Manitoba Artists and Industry Win 16 WCMAs in Brandon

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When the Western Canadian Music Awards pack up and get ready to spend 2010 in Kelowna, they will leave behind 16 awards. The 2009 WCMAs, hosted September 17-20 in Brandon, culminated in the gala awards show at the Western Manitoba Centennial Auditorium on September 20. Nine Manitoba artists won 10 awards, two industry professionals brought home hardware, and four local luminaries were honoured with special awards. This is Manitoba’s strongest showing in the seven-year history of the awards.


Roots singer/songwriter Romi Mayes was a double winner again this year, capturing the awards for Roots Solo Recording of the Year and Songwriter of the Year for her latest release, Achin In Yer Bones. Mayes won both awards in 2007 for her previous recording, Sweet Somethin’ Steady.


Country rock trio Doc Walker won for Country Recording of the Year with Beautiful Life, which also swept the 2008 Canadian Country Music Awards. Rock outfit Eagle & Hawk also continued a winning streak with its latest recording, Sirensong. The album, which recently won two Indian Summer Music Awards in Milwaukee, was named Aboriginal Recording of the Year. 


Sought-after percussionist and singer/songwriter Daniel ROA stepped out from behind his drums to take home the award for Francophone Recording of the Year for his debut, Le nombril du monde. Composer T. Patrick Carrabre and his recent effort, A Hammer for Your Thoughts, won for Classical Composition of the year. Rap ‘n’ roll collective, Grand Analog, won for Rap and Hip-Hop Recording of the Year with its latest, Touch Your Toes. Juno-winning singer/songwriter Steve Bell and his release, Devotion, secured the award for Christian Recording of the Year for the second year in a row.  Consummate bluesman Big Dave McLean picked up the award for Blues Recording of the Year with his new album, Acoustic Blues Got 'Em From the Bottom. Rock favourite The Waking Eyes won Independent Recording of the Year for Holding On To Whatever It Is.


At the Industry Awards Brunch on September 19, Paquin Entertainment Group was named Agency of the Year for the sixth year in a row while Shawn Pierce won for Engineer of the Year. Paquin founder and CEO, Gilles Paquin, was also honoured with the special Industry Builder Award, recognizing his profound and lasting impact on the on the music industry. Eighty-nine-year-old composer Robert Turner was given the special Heritage Award for his influence and inspiration for the western Canadian music scene. Brandon-born violinist James Ehnes shared the International Achievement Award with B.C.’s Michael Bublé. Morden-born world music superstar and label owner, Loreena McKennitt, was inducted into the Western Canada Music Hall of Fame and gave a passionate keynote interview at the brunch.


There was also plenty of Manitoba music to hear and see at this year’s WCMA Festival, which ran over two nights in various Brandon venues. Twenty-three acts, including several of this year’s nominees, showcased for top industry and audiences alike at the 2009 festivities. Many also participated in the two-day industry conference, which featured workshops and panels with heavy hitters like the Glastonbury Festival’s Martin Elbourne, The Agency Group’s Ralph James, South by Southwest’s Matt Sonzala, and Apple Canada’s Jeff Booth.


The WCMAs present an incredible opportunity for emerging and established artists to be a part of the western Canadian music community. Participating artists and other music professionals have the chance to meet key industry stakeholders creating the opportunity for a new wave of exciting industry developments from record deals to international tours.


For a complete list of 2009 WCMA winners, please visit


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