Canadian folk talent shines at the Gateway for Canadian folk music awards
On Nov. 30, 2018 and Dec. 1, 2018, Canada’s best folk talent converged on the Gateway for the 2018 Canadian Folk Music Awards (CFMAs).
The two-night event, which is part musical showcase and part awards ceremony, was the 14th annual event for the only award show dedicated to recognizing Canada’s wide range of folk performers.
There were 20 CFMAs handed out over two nights, and the event also featured performances from many of the nominated artists, including Matthew Byrne, Little Miss Higgins, The LYNNeS, and Danny Boudreau.
“It grew out of years of frustration with the Junos,” said Grit Laskin, one of the founders of the Canadian Folk Music Awards.
Over the years, Laskin and his founding partners became tired of seeing only a couple of Juno Awards being dedicated to Canada’s diverse folk music scene. They set out in 2005 to fully recognize all of the different subgenres that exist under the folk umbrella.
The CFMAs are also a juried award, meaning that a group of people separate from outside influence decide who wins based on merit instead of politics.
“The award carries the maximum amount of credibility and integrity, and that means value for the artist,” said Laskin.
The CFMAs are also the only music awards ceremony in Canada that is fully bilingual, hosted in both French and English.
“We love the music coming out of Quebec and the other Francophone regions, and we value it just as much,” said Laskin, who added that the inclusive mission for the awards also lead to the formation of Indigenous folk award categories.
The weekend’s big winners were The LYNNeS and Pharis Romeo, who both won two awards.
The LYNNeS won CFMAs for English Songwriter of the Year and Ensemble of the Year, both awards for their album “Heartbreak Songs for the Radio.”
Romeo won an individual award for Traditional Singer of the Year, and one as a member of Pharis & Jason Romero, who won Vocal Group of the Year.
The Unsung Hero Award was handed out to Edmonton Folk Festival producer Terry Wickham. This award was created to recognize those behind the music, who are dedicated to making Canada’s folk scene the very best it can be.
There were many side events around Calgary during the weekend, including a Celtic Jam Session at Oak Tree Tavern on Dec. 1, and several events at the new Central Library.
The show was hosted by Calgary-born folk musician James Kelagahan, and Quebec-based musician and dancer Benoit Bourque.