Artist and Album of the Year honors went to the late Leonard Cohen, while William Prince took home Contemporary Roots Album of the Year and The East Pointers won Traditional Roots Album of the Year during the 2017 JUNO Awards ceremonies that took place April 1 and 2 at the Canadian Tire Centre in Ottawa, Ontario — Canada’s capital city. Award recipients in these and some three-dozen other categories were selected by members of the Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (CARAS).
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau hailed Leonard Cohen, a prolific poet and songwriter, who died last November at age 82, as “one of the greatest artists Canada has ever produced.” His last album, You Want It Darker, was released just three weeks prior to his death. During the televised portion of the JUNOs celebration of Canadian music, singer-songwriter Feist paid tribute to Cohen with her rendition of “Hey, That’s No Way to Say Goodbye.”William Prince, a storytelling country-folk singer-songwriter from Peguis First Nation, was recognized for his solo debut album, Earthly Days. A founding member of the aboriginal collaborative Indian City, Prince was previously named Aboriginal Artist of the Year in the Western Canadian Music Awards.
The East Pointers, a spirited Celtic folk trio from Prince Edward Island, was honored for its album Secret Victory. Featuring guitarist Jake Charron and cousins Tim Chiasson (fiddle) and Koady Chiasson (banjo), all of whom also sing, The East Pointers are helping to bring traditional music to a new generation of listeners through their lively and danceable approach to it.
The Fretless, a folk quartet whose music fuses classical arrangements and folk melodies, received a JUNO for Instrumental Album of the Year for Bird’s Nest. This is just the latest in a series of awards for the group, which previously was honored by both the Western Canadian Music Association and the Canadian Folk Music Awards for its 2012 debut Waterbound and its 2014 self-titled sophomore release.
Buffy Sainte-Marie, a singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and social activist, received the Allan Waters Humanitarian Award. Sainte Marie, whose musical career spans more than 50 years, and whose songs have also been covered by hundreds of other artists, is known for her thought-provoking lyrics and her passionate advocacy for Aboriginal people. Also an educator and philanthropist, Sainte-Marie has sought to protect indigenous intellectual property and championed indigenous artists and performers. Her latest release, Power in the Blood, won a JUNO Award last year for Contemporary Roots Album of the Year.
Sarah McLachlan, an 11-time JUNO and three-time Grammy Award-winning artist, was inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame, while her latest release, Wonderland, was named Adult Contemporary Album of the Year. Besides being a multi-platinum, award-winning singer-songwriter and a much-celebrated contemporary Canadian artist, McLachlan is credited with creating Lilith Fair 20 years ago – a festival dedicated to showcasing and supporting female artists. She was the recipient of the Governor General’s Performing Arts Award for Lifetime Achievement in 2015 and of the Allan Waters Humanitarian Award in 2006.
A complete list of JUNO Awards winners can be found, along with additional information, on line at www.junoawards.ca.