Manitoba Artists Take Over Memphis

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Five Manitoba acts are heading to Memphis, Tennessee 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 19th year, is the premier professional development conference focused on folk, roots, multicultural and world music in North America and runs February 21 through 25, 2007.

Showcasing acts include some of Manitoba’s best up-and-coming as well as established artists, including award-winning world music a capella septet Madrigaïa, bluegrass outfit The Doug & Jess Band, roots/rock duo Twilight Hotel, eclectic act the Dust Poets, and singer/songwriter Nathan Rogers.

Each artist has a series of showcases at this year’s conference offering them the chance to perform for 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 networking opportunities at the Manitoba booth in the massive tradeshow hall.

“Folk Alliance has historically offered up impressive opportunities for Manitoba acts,” says MARIA’s Programs and Operations Manager Sara Stasiuk, who will be organizing the Manitoba contingent in Memphis. "Manitoba has a very strong roots scene and this conference is the place where artists can initiate and develop important relationships with influential industry people who can take an act to the next level.”

In addition to the conference, the second annual Folk Alliance Awards will take place on February 21, including a performance by Madrigaïa, who is nominated for Traditional Release of the Year. The Wailin’ Jennys are up for Contemporary Release of the Year and Contemporary Artist of the Year, James Keelaghan is up for Traditional Artist of the Year and the Winnipeg Folk Festival is nominated for Best Folk Festival.

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.

For more information on NAFA, please visit

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