The recipients of the Canadian Folk Music Awards (#CFMA2015) were announced this evening at the 11th anniversary gala event at the Citadel Theatre in Edmonton, Alberta. Hosted by renowned musiciansConnie Kaldor and Benoit Bourque (La Bottine Souriante), Canada’s folk music community came together after an exciting weekend of public events, which included two evenings of nominee showcases, a live CKUA broadcast and various workshops.
Nineteen award categories were presented at the gala. The Eastern Canadian provinces of Ontario, Quebec, Newfoundland, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island won 17 out of 19 category awards this year with artists from Newfoundland and Ontario receiving the most honours, each taking home five awards. Quebec artists followed, with three awards. Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia were recipients of two awards each. Western Canada rallied with Alberta and British Columbia artists collecting one award each.
Women were a force at the awards this year. Newfoundland’s Amelia Curran took home Contemporary Singer and English Songwriter of the Year for her album They Promised You Mercy. PEI’s Catherine MacLellan won Contemporary Album and Solo Artist of the Year for her album The Raven’s Sun. Edmonton local and five time CFMA nominee Rebecca Lappa brought home the Young Performer of the Year award for her album Tattered Rose. Ontario’s Kiran Ahluwalia was awarded World Solo Artist of the Year for the mesmerizing Sanata: Stillness. Ontario fiddler Adrianna Ciccone won Instrumental Solo Artist of the Year for her album The Back of Winter.
Four powerhouse duos stormed the awards this year. Comox Valley, BC’s Big Little Lions (Paul Otten and past CFMA recipient Helen Austin) won Ensemble of the Year for A Little Frayed, A Little Torn. St. John’s Newfoundland’s Catherine Allan and Andrew James, whose group is called Fortunate Ones, known for their exquisite harmonies, won Vocal Group of the Year for The Bliss. Husband and wife duo Raven Kanatakta and ShoShona Kish from Long Point First Nation in Winneway, Quebec who perform as Digging Roots won Aboriginal Songwriter for their album For The Light. Nova Scotia’s husband and wife fiddle duo Natalie MacMaster and Donnell Leahy received the award for Instrumental Group of the Year for their album ONE.
In the traditional folk categories, Newfoundland’s Matthew Byrne was awarded Traditional Album of the Year for his album Hearts & Heroes and Quebec’s Michael Jerome Browne won Traditional Singer of the Year for his 1920’s blues-inspired albumSliding Delta.
Three standout groups emerged as recipients. The New/Emerging Artist of the Year went to Ontario’s The Young Novelists (featuring Graydon James, Laura Spink, John Law, Michael Paddags, Alex Dodd and Shawn Jurek) for their album made us strangers. The raucous Lemon Bucket Orkestra took home the award for World Group of the Year for their new worldy-klezmer rampage Moorka. Children’s Album of the Year was bestowed on St John’s, Newfoundland’s Erin Power, Laura Winter and Duane Andrews who are The Swinging Belles, for their sympathetically titled children’s album More Sheep, Less Sleep
No stranger to receiving awards, these three artists each won in their categories.The French Songwriter of the Year award went to Louis-Jean Cormier’s heart-wrenching second solo album Les grandes artères. Ontario’s renowned guitarist Kevin Breit won the Pushing the Boundaries award for his album Ernesto & Delilah. The Producer of the Year was awarded to Nova Scotia’s Daniel Ledwell for his work onCompostela by Jenn Grant.
Ottawa’s Arthur McGregor was honoured as this year’s Unsung Hero, a special category 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 11th year. The 2016 edition will take place in Toronto, Ontario from Thursday, December 1 to Saturday, December 3, 2016. The awards gala takes place at the Isabel Bader Theatre on the Saturday night. For more information, visit folkawards.ca.