer of the Year as his artistry within the group Brishenwho are nominated as Instrumental Group of the Year, Ensemble of the Year, World Group of the Year. The name of the group Brishen means “bringer of the storm” and with Quinn as centrepiece it provides clues to his raw prodigious talent on the Celtic guitar. The Victoria-based artist has toured with the likes of Ashley MacIsaac and Natalie MacMaster and the former describes him as “Canada’s best.”

 Montreal’s MAZ and Victoria’s The Fretless ring in 4 nominations each, each of them instrumental bands with strong talent, both nominated in Pushing the Boundaries and Instrumental Group of the Year. MAZ takes in two more in World Group of the Year and for Producer of the Year (Marc Maziade) whilst The Fretless (who performed on last year’s gala) add nominations in Ensemble of the Year and Producer of the Year (The Fretless with Joby Baker.)

Whilst the name The High Bar Gang might not immediately be familiar, the names of their membership will ring some bells. Comprised of Barney Bentall, Rob Becker, Wendy Bird, Angela Harris, Colin Nairne, Eric Reed and Shari Ulrich, the band is based out of Vancouver, BC. They receive 3 nominations for the album “Lost and Undone: A Gospel Bluegrass Companion” for Traditional Album of the YearVocal Group of the Year and Ensemble of the Year.

The leading nominee for Manitoba, Del Barber‘s “Prairieography” pulls from his experience living in Winnipeg. He receives 3 nominations for Contemporary Singer of the YearSolo Artist of the Year and English Songwriter of the Year.  

The complete list of nominees and categories are below. 

Shining the spotlight on up and coming talent (those eligible must be under 19 at the time of the recording), this year’s Young Performer of the Year nominees include:
Keiffer Mclean for Drama in the Attic
Rebecca Lappa for Ode to Tennyson
Quinn Bachand for Brishen
Kacy & Clayton for The Day Is Past & Gone
Benjamin Rogers for Wayfarer 

The New/Emerging Artist of the Year nominees include:
The Bros. Landreth for Let it Lie
Robyn Dell’Unto for Little Lines
Scott Cook for One More Time Around
Quinn Bachand for Brishen
Kacy & Clayton for The Day Is Past & Gone

Celebrating innovation in creating new folk sounds, The Oliver Schroer Pushing The Boundaries Award category puts a spotlight on:
Tanya Tagaq for Animism
MAZ for Chasse-Galerie
Mark Berube for Russian Dolls
The Fretless for The Fretless
West My Friend for When The Ink Dries

Songwriting is a key component of folk music. This year’s English Songwriter of the Year nominees are:
Shari Ulrich for Everywhere I Go (Shari Ulrich)
James Keelaghan for History (James Keelaghan)
Lennie Gallant for Live Acoustic at The Carleton (Lennie Gallant)
Del Barber for Prairieography (Del Barber)
Chris Ronald for Timeline (Chris Ronald)

The French Songwriter of the Year nominees are:
Laurence Hélie for À Présent le Passé (Laurence Hélie)
Klô Pelgag for L’Alchimie des monstres (Klô Pelgag)
Alexandre Poulin for Le mouvement des marées (Alexandre Poulin)
Antoine Corriveau for Les Ombres Longues  (Antoine Corriveau)
Julie Aubé, Viviane Roy et Katrine Noël for Mon Homesick Heart (Les Hay Babies)

The Aboriginal Songwriter of the Year nominees are:
Tanya Tagaq for Animism (Tanya Tagaq)
Vince Fontaine for Colors (Indian City)
Amanda Rheaume for Keep a Fire (Amanda Rheaume)
Buffy MacNeil and Larry Boutilier for Surrounded (Buffy & Larry)
Jasmine Netsena for Take You With Me (Jasmine Netsena)   

World Music is an essential foundation of the global sound of folk music, tipping the hat to tradition of countries and cultures. This year’s nominees who excel in this field are:

World Group of the Year:
MAZ for Chasse-Galerie
Shtreiml for Eastern Hora
TANGA for HavanaElectro
Moustafa Kouyaté & Romain Malagnoux for Les frontières imaginaires
Brishen for Brishen 

World Solo Artist of the Year:
Quique Escamilla for 500 Years of Night
Jorge Martinez for Carnaval
Susan Aglukark for Dreaming Of Home
Amanda Martinez for Mañana
Robert Michaels for Via Italia

Folk music is rooted in tradition but sometimes also looks ahead to more contemporary interpretations. Here are this year’s nominees in the traditional and contemporary categories:

Traditional Album of the Year:
Còig for Five
Poor Angus for Gathering
Moustafa Kouyaté & Romain Malagnoux for Les frontières imaginaires 
The High Bar Gang for Lost and Undone: A Gospel Bluegrass Companion 
Sarah Jane Scouten for The Cape 

Traditional Singer of the Year:
Kim Beggs for Beauty and Breaking
Fafard & Schwartz for Borrowed Horses
Mélisande [électrotrad] for Les métamorphoses
Sarah Jane Scouten for The Cape
Ventanas for Ventanas

Contemporary Album of the Year:
The Bros. Landreth for Let it Lie
Colleen Rennison for See The Sky About To Rain
Jill Zmud for Small Matters of Life and Death
Matt Andersen for Weightless
The Strumbellas for We Still Move On Dance Floors

Contemporary Singer of the Year:
Matthew Barber for Big Romance
Jadea Kelly for Clover
James Keelaghan for History
Del Barber for Prairieography
Matt Andersen for Weightless

Instrumental artists are leading the pack in nominations this year. Here are the complete list of nominees in these categories:

Instrumental Group of the Year:
The Andrew Collins Trio for A Play On Words
MAZ for Chasse-Galerie
Còig for Five
Brishen for Brishen
The Fretless for The Fretless

Instrumental Solo Artist of the Year:
Maxim Cormier for 2
Gillian Boucher for Attuned
Steve Dawson for Rattlesnake Cage
Jayme Stone for The Other Side of the Air
Robert Michaels for Via Italia

Rounding out the category nominations are these excellent talents:

Vocal Group of the Year
The Fugitives for Everything Will Happen
Gathering Sparks for Gathering Sparks
The High Bar Gang for Lost and Undone: A Gospel Bluegrass Companion
The Marrieds for Saving Hope
Sweet Alibi for We’ve Got To

Ensemble of the Year
The High Bar Gang for Lost and Undone: A Gospel Bluegrass Companion
Brishen for Brishen
Notre Dame de Grass for That’s How the Music Begins
The Fretless for The Fretless
Ventanas for Ventanas

Solo Artist of the Year
Matthew Barber for Big Romance
Shari Ulrich for Everywhere I Go
James Keelaghan for History
Lennie Gallant for Live Acoustic at The Carleton
Del Barber for Prairieography

Children’s Album of the Year
Helen Austin for Colour It
Rattle and Strum for Rattle and Strum
Alex Mahé for Réveillons les bonnes chansons
Kathy Reid-Naiman for When It’s Autumn
Fred Penner for Where In The World

Producer of the Year
Marc Maziade for Chasse-Galerie (MAZ)
Tom Terrell and Karl Falkenham for City Ghosts (The Modern Grass)
Luke Doucet for Éphémère sans repère (Whitehorse)
The Fretless with Joby Baker for The Fretless (The Fretless)
Steve Dawson for St. Louis Times (Jim Byrnes)