November 2006

Canadian Aboriginal Music Awards
November 24, 2006John Bassett TheatreToronto
All Nominees Winners at Aboriginal Music Awards
by Anna Lisa Eyles with photos by Dougal Bichan
The eighth annual Canadian Aboriginal Music Awards, (CAMA) were held on Friday, November, 24th, 2006 at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre’s thirteen hundred seat John Bassett Theatre. The awards marked the beginning of the thirteenth annual Canadian Aboriginal Festival. It was not a case of winners take all but instead, an atmosphere of genuine, mutual support. When one won, they all won.

Big screen dynamic graphics, tall, barren trees up-lit with purple spotlights and Donald Quon’s silky orchestral support, provided the perfect backdrop for this celebration of Aboriginal musical accomplishment and highlighted the important roles of tradition and spirituality in the artists’ lives. Speaking with audience members from across Canada, an elegantly clad Nikki from Manitoba, commented that although she travelled to the event with her cousin who had been nominated, she really attended to support “all the indigenous artists” in the more than twenty categories. Next year, CAMA is considering adding another category for Jazz music.

As winners accepted their stylized award, they repeatedly thanked not only their personal supporters and professional contributors, but their competitors as well. Special mention was made of the specific contributions of their fellow nominees to their individual musical success. This theme of community support was paramount and winning seemed to be of lesser importance. Don Quan, Musical Director of these awards and recipient of CAMA’s Music Industry award, actually forgot his icon on stage and had to return.

Co-host of this year’s awards, Manitoban, Andrea Menard, actor, singer, composer and playwright, was nominated in four categories, winning in three: Simple Steps won for both album of the year and best folk album, 100 Years for best single.

Drawn from the Canadian mainstream music industry nation-wide, more than ninety professionals participated in the selection of this year’s musical honourees.

Each category’s panel of up to seven judges, contained at least fifty percent mainstream professionals and a minimum of one aboriginal member.

A secondary theme of the evening was the repeated wish for mainstream music’s support. Jay Bodner, guitarist and lead vocalist of best group winners, Eagle and Hawk, said the message they would like to send to everyone is to “Bridge the gap. Blend contemporary and traditional elements. Not just mainstream but to the masses.” Bodner commented further that they (Eagle and Hawk) had been blessed “without the help of mainstream”. In describing his group, he observed that Eagle and Hawk are “rooted in aboriginal culture — traditional embracing the rest of the world”.

Gwen McDonald, a publicist for the event, aptly summed up the themes espoused during the evening, “Mutual support and cross-promotion are the bywords for all participants in this event!”

Mike Gouchie

Susan Aglukark
The Honourees

Susan Aglukark – Best music video, I Will Return

Eagle and Hawk – Best Group or Duo, Life is…

Highway 373 – Best rock album, No Limits

M’Girl – Best female traditional, Fusion of Two Worlds

Mike Gouchie – Best country album, Bad Boys & Angels

Cliff Maytwayashing – Best fiddle album, Skiffle Fiddle

Northern Cree Singers & Friends – Best hand drum album, Slide & Sway
and Best powwow album, contemporary, Nikamo-Sing!

Tamara Podemski – Best female artist
and Best songwriter (with Karen Kosowski), "So Damn Beautiful"

Red Bull – Best powwow album, traditional, Enter the Circle

REDDNATION – Best rap or hip-hop album, Now or Never

Jarad Sowan – Best male artist and Best blues album, Eclectically Yours

We welcome your comments and feedback
Anna Lisa Eyles
• • • • • •
Dougal Bichan
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The Live Music Report

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