Ilya S. Savenok, Getty Images The sad news came across late Wednesday afternoon…
- Posted on Mar 8th 2010 11:15AM by Norma Jean MacPhee
The awards ceremony in Sydney, Nova Scotia was the culmination of a four-day music event showcasing the musical talent of Canada's east coast. Buyers, music consultants and other industry agents converged from as far away as Australia, Los Angeles and Nashville -- making the ECMAs to Sydney what the Olympics were to Vancouver last month.
In fact, the ECMAs had already bumped back their usual second week of February slot to accommodate the Olympics, which was why the organizers sat tight on their date, despite their awards show gala winding up on the same Sunday as the Oscars.
The Academy Awards couldn't stop Sydney from welcoming the more than 2,000 delegates from all over the world who arrived to check out the abundant ECMA-winning musical talent -- from Halifax's Juno-nominated hip-hop artist Classified to PEIs traditional folk singer Catherine MacLellan to Cape Breton's Instrumentalist Andrea Beaton.
But Plaskett was definitely the buzzword of the evening in the busy Centre 200 facility. On his sixth entry into the media room, clutching yet another treble clef-shaped pewter award, Plaskett just offered his friendly smile.
"It's a big honour, I've run out of things to say a bit," a humble Plaskett said. But he added that this award, in particular, is especially celebrated. He thanked songwriters who have inspired him, including Al Tuck, David Marsh, Two Hours Traffic and Gordie Johnson. "As a songwriter this is special. And also being nominated for a Juno in the same category, it's great. Thinking of good songs keeps me awake at night."
The Dartmouth-born musician actually leaves the weekend with seven awards, as he won Producer of the Year at an industry brunch earlier in the weekend.
Other multiple award winners include New Brunswick's Motorleague and Halifax's In-Flight Safety, the latter of which took the opportunity to praise their fellow nominees. "We accept this award on their behalf -- of all the bands," In-Flight Safety frontman John Mullane said from the stage. .
Hometown favourites the Tom Fun Orchestra won their first ECMA for Video of the Year. "It's funny to win in a category that Joel Plaskett is nominated in," chuckled the Orchestra's accordion player, Dave Mahalik. "It's our five-year anniversary. In 2005 we played at the Maple Leaf Lounge in Sydney. Now it's 2010 and they're giving us awards," added lead singer Ian MacDougall.
In addition to the awards, the show deliberately focused on the music, highlighting the musical genesis and genius of this side of the country. Included in their musical portrait were the Sons of Membertou playing an aboriginal drumming circle and New Brunswick's Pascal Lejeune. Mary Jane Lamond, accompanied by hometown Grammy-winner Gordie Sampson, sang Gaelic tunes to his Celtic strumming.
As in past years, tributes were very much a part of the show. Fiddler Colin Grant honored Cape Breton's Lee Cremo while an entire slate of fiddlers -- including JP Cormier, Ashley MacIsaac and Howie MacDonald -- honoured their friend, who also passed this year, Jerry Holland. Brenda Stubbert played the tune he composed and named after her.
Other highlights of the show included Hank Snow's song 'Movin' On' brought to life by Gordie Johnson (of Grady and Big Sugar) and Madison Violet. The Rankin Family also rocked the place -- belting out their hit 'Bump and Grind' to clapping hands and stomping feet -- just before the internationally renowned family was honoured with the Director's Special Achievement Award.
While rap winner Classified acknowledged this year's six ECMA nominations helped increase his profile, he pointed out the actual awards ceremony is a minor part of the event. "It's about the East Coast music scene, it's just so close-knit," he said. "This is like a year-ender for us. People you haven't seen in awhile, coming together and it's, well, it's about the whole thing, the whole weekend.".