2006: The Year in Review

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 A lot happened in Manitoba’s Aboriginal music community this year- we launched a new festival, produced one of the best music award shows on the continent, brought home a number of trophies and partnered with the Canada Council to spread our development opportunities across the country. As the year comes to a close, the Aboriginal Music Program takes some time to reflect on what happened, who won what and where we all went.

By the middle of January, plans for the Manito Ahbee Festival were in full swing and Errol Ranville, Aboriginal Music Program Director, was pulled away from his MARIA duties to shape the new event and lead what would become an army of managers and administrators dedicated to the launch of this new Aboriginal music flagship. Around the same time, the submission process for AMP Camp was coming to an end and the Aboriginal Music Program was set to announce the participants for this week long artistic and professional develop project for emerging and mid-career Aboriginal recording artist from all part of Canada. By the end of the month, “the year of Eagle & Hawk” was begging and the group flew to Cannes, France, becoming the first Manitoban act to showcase at MIDEM, the world’s biggest music market.

In February, the Juno nominations were announced. One of the Manitoban highlights was the Aboriginal Recording of the Year category, which included Billy Joe Green, Eagle & Hawk and Burnt holding down three of the five spots.

March saw the launch of AMP Camp- made possible by a partnership between the Aboriginal Music Section of the Canada Council for the Arts and the Aboriginal Music Program of the Manitoba Audio Recording Industry Association. The week long residency included 23 participants, 3 full-week instructors and 11 instructors who joined the group for a day or two of workshops. The project received great media attention, including participant profiles on the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network and NCI FM along with project profiles in SPIRIT Magazine and SAY Magazine.

In April, Burnt won a Juno for Aboriginal Recording of the Year in Halifax. Eagle & Hawk and Billy Joe Green made the trip out east, seizing the opportunity to promote their award nominated albums and to network with the Canadian music brass. Later in the month, Eagle & Hawk, the Red Shadow Singers and Little Hawk received nominations at the Native American Music Awards and the Manitoba Aboriginal Music Host Committee officially announced the launch of the Manito Ahbee Festival and Aboriginal Peoples Choice Music Awards. Hip hop crews, Dead Indians and Team Rezofficial also made their way across the southwestern US this month, participating in a Native American hip hop tour, entitled the CIB Tour.

At the beginning of May, Aboriginal recording studio and emerging record label, Strongfront A/V Productions set-up shop with 441 Studios and Arbor Records in a new space atop 441 Main Street. At the end of the month, the Native American Music Awards announced Eagle & Hawk as the only act from Canada that would grace the stage at their awards show on June 8 in Hollywood, Florida. Around the same time, X-Status was announced as the sole Manitoban act on the Dig Your Roots – Aboriginal compilation CD.

June played host to more good news for Eagle & Hawk as the group’s Mother Earth CD earned them the Native American Music Award for Best Pop/Rock Recording and their Life Is... disc nabbed three nominations at the Indian Summer Music Awards (ISMA). Country singer Kimberley Dawn also received an ISMA nomination and NCI FM started taking over Manitoba with participation in and coverage of all the music and cultural events surrounding National Aboriginal Day.

After the National Aboriginal Day competition pow wow at the Red River Ex, Aboriginal Day concert on the Scotia Bank Stage at The Forks and the Aboriginal Night show at the Ramada Entertainment Centre in June, Long Plains First Nation kept the music going with Rez Fest, featuring performances by Eagle & Hawk, Gerry McIvor, Derek Miller and Aaron Peters & The Mosquitoes. Arbor Records signed Susan Aglukark around mid-July and Eagle & Hawk joined fellow Winnipegers at the Harbourfront Centre in Toronto for “From the Peg,” a multi-disciplinary salute to artists from our provinces’ capital later that month. The Aboriginal Music Program also launched its monthly Aboriginal Music Roundtable Discussions in July with Funding Applications as the first discussion topic. Manitoba Film & Sound’s Kevin Walters and Vince Fontaine of Eagle & Hawk lead the group through the demo and sound recording applications, while fielding a number of questions on marketing plans and the kind of details to include in each application.

In August, the Manitoba Aboriginal Music Host Committee unveiled the Aboriginal Peoples Choice Music Award hardware and announced the award show hosts, Lorne Cardinal and Catherine St. Germain. NCI FM also announced the 25 amateur Aboriginal singers who would compete at their September 2nd talent contest at the Centennial Concert Hall. The Aboriginal Music Roundtable Discussion in August was about Performance Skills and Ray St. Germain lead the group.

At the begging of September, the Aboriginal Music Program announced the 16 acts who would participate in the Manitoba Aboriginal Music Showcase at the Manito Ahbee Festival and teamed up with the University of Winnipeg Students’ Association to give faculty, staff and students a taste of Aboriginal music during the first week of classes. A little later that month, Eagle & Hawk were joined by the C-Weed Band and Kimberley in Milwaukee for the Indian Summer Music Awards. When the nominations for the Aboriginal Peoples Choice Music Awards were announced on the 13th of September, we found that Manitobans were represented in nearly every category, with a total of 34 nods.

October marked the start of festival season in Winnipeg and the Manitoba Aboriginal Music Host Committee honoured and showcased the 5 nominees in the Western Canadian Music Awards’ Aboriginal category. Eagle & Hawk, Don Freed, Donna Kay, Andrea Menard and Art Napoleon performed a couple songs each at the October 19th event and were presented with a couple of gifts to acknowledge their accomplishments to date. The Canadian Aboriginal Music Awards announced the 2006 nominees around the same time and eight Manitoban acts earned 10 nominations.

The festivals kept rolling in November with the Manito Ahbee Festival at the beginning of the month followed by the CFL Grey Cup festivities and the Canadian Aboriginal Music Awards on the 24th. The Manito Ahbee Festival was great and it included a competition pow wow, music festival and the Aboriginal Peoples Choice Music Awards. JC Campbell, Eagle & Hawk and Harv Settee Jr. performed on live television during the award show on Friday, November 3rd, while Tracy Bone, Eagle & Hawk, Hank Horton, Billy Joe Green, JJ Lavallee & The Freebird Band, Sierra Noble and the production team of DJ St. Germain and Dez Mentuck nabbed awards in 10 of the 17 categories. The CFL Grey Cup festivities featured a live performance by Eagle & Hawk and the Canadian Aboriginal Music Awards did too. Highway 373, Don Amero, Gerry McIvor, Dead Indians, Meghan Meisters, Rayne DeLaronde, Little Hawk, Sierra Noble and John Cochrane took in the Canadian Aboriginal Music Awards show in Toronto and showcased at the Holiday Inn on King the following day. Eagle & Hawk, Highway 373 and Cliff Maytwayashing brought home Canadian Aboriginal Music Award trophies in the Best Group or Duo, Best Rock Album and Best Fiddle Album, respectively.

In December, the smoke finally started to clear as the fall festival season came to an end and the holiday party season began (the best holiday party invitation was definitively courtesy of the Manito Ahbee Festival).

The upcoming year promises to be just as exciting as 2006 with AMP Camp 2007 planned for February, the Manito Ahbee Festival and Aboriginal Peoples Choice Music Awards set for the begging of November and new releases Billy Joe Green, Tracy Bone, JC Campbell and C-Weed set to take the music award circuit by storm. Keep watching aboriginalmusic.ca for news, photo galleries and live music listings and feel free to contact the Aboriginal Music Program if you’re interested in getting involved.

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