Western Canadian Music Award Winners

The Yukon Arts Center hosted the 2011 Western Canadian Music Awards on Sunday 23 October in an exciting event honoring the musical achievements of artists from Manitoba, Alberta, British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Yukon and Northwest Territories. The ceremony was hosted by Grant Lawrence of CBC Radio3 and was the culmination of the 2011 Breakout West Music Festival in Whitehorse – an annual event which includes conferences, panels, performances and opportunities to network within the independent music industry.

The Western Canadian Music Awards started out in 1995 as an annual independent music festival called the All Indie Weekend. This collaboration between the music associations of Alberta, Manitoba and Saskatchewan worked toward the shared goal of developing the independent music industry in these three Canadian provinces. By May 1999 the success of the venture resulted in the establishment of a federally incorporated non-profit organization known as the Prairie Music Alliance, with members of the individual music associations accepted as members of the newly formed PMA. In late 2002, the PMA invited British Columbia and Yukon to join with the three founding members to form the Western Canada Music Alliance, with the Western Canadian Music Awards having taken place since 2003.

The awards evening saw a variety of artists collaborating on stage to make musical magic for the enthusiastic audience, with award announcements being made between performances. The evening started off with Aaron Pritchett of BC teaming up with Jen Lane of Saskatoon and Ridley Bent of Winnipeg in a brilliant performance with a strong Western flavor, blending in a song by each of these talented musicians. Other collaborative efforts throughout the evening included a duo featuring Romi Mayes and Jordan Cook; and Diga Wolf with Don Amero and Cris Derkson.

The evening ended with Tsawwassen-based rock band 54-40 being inducted into the Western Canadian Music Hall of Fame. The band has been together for thirty years and the band members received the honor in person, bringing the evening to fitting conclusion with a live performance.

Aboriginal Recording Of The Year: Don Amero – The Long Walk Home
Blues Recording of the Year: Little Miss Higgins – Across the Plains
Children’s Recording Of The Year: The Kerplunks – Number 3
Contemporary Christian/Gospel Recording of the Year: The Sojourners – The Sojourners
Classical Composition of the Year: Marcus Goddard – Allaqi
Classical Recording of the Year: Peter Hannan – Rethink Forever
Country Recording of the Year: Ridley Bent – Rabbit On My Wheel
Francophone Recording of the Year: Raphaël Freynet – Le monde à voir
Independent Album of the Year: Del Barber – Love Songs For The Last Twenty
Instrumental Recording of the Year: Five Alarm Funk – Anything is Possible
Jazz Recording of the Year: Night Crawlers with The Big Band Sound – Down In The Bottom
Pop Recording of the Year: Imaginary Cities – Temporary Resident
Urban Recording of the Year: Souljah Fyah – I Wish
Rap/Hip-Hop Recording of the Year: Sweatshop Union – The Bill Murray EP
Rock Recording of the Year: The Sheepdogs – Learn & Burn
Roots Duo/Group Recording of the Year: The Wailin’ Jennys – Bright Morning Stars
Roots Solo Recording of the Year: Del Barber – Love Songs For The Last Twenty
Songwriter of the Year: Romi Mayes – Ball and Chain
World Recording of the Year: Trio Bembe – Oh My Soul