Manito Ahbee Festival Gathers Indigenous Talent for Celebration of Music, Arts, and Culture

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Indigenous Music Awards 2017 (Photo by Jen Doerksen Photography)

Dancers, singers, musicians and entrepreneurs from many nations across Turtle Island and around the world are gathering in traditional Anishinaabek and Metis territory for the Manito Ahbee Festival this month. The annual festival, which runs from May 16-20 in downtown Winnipeg, celebrates Indigenous culture and arts through an international pow wowmarketplace and trade show, art expo, music conference, and an awards ceremony.

The conference offers free workshops and networking opportunities, where Indigenous artists can learn about marketing their music and further develop the business aspects of their music career. Extended to two days this year, the Indigenous Music Conference is set to offer more opportunities for one-on-one mentorship and roundtable discussions with industry professionals and entrepreneurs. Taking place at the Delta Hotel May 17-18, delegates for the conference include artist Bill Leblanc of New Leaf Entertainment, artist Billy Simard, SOCAN Foundation's Charlie Wall-Andrews, artist manager Elaine Bomberry, Six Shooter Records' Emily Smart and Vanessa kuzina, Halifax Pop Explosion's Jamie Hammond, Sirius XM Canada's Jeff Leake, Paquin Artists Agency's Jeremy Giacomin, Festival du Voyageur's Julien Desaulniers, Calgary Folk Music Festival's Kerry Clarke, Paquin Entertainment Group's Michelle Szeto, Canada Council for the Arts's Noel Habel, Northern Touch Music Festival & Conference's Pauline Leung, artist Rob Ruha, Organization of Saskatchewan Arts Councils's Skip Taylor, Manitoba Film and Music's Stephen Carroll, and Reach's Vanessa Cito. The conference will be facilitated by NCI FM’s CEO David McLeod.

Manito Ahbee will host an open mic night and networking mixer at Pony Corral Downtown on May 17 where artists are welcome to sign up and perform.

The Indigenous Music Awards take over Club Regent Event Centre on May 18 for a night of celebrating musical excellence with performances by Ansley Simpson, Chase Manhattan, Theland Kicknosway, The Dakhká Khwáan Dancers + DJ Dash, Indian City, Kristi Lane Sinclair, and Pat Vegas (Redbone). The evening will be hosted by CBC Music’s Jarrett Martineau and singer/songwriter Beatrice Deer. Five artists from the Manitoba area are nominated for awards this year, including nods for Indian City, Desiree Dorion, Richard Farrow, Tom Dutiaume, Billy Joe Green and Malcolm Campbell. Local radio shows are up for awards as well, including NCI FM’s Indigenous Music Countdown, and CBC Radio: Unreserved. Read more about nominees from Manitoba

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