New Brunswick

ECMAs to host First Nations Showcase

The East Coast Music Association will host a showcase for First Nations musicians this year instead of offering an award for aboriginal music because organizers say there weren't any nominations.

Friday's show will replace award for aboriginal music

Melissa Girvan will be one of the performers Friday night. (ECMAs)

The East Coast Music Association will host a showcase for First Nations musicians this year instead of offering an award for aboriginal music because organizers say there weren’t any nominations.

The showcase, to be held Friday at Moncton’s Capitol Theatre, will feature nine Aboriginal artists from New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, said executive director Sue Hutchinson.

"We've got rock, we've got a little bit of hard rock, we've got singer songwriter, we have traditional First Nations music and these young rap stars. It's very cool," she said.

The ECMA requires a minimum of three albums to be submitted for the Aboriginal Recording of the Year award, said Hutchinson.

It's not unusual to have no entries, she said.

"It often happens in a cycle of recording. Next year or the year after we may see six or seven submissions. It depends where they are in their recording cycle."

First Nations artists will also participate in workshops to help them sell their music, said Hutchinson.

"That's something that we try to get all of our musicians who participate during ECMA week to do sometime before they come to ECMA week," she said.

"It allows them to talk to the buyers, it allows them to speak with their audiences. So really it's about engaging with First Nations artists who are so important to us and making sure that ECMA week is working for them."

Two-time ECMA nominee Gary Sappier hopes aboriginal awards will be offered again next year. ((CBC))

Gary Sappier, a well-known aboriginal musician from Tobique and two-time ECMA nominee, will perform Friday and help produce the show.

"You know I'd like to make the young guys sort of notice that native people can break down the doors or the barriers that are there," said Sappier, who has released several CDs and has entertained Canadian troops in Afghanistan.

He hopes the aboriginal award will be offered again next year.

"You know it's been very influential for my career, myself."

Other performers during the First Nations Showcase will include: George Paul, Melissa Girvan, Peter Stevens, J. Hubert Francis & Eaglefeather, Not Assessed Band, Blake Francis, Terrance Switcha, and ill fundz and beaatz.

The ECMAs will be held April 11-15.

now