Tonight was my first Canadian Folk Music Awards and definitely not my last. The organizers who pour their hearts and souls into staging this event deserve to be congratulated for their work – anyone who’s ever organized anything of this size knows what it takes to make it happen, and happen it did.

Performance highlights included the remarkable April Verch, fiddler, singer. dancer, and equally on this night, quick-witted presenter. Another act that had tongues wagging was the Toronto-based Fado Blues duo Catarina Cardeal & Mike Siracusa – see them if you get the chance, they are absolutely for real.

Among the winners present were double-winner Chris McKhool (solo and Sultans of String), The Good Lovelies, James Hill, Colette Cheverie, Don Amero (who rocked the after party along with Romi Mayes), Tony McManus, Madison Violet, Susan Crowe, and Catherine MacLellan; it is super cool for these folks and other nominees to make the commitment to attend the CFMA’s at the considerable risk of time and money, win or lose. It makes all the difference in the world when an acceptance speech is delivered, and it warms the heart to see the genuine joy expressed through winners’ words and body language.

Finally, what a joy it was to hang out with Shelagh Rogers, a fabulous M/C (with Benoit Bourque), funny, thoroughly professional, and even played the fiddle at the end of the night. Stay tuned for exclusive video interviews with many of the winners on rootsmusic.ca

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