New Awards Show Could Be Good for Local Folk Scene

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Canadians have a new awards show to look forward to this year. The first Canadian Folk Music Awards (CFMA) are being planned for early December 2005, set to take place in Gatineau, Quebec. The new awards, which were created to celebrate the breafth and depth of Canadian folk music, may be of particular significance and excitement to the Manitoba music scene which is known for its stellar folk and roots acts.

While awards such as the Junos, Western Canadian Music Awards, and East Coast Music Awards have a few categories dedicated to folk and roots music, according to the CFMA's website, "they offer only a restricted view of the genre." Awards shows like the Canadian Country Music Awards and the Canadian Aboriginal Music Awards are a testament to the importance of specific genres creating a more dedicated level of recognition, particularly for the widening variety of sub-genres.

Manitoba is a fertile breeding ground for folk artists. One need only remember back to the 2005 JUNO Awards, where popular local roots acts Nathan and The Wailin' Jennys were two of fives acts nominated for Roots & Traditional Album of the Year (Group). Having two local acts nominated in the roots category, which The Jennys won at the April awards gala in Winnipeg, served to bring national attention to the Manitoba folk scene.

Other local acts like Alana Levandoski, The Duhks and House of Doc all stand to benefit from the creation of the CFMAs. Critics and audiences alike have been buzzing about Levandoski, who just released her debut Unsettled Down on American label Rounder Records, and bluegrass quintet House of Doc and its Prairiegrass album. In February, The Duhks received a backdoor Grammy with its contribution to Sugar Hill Record's compilation Beautiful Dreamer. Emerging roots acts like D.Rangers, Romi Mayes, and Nathan Rogers will also benefit from the attention that the CMFAs could bring.

Unlike the Junos, WCMAs and CCMAs, however, the CFMAs are not organizated by a non-profit board-run association but rather a committee made up mostly of musicians. The CFMA organizing committee includes established artists like Grit Laskin and Bill Garrett, and Anne Marie Hamilton and Roddy Campbell of Peguin Eggs magazine.

The deadline for nominations for the CFMAs is September 1, giving local acts and labels just enough time to check out the application process online at the CFMA website. Nominations will be announced in the second week of October.

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