Juno What? Manitoba Gears Up for 2005 Awards

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Manitoba is getting ready to play host to the 2005 Juno Awards, kicking off with one of the local music industry’s signature parties in 2004 host city Edmonton on April 2. With four nominations this year, Manitoba will be well-represented at the April 4 awards gala which will be hosted by Alanis Morrissette. Three of the nominees will be on hand for Manitoba’s Juno Party at the Empire Ballroom, along with many of the province’s prominent industry stakeholders. The Event will feature performances by nominees Doc Walker, Burnt, Eagle & Hawk, as well as recent Grammy nominated rapper Fresh I.E.

A year ago, Winnipeg made a strong bid to host the 2005 Junos. The committee included Premier Gary Doer, Mayor Glen Murray, and delegates from Manitoba Film and Sound, Destination Winnipeg, and MARIA, who hosted an event prior to the 2003 Junos in Ottawa which featured Randy Bachman and Doc Walker. On December 12, The Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (CARAS, the organization that puts on the Junos) announced that Winnipeg’s bid was successful and that the newly finished MTS Centre would be home to Canada’s biggest and most prestigious awards ceremony.

“Manitoba is home to many inspired and gifted musicians," said Doer last year in a press release. "Hosting the Juno Awards ceremony in Winnipeg would allow us to highlight their creative talents for the rest of the country."

This year’s nominees include punk poets The Weakerthans and their Epitaph debut Reconstruction Site for Alternative Album of the Year. Country stars Doc Walker are nominated for a second year in a row for Country Recording of the Year for Everyone Aboard while Eagle & Hawk and Burnt are head-to-head for Aboriginal Recording of the Year category for their Mother Earth and Burnt Project 1 – The Avenue albums, respectively.

“As an Artist, it is always nice to be nominated for an award, especially a Juno,” says Doc Walker frontman Chris Thorsteinson. “To be part of an event featuring many different styles of music is exciting.” With the exception of newcomers Burnt, all of this year’s nominated bands have been previously nominated for Junos. The Weakerthans were nominated for Best Alternative Album at the 2001 awards for Left and Leaving. Eagle & Hawk won for Best Music of Aboriginal Canada in 2002 for On and On and Doc Walker was nominated for Country Recording of the Year at the 2003 Junos for its album Curve. Last year, Manitoba artists brought home three awards, including Remy Shand’s The Way I Feel for R&B/Soul Recording of the Year, Fred Penner’s Sing with Fred for Childrens Album of the Year and Brandon violinist James Ehnes won Classical Album of the Year.

“We are looking forward to the Winnipeg Juno’s in 2005. Winnipeg has always been known as a ‘hotbed’ of talent within the music industry,” says Thorsteinson. “Now is our chance to showcase that talent. With our new venue, [The MTS Centre], visitors cannot help but be impressed.”

The Juno Awards annually celebrate the best music Canada has to offer with a three-day event in a different city each year. The 2004 Juno Awards take place in Edmonton, April 1-3 and the 2005 Juno Awards will be in Winnipeg. For more information, visit www.juno-awards.ca.

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