The winners of the Canadian Folk Music Awards (CFMA) were announced this evening at the 10th anniversary gala event in Ottawa, Ontario. Hosted by Shelagh Rogers (CBC Radio) and musician Benoit Bourque (La Bottine Souriante), Canada’s folk community came together after a bustling weekend of public events, which included two evenings of nominee showcases and various workshops.
Twenty awards were presented at the gala. British Columbia’s The Fretless, known for their high energy fiddle tunes, won the Ensemble of the Year award for their self-titled album. PEI’s Lennie Gallant, an Order of Canada recipient and much loved musical storyteller, won the Solo Artist of the Year award for Live Acoustic at The Carleton,recorded at the destination Halifax music venue. The New/Emerging Artist of the Year goes to Manitoba’s The Bros. Landreth (featuring band namesakes and siblings Joey & David Landreth alongside Alex Campbell and Ryan Voth) for their alt-country oeuvre Let It Lie. Manitoba’s exquisite and innovative Tanya Tagaq wins the Pushing the Boundaries award for her captivating album Animism. Saskatchewan second cousins Kacy and Clayton bring home the Young Performer of the Year award for their stunning album The Day Is Past & Gone.
Women dominated the songwriting categories this year. The English Songwriter of the Year was awarded to British Columbia’s Shari Ulrich for her finely crafted albumEverywhere I Go. The French Songwriter of the Year was awarded to New Brunswick-via-Quebec’s Les Hay Babies (Julie Aubé, Vivianne Roy and Katrine Noël) for their heartwarming album Mon Homesick Heart. Aboriginal Songwriter of the Year was awarded to Ontario’s Amanda Rheaume and John Macdonald for Amanda’s album Keep a Fire.
In the contemporary and traditional categories, Ontario’s The Strumbellas wonContemporary Album of the Year for We Still Move On Dance Floors and New Brunswick-via-Nova Scotia’s Matt Andersen won Contemporary Singer of the Yearfor his powerfully sung recording Weightless. Cape Breton, Nova Scotia fiddle supergroup Còig (which is pronounced Ko-ig and means five in Gaelic) formed of Chrissy Crowley, Rachel Davis, Colin Grant, Darren McMullen and Jason Roach won Traditional Album of the Year for Five. Quebec’s Mélisande was honoured with The Sue Goldberg Award for Traditional Singer of the Year for Mélisande [électrotrad] – Les métamorphoses.
The instrumental categories honoured Ontario banjoist Jayme Stone as Instrumental Solo Artist of the Year for his world travel inspired album The Other Side of the Air.Ontario acoustic string band The Andrew Collins Trio was named Instrumental Group of the Year for their album A Play On Words. (This was band member Joey Landreth’s second 2014 Canadian Folk Music Award of the evening as he is also a member of The Bros. Landreth.)
Children’s Album of the Year was awarded to the effervescent Manitoba-based Fred Penner for his album Where In The World. British Columbia supergroup The High Bar Gang, who boasts membership by Barney Bentall, Rob Becker, Wendy Bird, Angela Harris, Colin Nairne, Eric Reed and Shari Ulrich, won Vocal Group of the Year forLost and Undone: A Gospel Bluegrass Companion. (This was Shari Ulrich’s second 2014 Canadian Folk Music Award of the evening.)
The world music categories honoured Ontario multi-instrumentalist Quique Escamilla asWorld Music Artist of the Year whose album 500 Years of Night was influenced by his Mexican birthplace. Quebec-based group Moustafa Kouyaté & Romain Malagnouxwon World Group of the Year. Led by bandleader Romain, of French heritage, the album is a collaboration with Malian artist Moustafa Kouyaté (son of Grammy nominated artist Bassékou Kouyaté.)
The Producer of the Year was awarded to Nova Scotia’s Tom Terrell and Karl Falkenham for their work on City Ghosts by The Modern Grass.
Ottawa’s own Harvey Glatt was honoured by his folk community peers as this year’sUnsung Hero, a special award that highlights the exceptional contributions of an individual, group, or organization to the Canadian folk music scene.
Established by Canada’s burgeoning and internationally recognized folk music community, the Canadian Folk Music Awards is currently its 10th year. The 2015 edition will take place in Edmonton, Canada. For more information, visit folkawards.ca.