The annual East
Coast Music Awards took place on February 14th at the Memorial
Stadium in St. John's, Newfoundland. The event, which showcases
artists at all stages in their careers, allows for members of
the music community to present their skills on-stage, take part
in workshops, and meet industry professionals.
"It's just like one big family," said Maureen Ennis
of the group, The
Ennis Sisters. "It gives people a chance to see music
The gala event is also good business for Newfoundland. Over
two thousand people came from all over Atlantic Canada to attend
the awards. There were foreign buyers expected from the United
States, Japan, the United Kingdom, and Nordic countries as well.
While it is too soon to tell what effect the ECMA's have had,
the hopes lean towards spreading Canadian music in the European
The Awards, which started in Halifax eleven years ago, have
grown substantially since then.
"They were originally very small," says Kathy
Phippard, singer/songwriter who has performed at the ECMA
several times. "The founder was Rob Cohen, and there were
only four volunteers."
The ECMA conference and awards ceremony first came to Newfoundland
five years ago, and have returned this year with amazing results.
"I don't think it's any surprise to say that this year
has been the best yet," said Brian Way, pianist for the
jazz band, The Dogberries.
This statement was reinforced by both Ennis and Phippard.
All agreed that the arrangement
and schedule for this year was far better than that of previous
In regards to the awards and achievements of the night, there
were few surprises. Natalie
MacMaster won Best Female Artist of the Year. And Great
Big Sea went home with Best Video for "Lukey" and
Entertainer of the Year Award, an award they've claimed four
However, the big winner of the night was Bruce
Guthro, who won five awards in all, including Best Male Artist,
Best Pop/Rock Artist, Songwriter and Single for "Fallen",
and Album of the Year for "Of Your Son."
Other awards of the night went to Rawlins
Cross for Roots/traditional--Artist/Group of the Year, The John Campbelljohn Trio
for Blues/Gospel Artist/Group of the Year, SOL
for alternative group/artist of the year and The
Kidd Brothers Children's Entertainers for Children's Artist/Group
of the Year.