Buffy Sainte-Marie, A Tribe Called Red, Alvvays, Ivan Decker, and more win early at Juno Gala Dinner and Awards

Juno Awards Gala Dinner and Awards at Vancouver Convention Centre, 3/24/18

JUNO Gala. Comedy Album of the Year winner Ivan Decker. Presented by Jeff Leake. Photo courtesy of www.junoawards.ca

Yesterday (March 24) was packed with Juno Week events as tonight’s main awards ceremony neared. Highlights included Stories from the Studio at Little Mountain Sound Studio which featured a panel discussion by nominees for both the Jack Richardson Producer of the Year and Recording Engineer of the Year. Metrotown hosted a usual favourite, the Juno Fan Fare where fans met CanCon stars and took in performances by High Valley, Jess Moskaluke, Ria Mae, Scott Helman, and Tim Hicks. And JUNOfest, which boasted 95+ artists at 13+ venues over two nights, continued all over Vancouver.

Tom Power of q hosted last night’s un-televised awards show which included performances by country group James Barker Band, rapper Clairmont the Second, roots-rocker Terra Lightfoot, electronic pop artist Iskwé, and dream-poppers Caveboy.

Although the event was untelevised, over 30 awards were given out. Buffy Sainte-Marie won Indigenous Album of the Year for Medicine Songs, A Tribe Called Red won Group of the Year, Alvvays got Alternative Album of the Year for Antisocialites, and Vancouverites bagged a couple of home field victories: Ivan Decker became the first winner of Comedy Album of the Year since 1984 for I Wanted to Be a Dinosaur, and Anciients took home Metal/Hard Music Album of the Year for Voice of the Void.

Most of last night’s awards covered genres – jazz, classical, pop, rock, blues, country, electronic, reggae, dance – but the technical side of the industry was acknowledged too with Album Artwork of the Year (Do Make Say Think), Recording Engineer of the Year (Riley Bell), Jack Richardson Producer of the Year (Diana Krall), and Video of the Year (Grimes ft. Janelle Monae).

Broadcast veteran Denise Donion received the Walt Grealis Special Achievement Award for her contributions to the Canadian music industry. Another industry leader, radio mogul and philanthropist Gary Slaight, was awarded the Humanitarian Award. “There are a lot of cheap pricks out there,” he said in a video interview with George Stroumboulopoulos. “Do they know?” Strombo asked. “Oh yeah,” Slaight replied, laughing unabashedly. Arcade Fire were honoured with International Achievement, and Jim Cuddy was recognized as the MusiCounts Inspired Minds Ambassador.

Backstage at a Q&A with winners, presenters, and speakers, Allan Reid, president and CEO of the Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, which is also the organization behind the Junos, fielded questions about CARAS and the Junos’ efforts to empower women particularly in the engineering and producing categories. One work-in-progress he cited was a technical scholarship. CARAS and the Junos have also partnered with anti-sexual harassment group Good Night Out, who are on site at Juno events all week. The future “looks good,” Reid said. “There’s a sea change happening in our world, and we at CARAS have felt this first hand.”

As for what the organizations have done to reach out to artists who were absent (most notably The Weeknd, Drake, Justin Bieber, and Alessia Cara), Reid said they’ve increased their outreach efforts which resulted in a 20% rise in submissions, the most in Juno history, and 74 first-time nominees. Most of all though, he said, “It’s all about [album] cycles and timing,” which is why Arcade Fire and Jessie Reyez are featured so prominently this year. Tom Power also pulled out a stat later in the broadcast: 41% of nominees this year are women.

When it was Buffy Sainte-Marie’s turn for questions, she expressed her desire to talk to CARAS about creating programming that addressed musical dyslexia, as she herself has an inability to read music. “Before there was music, there was music. So there might be something they’re missing.” She also spoke about the importance of disadvantaged children having access to instruments and being able to see people like themselves reflected in the media, getting honoured.

The honours were high and the social and political messages were strong at the untelevised portion of the Juno Awards. Expect them to be higher and even more potent as they’re broadcast in front of a national audience, especially following yesterday’s March for Our Lives.

Check back tomorrow night for the complete list of winners. The 2018 Juno Awards will be broadcasted live from Rogers Arena tonight at 5 pm PST on CBC, CBC Radio, and cbcmusic.ca/junos.

See the full list of winners so far below.

Vocal Jazz Album of the Year

Diana Krall – Turn Up the Quiet

Adult Contemporary Album of the Year

Michael Bublé – Nobody But Me

Jack Richardson Producer of the Year

Diana Krall – “L-O-V-E”, “Night and Day” (co-producer Tommy Lipuma)

Group of the Year

A Tribe Called Red

Classical Album of the Year: Large Ensemble

Jan Lisiecki with NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchester – Chopin: Works for Piano & Orchestra

Humanitarian Award

Gary Slaight

Contemporary Roots Album of the Year

Bruce Cockburn – Bone on Bone

Video of the Year

Grimes ft. Janelle Monae – “Venus Fly”

Reggae Recording of the Year

Kirk Diamond – Greater

International Album of the Year

Kendrick Lamar – DAMN.

Dance Recording of the Year

Nick Fiorucci ft. Laurell – “Closer”

Breakthrough Group of the Year

The Beaches

Classical Album of the Year: Solo or Chamber

Janina Fialkowska – Chopin Recital 3

Instrumental Album of the Year

Do Make Say Think – Stubborn Persistent Illusions

Comedy Album of the Year

Ivan Decker – I Wanted to Be a Dinosaur

Contemporary Christian/Gospel Album of the Year

The Color – First Day of My Life

Metal/Hard Album of the Year

Anciients – Voice of the Void

MusiCounts Inspired Minds Ambassador Award

Jim Cuddy

Classical Composition of the Year

Jocelyn Morlock – “My Name is Amanda Todd”

Classical Album of the Year: Vocal or Choral

Barbara Hannigan with Ludwig Orchestra – Crazy Girl Crazy

World Music Album of the Year

Kobo Town – Where the Galleon Sank

Recording Engineer of the Year

Riley Bell – “Get You” (Daniel Caesar ft. Kali Uchis), “We Find Love” (Daniel Caesar)

Blues Album of the Year

MonkeyJunk – Time to Roll

International Achievement Award

Arcade Fire

Adult Alternative Album of the Year

Gord Downie – Introduce Yerself

Children’s Album of the Year

Fred Penner – Hear the Music

Traditional Roots Album of the Year

The Dead South – Illusion & Doubt

Jazz Album of the Year: Solo

Mike Downes – Root Structure

Album Artwork of the Year

Marianne Collins (Art Director & Illustrator), Ian Ilavsky (Designer), Steve Farmer (Photographer) – Stubborn Persistent Illusions (Do Make Say Think)

Jazz Album of the Year: Group

David Braid, Mike Murley, Anders Mogensen & Johnny Aman – The North

Electronic Album of the Year

Rezz – Mass Manipulation

Walt Grealis Special Achievement Award

Denise Donion

Alternative Album of the Year

Alvvays – Antisocialites

Indigenous Music Album of the Year

Buffy Sainte-Marie – Medicine Songs

Francophone Album of the Year

Daniel Bélanger – Paloma

Songwriter of the Year

Gord Downie & Kevin Drew – “A Natural”, “Introduce Yerself”, “The North”

Single of the Year

Shawn Mendes – “There’s Nothing Holdin’ Me Back”

Rock Album of the Year

The Glorious Sons – Young Beauties and Fools

Country Album of the Year

James Barker Band – Game On

Pop Album of the Year

Lights – Skin & Earth

Leslie Ken Chu

Leslie Ken Chu

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