Manitoba Artists Take Over Austin

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Six Manitoba acts are heading to Austin, Texas this week to showcase to the folk and roots music industry at the North American Folk Alliance Conference (NAFA). The annual event, now in its eighteenth year, is the premier professional development conference focused on folk, roots, multicultural and world music in North America and runs February 10 through 14.

Showcasing acts include some of Manitoba’s best up-and-coming as well as established artists, including popular Celtic fusion quintet The Duhks, world music a capella septet Madrigaia, bluegrass buzz band House of Doc, Juno-nominated roots quartet Nathan, bluesy roots act Scott Nolan, and singer/songwriter duo Twilight Hotel.

The Duhks will use the trip south to head to Nashville to work with co-producers Tim O'Brien and Gary Paczosa for the band’s third album, a follow-up to its critical and public success Your Daughters and Your Sons (Sugar Hill Records, 2004). Critical acclaim is not isolated to The Duhks. The remaining five local showcasing acts have all released successful albums in the last year.

These Manitoba artists will all perform to audiences that include folk festival buyers, agents, record labels, management, media, and more. Every year, MARIA provides the framework for these artists to gain further exposure to the movers and shakers in the folk and roots community through hosting a popular showcase suite, as well as providing networking opportunities at the Manitoba booth in the massive tradeshow hall.

“This event has been the site of some incredible development in the careers of Manitoba artists,” says MARIA’s Programs and Operations Manager Sara Stasiuk, who will be organizing the Manitoba contingent at NAFA. “The Wailin' Jennys attended as a barely-formed group back in 2002 and have gone on to tour the U.S., England and Australia and win a Juno. The Duhks reintroduced themselves at NAFA in 2003 and have gone on to great success and inclusion on a Grammy-winning album. The list of successes goes on and on. Each group developed instrumental relationships through the people they met at their Manitoba showcases. I am very excited to head down with this year's cadre and watch a new group wow the international folk and roots world.”

Manitoba artists were able to access financial support for their showcasing at NAFA through the Market Access Program, a program jointly funded by MARIA and Manitoba Film & Sound.

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