Folk Alliance International has announced Tanya Tagaq as its 2019 keynote speaker. The conference will take place February 13-17 in Montreal, Canada.
She is an acclaimed Inuk throat singer from Cambridge Bay, Nunavut, in the Canadian Arctic who uses delightful, surprising vocal improvisations that connect traditional roots with contemporary culture.
Tanya is a
2014 Polaris Prize-winning recording artist (Animism), author of a 2018
Scotiabank Giller Prize longlisted novel (Split Tooth), an actress, a painter,
and has collaborated extensively with Bjork, Kronos Quartet, Shooglenifty, and
the Toronto Symphony Orchestra.
recipient of multiple Juno Awards (Canada’s top music award) and a Canadian
Folk Music Award, her work concentrates on topics ranging from food sovereignty
and environmental issues to the plight of women and indigenous peoples.
Tagaq is a
mother of two and a Member of the Order of Canada, one of the country’s highest
Singer, songwriter and musician Bonnie Raitt has earned the Folk Alliance International’s 2018 People’s Voice Award. Presented annually, the award is intended to honor individuals who endeavor to take on social or political activism in conjunction with their artistic careers, as with 2017’s winner Canadian singer, songwriter and musician Bruce Cockburn who has highlighted issues like the environment, human rights and politics through his music.
Championing environmental issues since the 1970s, Ms. Raitt has spoken out against the oil and gas industries and is a founding member of MUSE (Musicians United for Safe Energy), as well as called for the protection of forests and fought for clean water. As an advocate for The Guacamole Fund, Ms. Raitt aids non-profit organizations working to the goals of sustainable energy forms and environmental protections.
Known also for her political activism and her humanitarianism for help for victims of the 2004 southeast Asia tsunami, Ms Raitt has also been a champion to the Little Kids Rock organization that provides free musical instrument to children and helped finance memorial headstones for musicians like Dick Waterman, Memphis Minnie, Sam Chatmon and Tommy Johnson.
The award honoring individuals and organizations promoting and preserving folk music, Folk Alliance International has handed out one of its 2018 Spirit of Folk Awards to Welsh songwriter Martyn Joseph.
Mr. Joseph, having more than thirty studio and live recordings to his name like Nobody’s Fool (1984), Tangled Souls (1998), Run to Cover (2004) and Faith, Folk & Anarchy Live (2004), is also known for his fierce activism. He has supported causes such as Movimento dos Trabalhadores Sem Terra, Amnesty International, Christian Aid, Casa Alianza and in 2014 launched his own “Let Yourself Trust,” a nonprofit organization advocating for human rights and righting social injustice.
Composer, musician and record executive Kristian Blak of the Faroe Islands has earned a spot on this year’s round of Spirit of Folk Awards handed out by Folk Alliance International to honor those promoting and preserving folk music traditions.
With solo recordings Ravnating (1991), Harra Pætur og Elinbor (1992), Klæmint Tutl (1999), Snjóuglan (2005) and Úr Holminum (2005) to his credit, Mr. Blak is also the founder of the Nordic ensemble Yggdrasil.
Composer of instrumental music, chamber music, choral music and symphonic music, Mr. Blak has also incorporated the sounds of the Faroe Islands, going to far as to offering concerts in caves or other natural concert halls. In addition, he is also chief executive offer of the Faroe Islands record label Tutl which has taken a leadership role in the preserving Faroese folk music.
Honoring individuals and organizations promoting and preserving folk music, Folk Alliance International has handed out one of its 2018 Spirit of Folk Awards to Betsy Siggins, a prevailing force behind the Cambridge folk music community.
Ms. Siggins was a founding member of Club 47, where the likes of Joan Baez, Jim Kwesking and Eric von Schmidt lent their talents to the folk revival movement. She would later go on to lend a helping hand to other nonprofits such as the Festival of American Folklife with Ralph Rinzler.
For more than 12 years, Ms. Siggins has served Club 47’s successor Club Passim as executive director and has helped establish and mentor such nonprofit organizations as Culture for Kids, and after-school program, the Passim School of Music and the Passim Archives. A founder of the New England Folk Music Archives and Folk New England, Ms. Siggins continues her promotion and preservation of folk music.
Folk Alliance International has named singer, songwriter and musician Anaïs Mitchell one of its 2018 Spirit of Folk Award recipients. Presented to those people or organizations furthering the cause of supporting and preserving folk music, the 2017 honorees of the Spirit of Folk Awards include Michelle Conceison, Barbara Dane, SONiA disappear fear, Ramy Essam, Chloe Goodyear and Si Khan.
Ms. Mitchell’s discography includes The Song They Sang…When Rome Fell (2002), Hyms for the Exiled (2004), The Brightness (2007), Young Man in America (2012), xoa (2014) and her Depression-era folk opera Hadestown (2010) with guest musicians Ani DiFranco, Justin Vernon of Bon Iver, Greg Brown and Ben Knox Miller. Hadestown was turned into an off-Broadway production in 2016 with the New York Theatre Workshop.
Ms. Mitchell also earned a 2003 New Folk Award at the Kerrville Folk Festival and was nominated in 2008 for the Contemporary Artist at the Folk Alliance Awards.
This year’s 2018 Clearwater Award, honoring festivals who rise to the challenge of environmental stewardship and sustainable event production, goes to the Winnipeg Folk Festival, taking over from last year’s winner the Croton-on-Hudson, NY Clearwater Festival.
Founded in 1974, the four-day Manitoba, Canada based Winnipeg Folk Festival has earned its honors by way of its “leave no trace” principle and its commitment to continuing environmental sustainability by way of practice and deed, earning the first ever festival spot on Canada’s The Eco-Logo Program. The festival has also earned a Fair Trade certification and awarded a Greener Festival Award for its commitment to sustainability. By way of a bottled water ban, a compostable products mandate for food vendors and commitment to a bike ride sharing program to get fans to the site, the Winnipeg Folk Festival has blazed a sustainable path to this year’s award.
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