After four nights of incredible music and excitement in Winnipeg, the fourth annual Western Canadian Music Awards (WCMA) culminated with 11 trophies awarded to some of Manitoba’s top artists and industry professionals. The artistic trophies were handed out at a gala event on October 22 at Winnipeg’s prestigious Burton Cummings Theatre for the Performing Arts. The industry awards were held at the beautiful Hotel Fort Garry at a brunch on October 21. Local artists accounted for 33 nominations in 19 different artistic and industry categories.
Artistic winners included Juno-nominated blues act The Perpetrators for Outstanding Blues Recording, two-time Grammy nominated rapper Fresh I.E. for Outstanding Christian Recording, and popular hip-hop trio Mood Ruff for Outstanding Rap/Hip-Hop Recording. Legendary Winnipeg rock outfit Harlequin was inducted into the Western Canadian Music Hall of Fame, reuniting all original band members to perform two songs for an enthusiastic audience.
Manitoba’s industry professionals came away with seven awards, including two special honours. Independent artist, activist, and entrepreneur Heather Bishop was awarded the Industry Builder Award while radio legend Howard Mandshein was give the Heritage Award. Other winners included the West End Cultural Centre for Music Venue of the Year, Paquin Entertainment for Agency of the Year, Brandon Friesen for Engineer of the Year, and Ron Sawchuk for Best Album Design for his work on Paris To Kyiv’s Fragmenti. Guitarist Murray Pulver, best known for his work with country rock act Doc Walker, also won for Musician of the Year.
The awards gala was the pinnacle event of Western Canadian Music Week - held October 19 to 22, 2006 in Winnipeg. Hosted by Hot 103's Ace Burpee and Juno-winning kids' performer Al Simmons, the event featured 20 acts with over 100 musicians. It also featured unique pairing of diverse musical acts, including nominated a cappella world music act Madrigaia with electronic act Au4, Mood Ruff with roots act Agnostic Mountain Gospel Choir, and bluegrass quartet House of Doc with kids' performers Bob King and Lana Rae performing a special song about "Winnipeg Man."
The crowd got to its feet for the reunited Harlequin after speeches from each member and a special video presentation on the history of the band. It seemed like no time had passed since Harlequin's heyday as the band rocked the Burton with chart toppers "Thinking of You" and "Innocence" to ecstatic screams.
The WCMAs also featured a conference with many of Canada’s most influential industry professionals as well as many international delegates. The successful three-day music festival included over 25 showcasing Manitoba acts in 11 different venues around the city. The WCMAs present an incredible opportunity for emerging and established artists to be a part of the western Canadian music community. Participating artists and other music professionals have the chance to meet key industry stakeholders, creating the opportunity for a new wave of exciting industry developments from record deals to international tours. The 2007 WCMAs will take place in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan.
For a complete list of 2006 WCMA winners, please visit www.westerncanadianmusicawards.ca.
2006 WESTERN CANADIAN MUSIC AWARDS - MANITOBA WINNERS
Outstanding Blues Recording
The Perpetrators – The Gas and The Clutch
Outstanding Rap/Hip Hop Recording
Mood Ruff – I Do My Own Stunts
Outstanding Christian Recording
Fresh I.E. – Truth is Fallin’ in tha Streetz
Hall of Fame Inductee
Agency of the Year
Best Album Design
Album: Paris to Kyiv - Fragmenti
Engineer of the Year
Live Music Venue of the Year
West End Cultural Centre
Musician of the Year
Industry Builder Award