Yellowknife-based musician Carmen Braden was recognized for the second year in a row by the Western Canadian Music Alliance (WCMA) as she reclaimed the Classical Composer of the Year award this week.

The announcement, which took place at an awards ceremony to kick off the annual BreakOut West music conference gave a nod to Braden’s classical composition work as she tied with Vancouver-based composer Stephen Chatman. Other artists nominated in the same category included B.C. artists Chatman, Dorothy Chang and Marcus Goddard, as well as Alberta’s Vincent Ho.

Braden posted a statement on Facebook following the Sept. 25 announcement, expressing her elation.

“Tonight was the announcement of the Western Canadian Music Awards at BreakOut West and I am so happy to share that I have been awarded Classical Composer of the Year along with Stephen Chatman!” she said. “Thank you so much to WCMAs for recognizing my work and congratulations to all the winners and nominees (especially the nominees in my category: Marcus Goddard, Dorothy Chang and Vincent Ho).”

Braden also won the composer of the year  last year when the awards ceremony was held in Whitehorse.

Trevor Sinclair, president of Music NWT, said Braden’s win, in addition to honourable mentions that went to Leela Gilday and Priscilla’s Revenge, is proof that it’s possible to develop a music career in the North.

“It certainly shows we have great talent here in the NWT that is being recognized by our peers in Western Canada,” he said. “To me it shows we have a very viable and strong industry that we can keep building upon.”

Sinclair said he hopes Braden’s win can serve as an inspiration for other artists building their careers and can see the WCMA as an avenue to grow.

The WCMA is a group created by music industry associations – including Music NWT – and similar organizations from British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba and Yukon. The alliance aims to give recognition to musical artists across Western Canada.

To win, musicians must submit their works to the alliance for consideration and a jury reviews all of the works before selecting nominees.

Music NWT’s membership fees with the WCMA are funded by the Government of the Northwest Territories’ Department of Industry, Tourism and Investment as well as the Foundation Assisting Canadian Talent on Recordings (FACTOR).

“Congratulations to all the nominees and winners of this year’s WCMAs,” stated Duncan McKie, president and CEO of the FACTOR in a news release. “At a time when many things feel uncertain, the importance of celebrating each other’s achievements is more important than ever.”

Simon Whitehouse

Simon Whitehouse came to Yellowknife to work with Northern News Services in 2011. Simon obtained his journalism education at Algonquin College and the University of Ottawa. Simon can be reached at...

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