2010 Canadian Folk Music Awards in Winnipeg
A few days ago, I attended my first Canadian Folk Music Awards Gala held at the beautiful and historic Pantages Theater in Winnipeg, Manitoba. The CFMA recognizes Canada’s outstanding performers, writers and producers of the many diverse forms of folks music. A “folkie” from way back, I thoroughly enjoyed the evening!
The CFMA, now in its 6th year, holds its annual GALA event in a different Canadian city each year. This year, as in the last few years, it was co-hosted by CBC broadcaster and Actra Award winner Shelagh Rogers (host of “The Next Chapter”) and talented french Canadian musician Benoit Bourque. Grit Laskin, member of this year’s Organizing Committee and Board of Directors ... as well as Renaissance man and guitar maker "extraordinaire" ... , worked tremendously hard with countless volunteers behind the scenes, along with the fine support of numerous sponsors, to orchestrate a fine evening indeed. The Gala had a real “down to earth” feel about it.
But the evening was all about the artists with a nice blend of award presentations and live performances. It was a wonderful opportunity to be exposed to new artists and their music as well as to hear some of the many fine musicians we’ve been listening to for years. I was pleasantly surprised to hear as much live music as we did and thoroughly enjoyed every act. We were treated to an amazing variety of guitar styles, including the superlative playing of Madagascar Slim, Don Ross and David Essig. The Once and the Shearwater Bluegrass Band provided excellent and vibrant music while the eloquent song writing and fine voices of seasoned artists Stephen Fearing, Heather Bishop and more recently established artist Annabelle Chvostek rounded out the musical performances. I wished we could have listened to even more music, especially from the nominees. Let us not forget the Resonance Award bestowed upon the great Ian Tyson, honored for his outstanding lifetime contribution to Canada’s musical heritage. You can learn more about the nominees and winners on the CFMA web site. It goes without saying that each nominee deserves our ear for the great work they have put forward this past year and previously.
My personal moment of ecstasy came from the announcement that Ian Tamblyn had won the “English Songwriter of the Year” Award for his work on “Gyre”. Ian has been pursuing his passion on a very personal path for more than 4 decades now and I have been following his outstanding career since the very beginning. I have to confess that I own every piece of music he has ever released - a combination of 30 LPs, cassettes and CDs! Our paths have crossed on numerous occasions over the years, including a few collaborations. Ian’s versatile musical arrangements and poetic interpretations of his voyages through the natural world as well as those from the human experience have left a superb legacy of finely crafted, thoughtful lyrics and often haunting melodies. Ian, this is a an award very much deserved indeed! I’m looking forward to what your current expedition to Antarctica will bring to your music next!
P.S. The attached photo of Ian Tamblyn was taken a few years ago during a concert in Guelph, Ontario.