Jaylene Johson (Samara Wiebe)
Whitehorse will be whirling this weekend as more than 50 musical acts descend upon this northern city. Whitehorse is hosting the annual Western Canadian Music Awards for the first time. And Manitoba has a strong showing this year with 43 nominations.
Francophone band Les Surveillantes are first-time nominees for their debut album, La racine carrée du coeur. Band member Denis Vrignon-Tessier says he is really excited about going to Whitehorse for the showcase and awards show. He says it's like " the feeling of getting an A+ after working really hard on an essay. Not that we look to others to validate our work, but it's nice when an organisation such as the WCMA's throws their weight behind you in helping to show your work to the west, maybe even the world."
It's also the first WCMA nomination for the Latin act, Trio Bembe. Their recording Oh My Soul is nominated for World Recording of the Year. "We're super excited to go to the Yukon for the WCMAs. We're still a little shocked!" says vocalist Amber Epp. "In addition to performing at the BreakOut West festival, we also hope to do some hiking and some dog sledding if there's enough snow! We even wrote a song about what we'd do if we decided to stay in the Yukon."
Jaylene Johnson is a veteran of awards events. Her recording Happiness is up for Contemporary Christian/Gospel Recording of the Year. "There are tons of great artists in Canada. I feel really honoured to be among them. Whether or not I win, I plan to soak in the experience of being in the Yukon for the first time, and am going to sing my heart out at my showcases Friday and Saturday night."
The awards will be handed out on October 23 at the Yukon Arts Centre at a gala hosted by CBC Radio 3's Grant Lawrence. That ceremony caps off BreakOut West, a whole music-filled weekend which includes a conference and concerts in venues big and small.
More than a dozen acts from Manitoba are heading north to perform, including the artists quoted above, as well as Del Barber, Diana McIntosh, Don Amero, Fish & Bird, KIN, The Liptonians, Oh My Darling, Ridley Bent, Romi Mayes and Ruth Moody.
Four fast facts about the Western Canadian Music Awards.