Aboriginal Music Program

News

Bluebird North: Where Writers Sing and Tell

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The Songwriters Association of Canada has announced it will stage its first local Bluebird North event in Winnipeg on Tuesday, June 2, 2009 at the Park Theatre (698 Osborne Street). Showtime is 7:30pm.

Bluebird North: Where Writers Sing and Tell is a musical showcase that brings together Canada’s most inspiring songwriters during an intimate and interactive evening. The audience will hear each performer share their songs and stories in an acoustic, informal environment.

"It’s an insider’s look at what inspired their original songs, straight from the artist’s mouth," explains event producer, Chris Burke-Gaffney (CBG Artist Development/Vatikan Records). Burke-Gaffney is working closely with his S.A.C. colleagues to organize the Winnipeg evening, keeping it consistent with Bluebird North events in other cities like Vancouver, Ottawa and St. John’s.

Bluebird North is based on Nashville's famed Bluebird Café, which opened in 1982. The venue is well-known for helping launch the careers of Garth Brooks, Ashley Cleveland and Pam Tillis.

Hosted by veteran radio host, Howard Mandshein (92 CITI FM, 101.5 UMFM), this year’s Bluebird North at the Park Theatre will...

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The Gaudry Boys launch new website

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St. Laurent’s breakout Métis band, The Gaudry Boys, just launched a new website. Visit www.gaudryboys.com for booking info, performance dates, bios and photos.

The Gaudry Boys have been playing since 2002 and have performed for audiences at the Canadian Embassy in Washington DC, the Asham Stompers Festival in Reedy Creek, and the Manito Ahbee Festival in Winnipeg.

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APTN announces funding for music videos

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Winnipeg based hip hop emcee Sadie is one of seven Aboriginal artists who will receive a cut of $120,000 that the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network (APTN) has earmarked for the production of music videos. The funding falls under the network’s “First Tracks” program, which posted an open call for applications in July of 2008.

“There is an outstanding range of new music being generated by Aboriginal musicians,” says Jean LaRose, APTN Chief Executive Officer. “As Canada’s only Aboriginal broadcaster, APTN is proud to support these musicians through First Tracks. The range of musical styles and the calibre of the submissions reflect the exceptional quality of Aboriginal talent in Canada today. The jury had a very difficult task in selecting the successful applicants. There were many great submissions and bringing it down to these seven individuals was a huge challenge for them.”

The other funding recipients are George Leach (BC), Ry Moran (BC), Janet Panic (BC), Melissa Pash (QC), Lucie Idlout (ON) and Digging Roots (ON).

First Tracks was launched in 2007 under the “Open Call” banner and seven Aboriginal artists walked away with great videos. Last year’s recipients...

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Call for Applications: Voice Intensive Workshop

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The Banff Centre is accepting applications for the week-long voice intensive workshop. Participants will explore singing as physical experience, breath control capacity and resonance, understanding the vocal apparatus, care of the voice, and solo and group composition. Led by renowned Aboriginal musicians, participants will receive practical hands-on development that will enhance their confidence and skills as musicians.

APPLICATION DEADLINE: May 22, 2009

Enrollment is limited to 20 Aboriginal women and men (18 years and older).

Those accepted to the program will receive scholarship for tuition, room, and meals. Travel to and from The Banff Centre will be the responsibility of participants.

All applicants must submit:
• A completed application form;
• A non-refundable processing fee of $31(applications will not be processed or adjudicated until the fee is received by the Office of the Registrar);
• A brief statement of why you would like to participate and your expectations and goals for the program (one page maximum);
• A resume of your previous musical activities and/or accomplishments (one page maximum);
• A sample of work in either CD or DVD format...

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Songwriter in Residence: Emm Gryner

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Manitoba Music presents
Songwriter in Residence: Emm Gryner
Monday, May 11 | 7pm
Manitoba Music Resource Centre

Full Registration: $30 members, $50 non-members (one-on-one songwriting session plus the evening songwriting workshop) Workshop Registration: $20 members, $40 non-members (evening workshop)

with: Emm Gryner

A songwriting workshop with the critically-acclaimed Canadian singer-songwriter Emm Gryner, this program features one-on-one afternoon sessions with Emm, as well as an evening songwriting workshop. A limited number of one-on-one songwriting mentor sessions are available during the afternoon. These 30 minute sessions can be used for song editing and completion, song critique, or discussions about the craft of songwriting. Specific topics for the evening workshop will be announced in advance. The workshop will address topics such as the art and craft of songwriting, finding inspiration, and editing and refining song ideas.

Emm Gryner has carved out an enviable career completely on her own terms over the past decade, long before current music-industry trends sent many artists down an independent path. She has released eleven full length records,...

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NXNE Market Access Program Deadline - May 27

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The next Market Access Program deadline is for North by Northeast (NXNE). If you have a showcase at NXNE, please get your Market Access application in no later than Wednesday, May 27. Click here to download a PDF of the application form. You can also pick up applications at the Manitoba Music Resource Centre. For more info, please contact Danielle Strueby, danielle@manitobamusic.com.

PLEASE NOTE: Until program funding is confirmed for this fiscal year, Manitoba Music will only accept applications for approved events. See application form for list of approved events.

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WSO Launches Inaugural Indigenous Festival

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On April 27, the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra will launch its first Indigenous Festival.  The four-night festival is a celebration of several different cultures from around the globe, featuring music from Europe, Australia, China and North American, with a special focus on Canada’s Aboriginal Peoples.

The festival will explore different elements of music, rhythm, and film, with performances by a diverse group of artists including Juno Award-winning group Eagle & Hawk, choral ensemble Camerata Nova, drummer Corey Campbell, and the WSO itself.

The festival will kick off its first night at Circle of Life Thunderbird House with a drum circle and traditional greeting, followed by performances of work by composers Sara Hopkins, Anthony Niiganii, and Andrew Balfour.

Night two will include an Inuit art display in the lobby of the Park Theatre and a screen of Atanarjuat (The Fast Runner), the first Inuktitut-language feature film that was also an official selection at the 2001 Cannes Film Festival. There will also be a pre-film talk with Inuit art collector Fred Ford.

Night three at the Burton Cummings Theatre will showcase world folk music by Barbara Croall, Zoltan...

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New anti-file sharing law = more legal downloads

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On April 1, 2009, a new law was passed in Stockholm; that being the Intellectual Property Rights Enforcement Directive (IPRED) law. It gives copyright holders the opportunity to receive information about file sharers released from an Internet Service Provider through a court order.

The law was the result of the much publicized Pirate Bay trial in Sweden. Just this morning, Pirate Bay’s four co-founders were found guilty of assisting the distribution of illegal content online. They’ve been sentenced to a year in jail and a hefty $3.6 million dollar fine.

Since the implementation of this new law, there’s been a few interesting statistics floating around the interweb. An example -- “The first week after the introduction of IPRED, (legal online and mobile phone file downloading services) sales increased by 100 percent compared to the previous weeks. I don’t know if this is only because of IPRED, but it is definitely a sign of a major change,” said InProdicon’s managing director Klas Brannstrom. InProdicon is one of Sweden’s main legal file download services.

Now it’s expected that the outcome of this trial could spawn a variety of other trials as both the music and film...

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Manitoba at the Gathering of Nations

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Manitoba will be well represented in Albuquerque, New Mexico next week for the 26th annual Gathering of Nations. Five Manitoban acts will be showcasing at Stage 49 and “The Pit,” while Manitoba Music’s Aboriginal Music Program, Travel Manitoba and the Manito Ahbee Festival will be hosting a Manitoba Reception and participating in the trade show.

Leanne Goose, Wab Kinew, Rik Leaf & Tribe of One, JC Campbell and Tracy Bone have showcases spots at the actual event, while Highway 373 will be performing for Native American business and community leaders at the Manitoba Reception on April 23.

The Gathering of Nations is now in its 26th year. The event is anchored by the biggest competition pow wow in the world, which draws thousands of visitors to the Indian Trader’s Market and Stage 49 each year.

Stage 49 is the main showcasing venue at the Gathering of Nations. The acts are programmed by Emergence Productions, a full service Native American music event production and artist management company based in Albuquerque.

The performance times and locations for each of these artists are:

Thursday, April 23
8:00pm Highway 373 @ Manitoba Reception, Albuquerque Convention...

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The New METRIC System - Direct to iTunes

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Metric released it's new record in March. The band is still affiliated with Last Gang records in Canada. But this time around, they went without a label in the US, and did a deal directly with iTunes. Two weeks in, it seems to be paying off.

The following is an excerpt from the LA Times Business section:

The 10-track "Fantasies" has sold 24,000 digital downloads since its release March 31. With direct access to iTunes, as well as sales via the band's website, Metric has already brought in more gross revenue than it did on 2005's "Live It Out," which sold more than 45,000 copies.
 
According to Mathieu Drouin, the band's co-manager, "without any intermediary, we're making 77 cents on the dollar for every record we sell" on iTunes. Under a label deal, based on Drouin's estimate, Metric would have earned closer to 22 cents.
 
Metric also took a page from album rollouts employed by much bigger artists such as Radiohead and Nine Inch Nails. Fans could purchase the album directly from Metric's own site (www.ilovemetric.com), which sold "Fantasies" at five price points, ranging from an $8.99 album download -- with an extra track not available on iTunes -- to a $64.99...

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MENTOR SESSIONS: One-on-One Consultation Opportunities - April 27 to May1

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Manitoba Music Presents
MENTOR SESSIONS: One-on-One Consultation Opportunities
Monday, April 27 to May 1
Free for members
Manitoba Music Resource Centre, 1-376 Donald

Manitoba Music presents a week of mentor meeting opportunities with some of Manitoba's most experienced artists and music industry veterans. This is a unique opportunity to meet one-on-one with local mentors, to talk and ask questions about your music career. Meetings are available throughout the week, and are open to Manitoba Music members only.

Monday, April 27 & Tuesday, April 28
Glen Willows - Grant Writing, Artist Management, Team Building, Touring
Glen is an experienced artist and artist manager. For the past 12 years, he has worked with talented emerging artists to help bring their music to the world. He recently stewarded Inward Eye and Ash Koley through major deals and has experience with everything from grant writing and advancing shows, to showcasing artists and and brokering deals.
www.burningcircusmgmt.com" class="shorten">http:///www.burningcircusmgmt.com

Wednesday, April 29
Dale Penner - Production and Demo Critique
For the past 20 years, Dale has worked as a music producer, and has been fortunate enough to work with...

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Manitobans Pick up Three Noms at New Award Show

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Artists from Manitoba picked up three nominations for the 2009 North American Indigenous Image Awards (NAIIA). Tracy Bone is in the running for Best Country Album, Team Rezofficial has a chance to bring home the hardware from the Best Music Video category and local comedian and NCI FM radio personality Ryan McMahon is up for Best Comedian of the Year.

Arbor Records artists were also named in a couple categories with Stevie Salas up for Best Rock Song, Northern Wind up for Pow Wow Album and Derek Miller up for Best Actor, Best Music Video, Best Rock Song, and Best Rock Metal Album.

The first annual NAIIA will be held at Isleta Casino and Resort in Albuquerque, New Mexico on April 23. The show will acknowledge and celebrate the talent and accomplishments of Indigenous North Americans working in music, film, television, modeling, media and comedy.

The Gathering of Nations (GON) takes place in Albuquerque on the same weekend as the NAIIA show, with the Miss Indian World Pageant in direct competition on April 23. As one of the marquis festivals for the Native American community, several other events run concurrent to the Gathering. The events during GON include:...

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Big changes for the APCMA and CAMA this year

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The Aboriginal Peoples Choice Music Awards (APCMA) and the Canadian Aboriginal Music Awards (CAMA) are implementing some big changes this year. The Winnipeg-based APCMA will introduce a new voting structure while the CAMA show will be moving to Hamilton, Ontario.

The new voting structure for the APCMA sets aside nine categories for music industry professionals to adjudicate in the first round. These categories include:
Aboriginal Entertainer of the Year
Aboriginal Songwriter of the Year
Best Aboriginal Music Radio Station/Program
Best Album Cover Design
Best International Artist
Best Music Video
Best New Artist
Best Producer/Engineer
Best Television Program/Promotion of Aboriginal Music

Aboriginal music fans will have the opportunity to vote for their favorite artists in each of these categories in the second round, ultimately putting them in control of who wins in each category.

Now in its 11th year, the CAMA will be moving out of downtown Toronto to the Hamilton Place Theatre in Hamilton, Ontario. The move includes a new venue for the Canadian Aboriginal Festival’s competition pow wow, which will be held at the Copps Coliseum.

Manitoba has a number of...

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iTunes Prices Change Today

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iTunes Canada announced back in January that it had reached a deal with labels, allowing variable pricing by the labels in exchange for dropping DRM.

That change happens today.

Starting today, many major label tracks will jump to $1.29 from the standard $.99. Many will stay at the just under a buck price, and supposedly others still will drop to $.69. iTunes has said that for every song raised to $1.29, ten songs would be lowered in price to $.69. I did a quick search this morning and I couldn't find any tunes at $.69.

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Uncertainty for Digital Music Business Models (Still)

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Last week I wrote about a downward trend in peer-to-peer downloading - many observers see this in part as a result of the increased use of free and easy streaming music services such as imeem, Pandora, Last.fm, and Spotify. Why download and store files, when you can have access to anything you want, from any location, on demand?

Well, in the last few days, much has been written about the sorry state of business for these services. In the UK, where the artists are much more organized and active in demanding that they be written into the deals (not just as a footnote in their labels' deals with these services), google/youtube is currently in a battle with the PRS, claiming that they can't afford to pay artists for content. Other streaming music companies are lining up behind google, hoping to benefit from the behemoth's bargaining clout. Meanwhile, the companies themselves are still scrambling to come up with a homerun service that users actually like and use. The much heralded MySpace music, for example, was a major flop and is in the process of re-inventing itself again.

In many cases, it seems to me that it's inking deals with the major labels that is at the heart of...

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Aboriginal Artists at the 2009 JUNO Awards

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The Aboriginal Album of the Year category received a lot of profile at the JUNO Awards this past weekend. There was an outstanding Honouring Ceremony, a standing ovation for the category winner and great support from the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network (APTN).

The Honouring Ceremony was held for Tracy Bone, Billy Joe Green, Buffy Sainte-Marie, Team Rezofficial, Tagaq and Crystal Shawanda on Saturday afternoon at the Chief Joe Matthias Recreation Centre on Squamish Territory. The event was organized by the Aboriginal Initiatives Committee of the Music from Sea to Sky Host Committee for the 2009 JUNO Awards and included traditional honouring songs and the presentation of blankets and painted hand drums. The Spakwus Slulem were the first to sing and their song accompanied the presentation of the Coast Salish blankets made by Debbie Sparrow. An honour song by Mike Dangeli & Family followed, bringing the drums painted by Mike Dangeli (Nisga’a, Tlingit and Tsimshian Nations) and Don McIntyre (Anishinabe) to life.

The ceremony was quite moving and a couple of the nominees teared up during the honour songs and gift presentation. “The aboriginal honouring celebration was...

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New Aboriginal Artists to Watch in 2009

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Winnipeg’s own Sonia Eidse is a sweet songwriter with the ability to craft memorable melodies. She’s only 17-years-olds so be sure to watch for her in the next couple of years cause I still can’t get her choruses out of my mind.

Another rising star is Darrelyne Bickel from The Pas in northern Manitoba. She’s got an outstanding voice and a lot of swagger. Her new CD is entitled M.I.A. and it features six great country tracks.

Sadie is a hip hop artist coming out of the Fresh I.E. camp. Her new E.P. entitled Boomboxx Sounds features six tracks with solid rhyme schemes and great production. She’s been performing with Fresh and the Lil' Disciples for a while now, so I’m sure she’s set for big things this year.

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Take the Fort! - Manitoba Metis Music and Dance Tour

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Submitted by Faye Armstrong

History lessons generally aren’t the most exciting of times. The Take the Fort tour successfully changed that. The two-hour show featured Métis multimedia performance combining music, dance, and video, re-telling the story of the Red River Resistance of 1869 (during which Louis Riel led the Métis of Red River to take back their land).

Acts involved in the tour included the Norman Chief Memorial Dancers -a traditional style Metis dance troupe of thirteen-, renowned Manitoba fiddler Darren Lavallee with Marc Arnould, Melissa St. Goddard and Dylan Goudry, and The Puppet Folk, who re-enacted the Red River Resistance via video.

“It’s rare that you’ll see all of these different elements come together for one showcase,” says Production Manager and Creative Director Andre Clement.

The tour kicked off in Winnipeg on Tuesday, February 17. Other stops included Vancouver (February 19, Capilano Performing Arts Theatre), Calgary (February 20, Calgary Public Library), Saskatoon (February 21, Broadway Theatre) and Regina (February 22, Regina Performing Arts Centre).

Clement found that audiences across western Canada took away “a sense of the rich...

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EMI Changes Digital Direction, Again

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Back in May, I wrote about EMI Music's appointment of former Google CIO Douglas Merrill as head of digital strategy. The move seemed to indicate that EMI was serious about rethinking their approach to digital distribution.

But now, less than a year later, EMI has announced in an internal memo that Merrill is "moving on." They have appointed Cory Ondrejka to the position of executive vice president of digital marketing - essentially signaling that they will no longer have a digital department, but that digital strategies will permeate all aspects of the company's business. It's probably the right idea, but many observers seem unconvinced.

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Blender

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In the troubled world of print publications, music mag Blender is the latest to call it quits. The magazine was a glossy pop culture mag, but included serious music feature articles and decent record reviews. Blender follows No Depression which threw in the towel last year, in becoming an online only publication.

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Manitoba Heads to the Junos

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Vancouver is about to get a taste of Manitoba’s legendary hospitality with a special celebration of Manitoba music during the 2009 JUNO Awards street party in Vancouver on March 29. Presented by Manitoba Film & Music, Manitoba Culture, Heritage, Tourism and Sport, and Manitoba Music, the event will feature performances by 2009 Juno nominees Doc Walker, Tracy Bone, Billy Joe Green, and Big Dave McLean, showcasing some of the great talent coming from our province. With 11 nominations, this year marks Manitoba’s strongest showing in Juno history.

Three Manitoba bands are strong contenders for the top prize in the Roots & Traditional Album of the Year (Group) category this year, solidifying Manitoba’s reputation for great roots music. This year’s contenders include soulful roots music outfit Chic Gamine for its self-titled debut, genre-defying roots act The Duhks for Fast Paced World, and Americana duo Twilight Hotel for Highway Prayer.

Hometown talent is also leading in the Aboriginal Album of the Year category, landing three nominations this year. Nominees include country chanteuse Tracy Bone and her Western Canadian Music Award-winning debut, No Lies, on Winnipeg-based...

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Trends in "Free" Music

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Manitoba Music hosted a session last night with Mark Meharry from MusicGlue. Mark is based in London and is a pioneer of the "free" music approach to building a fan base and building careers for independent artists. Mark helps artists give away music, as a way to track and interact with fans, and build other revenue streams from concert tickets and merchandise. In the face of declining CD sales, artists and music industry companies are looking for new buisiness models and business structures.

One of the trends that we talked about last night was the move from downloading and storing music, to streaming music. Broadband speeds and access to online file storage are increasing and becoming cheaper, moving towards zero cost. This is leading to increased ease of access to music through legal channels like mobile phone delivery and streaming online services. Rather than building libraries of music, the user can simply plug into vast existing catalogues.

Illegal file sharing has been as much about ease of access as is about cost - labels weren't quick enough at making music available and transportable so mega music fans and tech savvy kids looked elsewhere. Now that music is...

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Arbor Live Hits the Small Screen

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This month, Brandon Friesen's music empire will expand yet again. The award-winning producer, engineer, label and studio owner will launch his latest project: Arbor Live. Airing across the country on APTN, the music variety television show features an exciting new mix of live performances, scripted comedy, and artist interviews.

Hosted by rock legend Stevie Salas, episodes will include comedy bits, behind the scenes antics, and featured artists participating in gags. Beyond the laughs, Arbor Live will also feature performances by emerging Aboriginal artists alongside some of today's hottest music stars.

"We're doing something very unique in the sense we're trying to get away from the standard live music variety show formula where you have a few acts playing then interviews. We find that model has been way overdone," says Friesen.

Along with about 50 million other projects he has on the go, Friesen is founder and owner the show's namesake, Arbor Records. The label, which now has offices in both Manitoba and Ontario, releases genre-spanning albums by Aboriginal artists, including Salas. Friesen and Salas came up with the show's idea while working together on Salas'...

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National Aboriginal Achievement Awards and more!

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The National Aboriginal Achievement Awards (NAAA) were established to encourage and celebrate excellence in the Aboriginal community. The Awards recognize the outstanding career achievements of First Nations, Inuit and Métis people, in diverse occupations. This year, the awards are being held March 6 in Winnipeg. Although the awards aren't about strictly music, Manitoba certainly has plenty of success in that department to brag about.

This week on the show, Wab has a couple special guests. Eagle and Hawk will be playing at the NAAA; so we thought Vince Fontaine and Jay Bodner of the group could come in ahead of time for an intimate studio session. There's also going to be exclusive concert material from this past Manito Ahbee showcase, including sets from Leanne Goose and Donny Parenteau.

And later in the show...

New music from Winnipegger-turned-German horse master, Old Seed (aka Craig Bjerring). For about a year, Craig spent a year on a horse ranch in Germany. Just to regroup - no music, just horses. But the troubadour is back at the music making. This month, he's played Rome, Frankfurt, Paris, and now, the great metropolis of Winnipeg. Craig sent us some of the new...

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AMP Camp Kicks Off

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Gimli’s population is about to get a little bigger. Twenty Aboriginal artists from across Canada will converge on the town’s Misty Lake Lodge for the fourth installment of AMP Camp, which runs March 1-6, 2009.

Hosted by Manitoba Music’s Aboriginal Music Program (AMP), the week-long professional and artistic development residency project gives emerging and mid-career Aboriginal recording artists a chance to develop their understanding of the music industry along with their ability to succeed in it.

Past participants, including 2009 JUNO Award nominee Tracy Bone, have gone on complete acclaimed albums, receive multiple award nominations, win music awards, and make music their full-time job.

AMP Camp is made possible by a partnership between Manitoba Music’s Aboriginal Music Program and the Music Section of the Canada Council for the Arts. The project provides the participants with the opportunity to develop their understanding of the music industry along with their ability to succeed in it. Each day of the five-day retreat includes close to 12-hours of professional development workshops on business topics and creative development labs to help the artists develop their...

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JunoFest Rolls Out Its Musical Line-Up

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Live music hits the streets of Vancouver! Today at a JUNO Awards concert inside HMV in Downtown Vancouver, The Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (CARAS) announced the extensive line-up of 2009 JunoFest performers slated to hit the stages during JUNO Awards Weekend. JunoFest wristbands (priced at $30) go on sale starting Saturday, February 28 at 10:00 a.m. (PST), through Ticketmaster and participating JunoFest venues. JunoFest takes place on Friday, March 27 and Saturday, March 28, each night from 9:00 p.m. – 2:00 a.m. Wristbands offer fans priority entry at all JunoFest venues (subject to capacity). Must be 19 years of age or older to attend.

Produced in association with Vancouver-based Donnelly & Associates Event Marketing Inc., JunoFest is a two-night music extravaganza that showcases the talents of over 100 local, regional and national artists representing the diverse spectrum of Canadian music.

Nearly half of the participating line-up has been chosen locally to highlight Vancouver’s rich and diverse music scene, in addition to performances from 2009 JUNO Award nominees and some of Canada’s national touring acts.

JunoFest ’09 line-up to-date: (*2009...

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2009 Juno Weekend Events

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MARK THE CALENDAR FOR JUNO WEEKEND EVENTS
COMING MARCH 26-29 IN VANCOUVER

The Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (CARAS) announced today the details of its popular JUNO Awards Weekend Events including Juno Cup, Juno Fan Fare and Songwriters’ Circle. Tickets to select Juno Weekend Events go on sale starting Saturday, February 28 at 10:00 a.m. (PST) and are available through Ticketmaster.

To kick off the upcoming four-day weekend in Vancouver, March 26-29, JUNO Awards organizers staged a morning face-off at General Motors Place between 12-time JUNO Award winner Jim Cuddy and former Vancouver Canuck Cliff Ronning to help announce this year’s team rosters for the 6th Annual Juno Cup game presented by The Keg Steakhouse & Bar. The Rockers have gathered an enormous roster with artists such as Barenaked Ladies, Blue Rodeo, Great Big Sea, Kathleen Edwards and Sarah McLachlan.

Juno Cup - Presented by The Keg Steakhouse & Bar
Date: Friday, March 27
Location: UBC Thunderbird Arena
Time: 7:30 p.m. – 10 p.m.
Tickets: $14.99

Juno Cup is an ever-growing popular event among fans that mixes music with sport, matching NHL alumni with top artists and...

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Walking in Memphis (is not something the locals do)

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We've been in downtown Memphis before, so when Sara and I arrived at the airport, we caught a cab straight to the whole foods market grocery store. Walking through downtown Memphis feels a bit like being on Truman show - there are roads and sidewalks and nice street lights but no people, and certainly no grocery stores. And with the restaurant scene leaning heavily toward the heavy (famous bbq and such) some veggies and fruit would be welcome snacks in the days ahead. So I was surprised but not that much to run into fellow Canadians at the whole foods, who were also making a trek for supplies, and we were happy to catch a lift back to the conference.

Folk Alliance all takes place in one downtown hotel, with a little spillover into the adjoining conference centre. That makes it a pretty close knit event where you keep running into old friends, and it makes it pretty straight forward when trying to make new connections. The amount of great music is phenomenal (the amount of bad music is kind of staggering too, although pretty easy to avoid).

With 9 Manitoba acts at the conference this year we've had a big presence and a great reception. Many of the artists are down for the...

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