Winnipeg Music Scene Shines on International Stage

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Music industry bible Billboard Magazine has added its voice to the growing number of people singing the praises of the Winnipeg music scene. The upcoming issue of the leading internationally-distributed music publication will feature music writer Larry LeBlanc’s article “Winnipeg: Cold, Isolated and Happening,” which highlights several of Manitoba’s top acts and industry professionals including interviewees Nicky Mehta of The Wailin’ Jennys, Todd Jordan of Paquin Entertainment, MARIA’s Executive Director Sam Baardman, and Steve Blair, Toronto-based Director of A&R for Warner Music Canada. The new issue of Billboard will hit stands on July 15.

The long list of acts mentioned in LeBlanc’s article includes a diverse mix of acts from every genre, with Juno-winners and nominees, acts signed to influential U.S. and Canadian labels, and bands who’ve made recent television appearances. Comeback Kid, The Duhks, The Wailin’ Jennys, Novillero, The Weakerthans, Propaghandi, Inward Eye, Alana Levandoski, Burnthe8track, Nathan, The Waking Eyes, James Keelaghan, and Doc Walker are all singled out for their impressive recent accomplishments. Also mentioned are some of Winnipeg’s strong independent labels, including Smallman, Bacteria Buffet, G7 Welcoming Committee, and new roots label Dollartone Records.

Winnipeg’s vibrant music scene will also be celebrated at Toronto’s Harbourfront Centre at the end of this month with “From the ‘Peg,” which will feature local artists from all disciplines, including plenty of homegrown music. The Duhks, Christine Fellows, Eagle & Hawk, Mood Ruff, The Waking Eyes, The Weakerthans, Prairie Soul Collective, and the Manitoba Chamber Orchestra will all take the stage July 28-30 at the acclaimed arts centre, which calls Winnipeg “one of Canada’s leading arts communities, lauded for its unique artistic perspective.”

The Manitoba music scene has continued to grow in recent years with steady increases in the number of albums released, showcase spots, nominations, and awards. Last year saw an increase in new music releases, with over 130 from local artists, 21 of which with international distribution. Twenty artists and industry professionals received 29 awards in 2005, including The Wailin’ Jennys’ Juno win. Sixty-eight Manitoba acts performed a total of 96 showcase spots at major national and international music industry conferences last year, including South By Southwest in Austin, North American Folk Alliance in Austin, and Canadian Music Week and North By Northeast in Toronto. 2006 is already looking to surpass last year’s numbers, with over 90 albums released since January and 14 award nominations. For more 2005 highlights for the Manitoba music industry, please click here.

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