(News Release from Canadian Folk Music Awards) – The first ever National Strum (#StrumTogether) was held at noon today at Edmonton’s City Hall to celebrate and honour this year’s nominees for the Canadian Folk Music Awards. With a choir comprised of fervent local songwriters coordinated by singer-songwriter and artist development expert Rhea March and Northern Lights Folk Club founder Bill Werthmann, the Edmonton folk community came together to perform Dave Gunning’s official song of celebration “These Hands” in front of a gathered crowd. Andy Frank, the Canadian Folk Music Awards’ Project Director welcomed the crowd and announced the nineteen categories of nominees for the 11th annual Canadian Folk Music Awards (CFMA). Overall, 73 artists and groups were announced as Canadian Folk Music Awards nominees in 19 categories who hail from 9 provinces and 3 territories in Canada.

Known for their vibrant duets and handmade banjos, Horsefly, BC’s Pharis and Jason Romero lead the pack with four nominations for their album A Wanderer I’ll Stay. Their nominations include Traditional Album of the Year, Vocal Group of the Year, Traditional Singer of the Year (Pharis Romero), and Producer of the Year (Pharis and Jason Romero with David Travers-Smith).

Amelia Curran (St John’s, NL), Fortunate Ones (St John’s, NL),  Jenn Grant (Lake Echo, NS),  Whitehorse (Toronto, ON) and Catherine MacLellan (Charlottetown, PEI) each bring home 3 nominations for their music.

This year’s youngest nominee is nine year old Vancouver Island artist Stella Swanson for the album I’m Not A Bunny in the Children’s Album of the Year Category. Inspired by Stella’s pet bunny Romeo, the album was produced by Comox’s Helen Austin, a previous Canadian Folk Music Award and Juno Award recipient and a nominee this year with her group Big Little Lions.

CFMA’s host city of Edmonton has three local artists with nominations: Laura Vinson and Free Spirit, nominated for Aboriginal Songwriter of the Year, Lizzy Hoyt nominated for Solo Artist of the Year and Rebecca Lappa who is nominated for Young Performer of the Year.

The 2015 CFMA weekend is being held in the vibrant city of Edmonton. It begins on November 6th  and runs through to November 8th, culminating in the bilingual gala awards presentation at the Citadel Theatre in Edmonton. The gala event on November 8 is hosted by musicians Connie Kaldor and Benoit Bourque (La Bottine Souriante).

Shining the spotlight on up and coming talent (those eligible must be under 19 at the time of the recording), this year’s Young Performer of the Year nominees include:

Robbie Bankes – Through February Snow
Coastline – Coastline
Rebecca Lappa – Tattered Rose
Mira Meikle – MIRA
Benjamin Dakota Rogers – Strong Man’s Address to the Circus Crowd


The New/Emerging Artist of the Year nominees include:
Crooked Brothers – Thank You I’m Sorry
Fortunate Ones – The Bliss
The Harpoonist & The Axe Murderer – A Real Fine Mess
The River And The Road – Headlights
The Young Novelists – made us strangers

Celebrating innovation in creating new folk sounds, The Oliver Schroer Pushing The Boundaries Award category puts a spotlight on:
Kevin Breit – Ernesto and Delilah
The Jerry Cans- Aakuluk
The Shoeless – The Shoeless
Dana Sipos – Roll Up the Night Sky
Whitehorse – Leave No Bridge Unburned


Songwriting is a key component of folk music. This year’s English Songwriter of the Year nominees are:
Catherine Allan and Andrew James O’Brien for The Bliss (Fortunate Ones)
Jon Brooks for The Smiling And Beautiful Countryside (Jon Brooks)
Amelia Curran for They Promised You Mercy (Amelia Curran)
Luke Doucet and Melissa McClelland for Leave No Bridge Unburned (Whitehorse)
Jenn Grant for Compostela (Jenn Grant)

The French Songwriter of the Year nominees are:
Jocelyne Baribeau for Entre toi et moi (Jocelyne Baribeau)
Louis-Jean Cormier for  Les grandes artères (Louis-Jean Cormier)
Benoit Pinette for Panorama (Tire le Coyote)
Dany Placard for  Santa Maria (Dany Placard)
Geneviève Toupin for Willows (Willows)


The Aboriginal Songwriter of the Year nominees are:
Miranda Currie for Up In The Air (Miranda Currie)
The Jerry Cans for Aakuluk (The Jerry Cans)
Raven Kanatakta and ShoShona Kish for For The Light (Digging Roots)
Buffy Sainte-Marie for  Power In The Blood (Buffy Sainte-Marie)
Laura Vinson and Free Spirit for Warrior (Laura Vinson and Free Spirit)

World Music is an essential foundation of the global sound of folk music, tipping the hat to tradition of countries and cultures. This year’s nominees who excel in this field are:

World Group of the Year:
Ayrad – Ayrad
Alex Cuba – Healer
Lemon Bucket Orkestra – Moorka
Monsoon – Mandala
Ventanas- Arrelumbre


World Solo Artist of the Year:
Kiran Ahluwalia – Sanata: Stillness
Jean-François Bélanger – Les vents orfèvres
Elage – Diame
Emmanuel Jal – The Key
Wagner Petrilli – Confissão

Folk music is rooted in tradition but sometimes also looks ahead to more contemporary interpretations. Here are this year’s nominees in the traditional and contemporary categories:

Traditional Album of the Year:
Matthew Byrne – Hearts & Heroes
Le Vent du Nord – Têtu
Natalie MacMaster & Donnell Leahy – ONE
Pharis & Jason Romero – A Wanderer I’ll Stay
Jayme Stone – Jayme Stone’s Lomax Project

Traditional Singer of the Year:
Michael Jerome Browne – Sliding Delta
Matthew Byrne – Hearts & Heroes
Tamar Ilana for Arrelumbre by Ventanas
Annie Lou – Tried and True
Pharis Romero for A Wanderer I’ll Stay by Pharis and Jason Romero


Contemporary Album of the Year:
Jon Brooks – The Smiling And Beautiful Countryside
Jenn Grant – Compostela
Catherine MacLellan – The Raven’s Sun
The Once – Departures
Gabrielle Papillon – The Tempest of Old


Contemporary Singer of the Year:
Amelia Curran – They Promised You Mercy
Peter Katz – We Are The Reckoning
Sarah MacDougall – Grand Canyon
Catherine MacLellan –  The Raven’s Sun
Jory Nash – The Many Hats of Jory Nash

Instrumental artists are leading the pack in nominations this year. Here are the complete list of nominees in these categories:

Instrumental Group of the Year:
Coastline – Coastline
Shane Cook and Jake Charron – Head to Head
Lemon Bucket Orkestra – Moorka
Natalie MacMaster & Donnell Leahy – ONE
Monsoon – Mandala

Instrumental Solo Artist of the Year:
Jean-François Bélanger – Les vents orfèvres
Adrianna Ciccone – The Back of Winter
Nick Hornbuckle – 12×2(+/-1)
Patti Kusturok – Milestone
Wendy MacIsaac –  Off The Floor


Rounding out the category nominations are these excellent talents:

Vocal Group of the Year:
Fortunate Ones – The Bliss
Good Lovelies – Burn The Plan
The Lucky Sisters – So Lucky
Pharis & Jason Romero – A Wanderer I’ll Stay
The Young Novelists – made us strangers

Ensemble of the Year:
Big Little Lions – A Little Frayed, A Little Torn
The Once – Departures
Jayme Stone – Jayme Stone’s Lomax Project
The Sweet Lowdown – Chasing The Sun
Whitehorse – Leave No Bridge Unburned

Solo Artist of the Year:
Michael Jerome Browne – Sliding Delta
Amelia Curran – They Promised You Mercy
Lizzy Hoyt – New Lady on the Prairie
Catherine MacLellan – The Raven’s Sun
Oh Susanna – Namedropper


Children’s Album of the Year:
Ginalina – Forest Friends’ Nature Club Album
Henri Godon – La vie rêvée!
Hilary Grist – Tomorrow is a Chance to Start Over
Stella Swanson –  I’m Not a Bunny
The Swinging Belles – More Sheep, Less Sleep


Producer of the Year:
Daniel Ledwell for Compostela (Jenn Grant)
Jory Nash, Chris Stringer for The Many Hats of Jory Nash (Jory Nash)
Les Cooper for Burn The Plan (Good Lovelies)
Murray Pulver, Dave Zeglinski, Steve Bell for Pilgrimage (Steve Bell)
Pharis & Jason Romero, David Travers-Smith for A Wanderer I’ll Stay (Pharis & Jason Romero)

This year’s Unsung Hero award recipient is Ottawa’s Arthur McGregor. Arthur’s tireless efforts in the Ottawa music scene ensured the support for the appreciation of folk music in his community for many years. This special category award will also be handed out on November 8, 2015 at the CFMA gala event at the Citadel Theatre.


Arthur McGregor (photo: Julie Oliver – Ottawa Citizen)

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Mélomane invétéré plongeant dans tous les genres et époques, Nicolas Pelletier a publié 6 000 critiques de disques et concerts depuis 1991, dont 1100 chez emoragei magazine et 600 sur enMusique.ca, dont il a également été le rédacteur en chef de 2009 à 2014. Il publie "Les perles rares et grands crus de la musique" en 2013, lance le site RREVERB en 2014, et devient stratège numérique des radios de Bell Média en 2015, participant au lancement de la marque iHeartRadio au Canada en 2016. Il dirige maintenant la stratégie numérique d'ICI Musique, la radio musicale de Radio-Canada.