Canadian Aboriginal Music Awards Announce Special Award Winners: Lifetime Contribution to Aboriginal Music, Keeper of Traditions

Canada – The Canadian Aboriginal Music Awards 2007 has named this year’s recipients of three special awards: Agnes "Axtsikayc" Edgar will be honored with the Keeper of Traditions in Aboriginal Music Award, Andrea Hansen will receive the Lifetime Contribution to Aboriginal Music Award, and Melisa Pash is this year’s Music Industry Award winner.
 The Keeper of Traditions in Aboriginal Music Award, presented to an individual dedicated to teaching Aboriginal culture through music, will be awarded to Agnes "Axtsikayc" Edgar (1896-1982). A member of the Nuxalk Nation in the Bella Coola Valley of B.C., Agnes Edgar was entrusted as a keeper of names and the community’s oral and cultural history for the next generation. Agnes Edgar is highly regarded and respected, and generally regarded as the person who bridged the gap as she entrusted the Nuxalk oral traditions to the posterity of modern recordings and worked closely with various researchers that came to the community over the years. She, along with other Elders in the community, was involved in the preservation of Nuxalk songs and dances, language, stories, and traditional plants and foods that would otherwise be lost and forgotten today.The Lifetime Contribution to Aboriginal Music Award, presented to an individual who dedicates a large part of their life and career to promoting and developing Aboriginal music, will be awarded to Andrea Hansen. A Member of the Order of Canada, Andrea Hansen started as a child prodigy on violin with her debut on the Massey Hall stage at the age of eight. In the ’50s and ’60s she and her sister performed on the Ed Sullivan Show, George Burns show, at Expo in Montreal, and with Guy Lombardo in Las Vegas. Hansen was a classical musician with the Montreal symphony for 10 years and the TSO for 20 years until she retired in 2000. She also taught children about music, values and self-respect, using a unique teaching method she developed. Hansen co-founded Strings Across the Sky (SATS), a non-profit foundation that has brought more than 300 violins to the children of remote Northern Canadian communities.
 The Music Industry Award, presented to an individual, Aboriginal or non-Aboriginal who is making or has made a significant positive impact on Canadian Aboriginal music, will be presented to Melisa Pash. Melisa Pash is from the northern Cree community of Chisasibi, Quebec, and was raised in Val d’Or. She is an accomplished musician on vocals, cello, guitar and piano who works to create bridges between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal audiences. Melisa Pash created and runs a "Protégé Program" to help young Cree musicians get a solid start in their musical careers.
 The Lifetime Contribution and Keepers of Tradition awards will be presented at the CAMA VIP Dinner and Awards on Thursday, November 29th. The Music Industry award will be handed out at the public CAMAs Gala Show, Friday, November 30 at the Rogers Centre in Toronto.
 All award winners, including the 10 awards that will be handed out at the private VIP dinner event, will be announced at the public CAMAs Gala Show on Friday November 30, at the Rogers Centre in Toronto. The CAMAs show will feature Native celebrity presenters and performances by top Aboriginal music groups from across Canada. Leading the nominations, with five each, are country music artists Donny Parenteau from Saskatchewan and Shane Yellowbird from Alberta. Also out front are Digging Roots (ON), Sandy Scofield (BC), Little Hawk (MB), Arvel Bird (ON), and Joe Byrne & Eye of Charm (ON), with nominations in three categories each.
 Tickets for the CAMAs Gala awards show Nov. 30 are $35 in advance and $40 at the door for floor seats, and $20 for grandstand seats, available through Ticketmaster at or 416-872-1111, or the local Ticketmaster number in cities across Canada.
 The Canadian Aboriginal Music Awards (CAMAs) are part of the Canadian Aboriginal Festival & Pow Wow taking place at the Rogers Centre in Toronto November 30 – December 2, 2007. Canadian Aboriginal Music Awards and Festival info is online at
 The Canadian Aboriginal Music Awards are generously sponsored by Scotiabank, Newcap Radio, Casino Rama, FACTOR, Radio Starmaker Fund, National Aboriginal Achievement Foundation, Canada Council for the Arts, Galaxie Rising Stars of CBC, EMI, Sony/BMG, P.A. Plus, KPMG, CityTV, Toronto Star and AMMSA.