Unsung hero Jane Harbury

We at Roots Music Canada are delighted that our friend and colleague Jane Harbury (a.k.a. Riverboat Jane) has been chosen as the first ever recipient of the CFMA “Unsung Hero” award.

Jane, a Toronto publicist with a deep and enduring committment to roots music, will receive her award during the SEVENTH ANNUAL CFMAs at the Isabel Bader Theatre, Toronto on Sunday, December 4th. The awards will also be broadcast live at RootsMusic.ca .

The new annual Unsung Hero award recognizes the exceptional contribution of an individual, group, or organization to any aspect of the Canadian folk, roots and world music scene, such as performance, promotion and presentation. Nominations for this category were accepted from the public and Harbury was selected by a jury from the region where the awards will take place – in this case, for 2011, Central Canada (which includes Ontario, Quebec and Nunavut).

Jane Harbury’s involvement with the music industry began in the late 1960s when she took on several roles, including manager of the well-known Yorkville coffee house The Riverboat, personal assistant to record producer Brian Ahern, and booking contact for Eastern Sound; the leading Toronto recording studio at that time. Jane has worked tirelessly to promote artists and events since founding her own publicity company in the ‘80s. Some of her clients over the years include Lhasa, Ian Tyson, Penny Lang, Tom Rush, Eric Andersen, the Chieftains, Ken Whiteley, James Keelaghan and David Francey.

For someone whose list of contributions to the scene, and to numerous worthy causes, is as long as her arm, Jane was typically modest and good-humoured about receiving the award. “I was incredibly honoured to have my name submitted for this inaugural award. I always tell my artists that the nomination is more important than winning, and though I found out that being nominated is pretty sweet, there’s nothing like being proclaimed an award winner!!”

As our friend Richard Carson, owner and operator of the popular Toronto venue Hugh’s Room, says, “Jane Harbury is, and has been, a key contributor to folk music and all music in Canada.”

We couldn’t agree more. We believe Jane Harbury practically defines the passion that keeps our scene alive and thriving, and we at Roots Music Canada would love to lead the ovation in celebrating this wonderful acknowledgment of all her contributions.

And we know the community will join with us in saying “Congratulations Jane – we love you, and keep up the great work!”

Enjoy these interviews with Jane from the Roots Music Canada archives:

Reflections: Riverboat Jane, Part 1

Reflections: Riverboat Jane, Part 2

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  1. avatar
    Emma Julien 24 November, 2011 at 16:12

    I think it’s safe to speak for everyone here at JHP (myself and feline assistants Ahmose, Sparkie and Chance) and say that we are VERY VERY VERY proud of our Jane!!! Thank you CFMAs and Roots Music Canada for recognizing Jane’s continued dedication to this community.

    PS Jane doesn’t know I’m writing this and will probably never notice bwahaha

  2. avatar
    Richard Flohil 24 November, 2011 at 16:27

    I can’t think of anyone who deserves this more – Jane’s contributions to folk and roots music go way, way back — and everything she does she does with class, honestly, open-ness and a degree of kindness that’s rare indeed. I’m her biggest fan, and I’m delighted for her… (er, Jane, no Irish jokes please!)


  3. avatar
    Geneviève 26 November, 2011 at 12:09

    Jane was the first ever person in Toronto to give a chance to the Montreal-based singer-songwriter that I manage. Her Discovery Night at Hugh’s Room is in our nice memories in Ian’s carreer.
    Heart and soul and passion and ears… everything you want in someone doing what Jane does. Thank you for everything and warm congrats from Montreal!

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