The Year in Review

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2009 was another great year for the Aboriginal music community in Manitoba. Aboriginal artists brought in 80 award show nominations, earned 18 award show trophies, held down 11 showcases, and released 17 new albums, while the local industry continued to put television resources behind Aboriginal recording artists, launched a new music festival in Winnipeg, launched a new radio station, and exceeded sales targets for tickets to the Aboriginal Peoples Choice Music Awards (APCMA).

April 1 marked the fifth anniversary for Manitoba Music’s Aboriginal Music Program and 2099 included the fourth AMP Camp, the release of Volume 4 of the Manitoba Aboriginal Artists compilation CD, and the addition of a Manitoba showcase at the Gathering of Nations.

Darrelyne Bickel had a big year, earning the Ka-Kee-Nee Konee Pewonee Okimow (Emerging Artist) from the APCMA after singing her way past thousands of contestants on YTV’s The Next Star television show, finishing in the top six for all of Canada. She also performed at the Pantages Playhouse for the APTN Rising Stars Concert and had a song added to the Manitoba Aboriginal Artists compilation CD.

Eagle & Hawk were big winners with two trophies at the Indian Summer Music Awards (ISMA), one at the Native American Music Awards (NAMA), one at the Western Canadian Music Awards (WCMA), and three at the APCMA.

Tracy Bone continued to rack up nominations and awards in 2009, starting with an Aboriginal Album of the Year nomination at the JUNO Awards, a win at the North American Indigenous Image Awards (NAIIA), and a win for Aboriginal Songwriter of the Year at the APCMA.

Bluesman Billy Joe Green also did well, earning a JUNO Award nomination, a WCMA nomination, a Canadian Aboriginal Music Award (CAMA) nomination, and an APCMA trophy for Best Blues CD for his latest release, entitled First Law of the Land.

Sierra Noble kicked off the year with an appearance in movie theatres across Canada, later going on to open for Paul McCartney, pick up a Canadian Folk Music Awards (CFMA) nomination, and earn an APCMA for Best Country CD. She also signed with S.L. Feldman & Associates and released a music video for “Possibility.”

Gathering of Flies, made up of Jesse Green, Darryl Menow and Mike Bruyere became the back-up band for Buffy Sainte-Marie in 2009 and had “Sin City” added to Volume 4 of the Manitoba Aboriginal Artists compilation CD.

Don Amero had a big fourth quarter, bringing home the Aboriginal Songwriter of the Year trophy from the CFMA and Male Artist of the Year from the CAMA in November.

Wab Kinew released a second music video and claimed the APCMA for Best Rap or Hip Hop CD along with a CAMA nomination for his debut album, entitled Live by the Drum. The CBC personality also hosted the main stage at the Winnipeg Folk Festival and the Industry Brunch for the WCMA.

Gospel MC, Sadie kicked off November with a bang, earning an APCMA nomination for Best Gospel CD and holding down a strong performance at the West End Cultural Centre during Aboriginal Music Week.

New releases came from Jon-C, Brooklyn, Lost Priority, Don Amero, The Dusty Roads Band, BODM, Wab Kinew, Rik Leaf & Tribe of One, Da Skelpa Squad, Sadie, Dominique Reynolds, Evan Reeve, Jerry Sereda, The Gaudry Boys, Gathering of Flies, Ashok, Tom Racine, and Wanda Wilson.

The Aboriginal Peoples Television Network (APTN) funded six more music videos in 2009 and put support behind the Rising Stars Concert, which features performances by emerging Aboriginal recording artists from across the country. The broadcaster also earned nominations for Aboriginal Day Live at the CAMA and APCMA.  

It was a great year for the Manitoba Aboriginal Music Host Committee Inc. as they produced “Take the Fort” ( for the 2009 Cultural Olympiad, hosted the Aboriginal Nominee Honouring Ceremony for the Western Canadian Music Awards, and launched Aboriginal Music Week.

NCI FM continued to put resources behind Aboriginal artists and launched a second radio station in Winnipeg this year. The station, called Streetz FM, plays a wide range of urban music, with a strong commitment to Aboriginal artists and languages.

The Manito Ahbee Festival celebrated its fourth year in 2009 and exceeded ticket sale targets for the APCMA show at the MTS Centre on November 6.

Please feel free to visit our Manitoba Aboriginal News Archive for more highlights from the past year.

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