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BRUCE COCKBURN > Award Presentation

Crowing Ignites – Canadian Folk Music Award

13 March 2021 – Eric Alper PR Roster Gets 12 Canadian Folk Music Award Noms: Bruce Cockburn, Crystal Shawanda, Sultans Of String, Craig Cardiff + More

The Canadian Folk Music Awards celebrates its 16th edition, with a roster of nominations that celebrates the breadth and depth of Canadian folk music, and Eric Alper Public Relations and its clients and extended family celebrates the talent of artists and musicians across Canada.

Established by Canada’s vibrant and internationally-recognized folk music community, the awards currently boasts 19 categories. Nominees are chosen for each category through a two-stage jury process. More than 100 jurors, located across Canada, representing all official provinces, territories and languages, determine the official recipients in each category.

The 16th edition of the Canadian Folk Music Awards Celebration will take place online again this year, and will present all 19 Awards, plus the Unsung Hero Award bringing the total to 20 Awards, virtually, over the weekend of April 9-10, 2021.

Contemporary Album of the Year: Coyote by Catherine MacLellan, Contemporary Singer of the Year: Catherine MacLellan for Coyote

Ensemble of the Year: Sultans of String for Refuge, Indigenous Songwriter(s) of the Year: Crystal Shawanda for Church House Blues

Instrumental Solo artist of the Year:Natalie MacMaster for Sketches, Producer(s) of the Year: Chris McKhool & John ‘Beetle’ Bailey for Refuge (Sultans of String)

Single of the Year: Yellowknife by Craig Cardiff (Producer: Craig Cardiff), Solo Artist of the Year: Catherine MacLellan for Coyote

Traditional Album of the Year: Crowing Ignites by Bruce Cockburn, The Lost Tapes by Ian & Sylvia

Traditional Singer of the Year: Kevin Harvey for Hand Me Down Blues, World Album of the Year: Patria by/par Mazacote

Credit: That Eric Alper.



Bruce Cockburn reflects on his career during CSHF plaque ceremony at Studio Bell, home of National Music Centre

by Eric Volmers – Calgary Herald

Bruce Cockburn CSHF plaque NMC - photo_Darren Makowichuk-Postmedia
Bruce Cockburn presented a plaque to honour his induction into the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame on Sunday at Studio Bell, home of the National Music Centre. DARREN MAKOWICHUK/Postmedia

January 22, 2018 – Bruce Cockburn is not in the habit of listening to his old songs. But he did find a unique way to review his canon of music a few years back.

It was when he drove his daughter to preschool in San Francisco. He became his own captive audience.

“She would always insist on hearing my stuff in the car,” said Cockburn, talking to media on Sunday evening at Studio Bell, home of the National Music Centre. “‘Can we put on your music in the car?’ Every day this would repeat itself. ‘Do we have to? Can I not play somebody else?’ Nope. So I’d play me. It’s like looking at an album of snapshots in a way. It brings back all the feelings. Not all of the details, some of those are lost to the murk of time. But, certainly, that brings back the feelings that went into those songs.”

Cockburn was in a bit of a reflective mood Sunday evening at the National Music Centre, where he participated in the plaque ceremony held in honour of his 2017 induction into the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame. It found him placing his plaque on the wall, which already holds the names of artists such as Leonard Cohen, Hank Snow, Joni Mitchell and Wilf Carter.

  • Vanessa Thomas- National Music Centre - Bruce Cockburn - CSHF - Andrew Mosker

Now housed at the National Music Centre alongside the Canadian Music Hall of Fame and the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame, the organization is overseen by the Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada (SOCAN). The honour seems long overdue. Somehow SOCAN managed to find more than 50 songsmiths to induct before honouring Cockburn — a songwriter’s songwriter who wrote If I Had a Rocket Launcher and Lovers in a Dangerous Time — this year, alongside Neil Young, Beau Dommage and Stéphane Venne.

But he was gracious and had high praise for his fellow songwriters from the Great White North.

“I think Canada punches well above its weight in terms of the quality of songwriting that comes out of this country relative to the size of the population,” said Cockburn, who will play the Jack Singer Concert Hall on Tuesday night. “When you think how much we were influenced by English pop music in the ’60s and American pop music forever, there’s a lot of American pop music that is actually Canadian. And a lot of it that is not pop but has more serious intent than what often gets called pop music comes from here and I’m proud of that.”


Handwritten lyrics by Bruce Cockburn part of National Music Centre exhibit

by Eric Volmers
Updated: December 13, 2017

Music Museum - NAC - Adam Fox - photo Darren Makowichuk/Postmedia
Music Museum – NAC – Adam Fox – photo Darren Makowichuk/Postmedia

It’s a small battered notebook, filled with scribbled lines, multiple revisions and the frayed edge of a page that has been mysteriously ripped out.

It also represents the inner workings of one of Canada’s most beloved songwriters and the early glimmers of one of his most beloved songs. Bruce Cockburn’s handwritten lyrics for Lovers in a Dangerous Time are currently on display as part of The National Music Centre’s temporary exhibit in Studio Bell to honour Cockburn’s 2017 induction into the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame.

“You can see things have been scratched out and ideas are written around,” says Adam Fox, director of programs for the National Music Centre. “You can almost get a sense of their compositional method; just how they are crossing things out and putting things in different order.”

Bruce Cockburn notebook - photo Darren Makowichuk/Postmedia
Bruce Cockburn notebook – If A Tree Fa;lls – photo Darren Makowichuk/Postmedia

The notebook, which also includes handwritten lyrics for Cockburn’s politically charged hit If I Had a Rocket Launcher, is on display, as is his lyrics from 1988s If A Tree Falls. They are both on loan from McMaster University, where many of the songwriter’s archives have been housed since he donated them in 2013.

The temporary exhibit, which will be on display on the fifth floor of Studio Bell until the fall of 2018, celebrates a new batch of inductees to the Canadian Songwriter’s Hall of Fame and the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame. Both now have a physical home at the National Music Centre, as does the Canadian Music Hall of Fame.

Continue reading Calgary Herald article

Bruce Cockburn guitar signed - NMC -photo Madison McSweeney
Bruce Cockburn’s signed guitar on display National Music Centre – photo Madison McSweeney
Bruce Cockburn guitar signed - NMC -photo Madison McSweeney
Bruce Cockburn’s signed guitar on display National Music Centre – photo Madison McSweeney
Bruce Cockburn notebook Lovers in a Dangerous Time - NMC - photo Madison McSweeney
Bruce Cockburn notebook Lovers in a Dangerous Time – NMC – photo Madison McSweeney

Bruce Cockburn inducted into the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame-including his speech

On Saturday September 23, 2017 Bruce Cockburn along with Neil Young, the group Beau Dommage, and Stéphane Venne were inducted into the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame.

Scroll to the end for Bruce’s acceptance speech in his own hand.


14 January 2018 – This is the short film biography that was shown on the big screens during the celebration.

Published to YouTube by: Matt Zimbel – What an honour to tell this man’s story. Writer / Producer MZ, Editor Hugh John Murray, Voice Over, Olaf Gundel.


(The following is from Billboard article by Karen Bliss)

The impact of four life-changing Canadian songwriters — Neil Young, Bruce Cockburn, the group Beau Dommage, and Stéphane Venne — was the common thread at the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame (CSHF) induction ceremony over the weekend at Toronto’s Massey Hall, where professional musicians of all ages — and one former astronaut — expressed their respect and gratitude for their music.

Stéphane Venne - Buffy Saint-Marie - Neil Young - Bruce Cockburn - Randy Bachman - photo Tom Sandler
Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame – Stéphane Venne – Buffy Saint-Marie – Neil Young – Bruce Cockburn – Randy Bachman – photo Tom Sandler – 2017

This was the first induction ceremony in six years. The CSHF was created by music publisher Frank Davies in 1998; the inaugural gala was held in 2003 with six more to follow. The Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers (SOCAN) purchased it in December 2011 and has been working to update the brand and educate the public about its inductees and mandate.

The historic Massey Hall, which opened in 1894, was the perfect setting for such esteemed honorees. Both Young and Cockburn have recorded live albums there and the late Jonathan Demme’s final doc on the folk-rocker, 2011’s Neil Young Journeys, culminates in two performances at Massey. It’s a venue many Toronto artists dream of headlining — our Carnegie Hall.

The four-hour show, which ran an hour over schedule, was a bilingual affair, giving equal time to the two Quebecois legends, even if, truth be told, many of the Anglophones in the audience found their own grade-school French studies proved absolutely useless. Each artist was feted with covers of their songs and stories about their influence, plus the customary tribute video.

The evening began with an cappella group Eh440 singing and beat-boxing Cockburn’s “Lovers In A Dangerous Time” from the back of the hall, down the aisle to the stage, right past the songwriter himself, as well as Neil Young with “true love” Daryl Hannah; Buffy Sainte-Marie sitting next to Randy Bachman; Venne, and members of Beau Dommage.

Continue reading article from Billboard

(Excerpt from David Friend’s article on CTVnews.ca)

A performance of Cockburn’s “If I Had a Rocket Launcher” by Blackie and the Rodeo Kings added another notch to the political tone of the event. Lisa LeBlanc joined them for Wondering Where the Lions Are.

Blackie & the Rodeo Kings - CSHF2017 - photo Gary Craig
Blackie & the Rodeo Kings – CSHF2017 – photo Gary Craig

There was also a performance by William Prince & Elisapie Isaac covering “Stolen Land” and Hawksley Workman & Don Ross covering “Silver Wheels”.

It was followed by Buffy Sainte-Marie who offered her perspective on the songwriter’s career as she introduced him onto the stage.

“Bruce is an agitator, an activist, a protester,” she said.

He writes “words that move the needle of public opinion” and that “shine the light on injustices,” Sainte-Marie added.

And here is Bruce’s handwritten speech:

Bruce Cockburn - Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame speech 2017 -pdf

To view above speech in standard pdf viewer click here.


Here’s the text version:

Thank you, Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame. Thank you SOCAN.

I spend so much time playing and singing my own songs — it’s very interesting, very moving, to hear them performed by others! And on an occasion like this — to be so honored in the company of these wonderful artists.

I’ve been at my craft for a long time — long enough that the beginning seems like yesterday.

Under the influence of those who were a bit quicker on the draw than me, Bob Dylan, Gordon Lightfoot, Buffy Sainte-Marie among others, I was seduced away from the pursuit of an education in jazz composition by songs…creations that combined music with something like poetry.

Though I didn’t understand it at the time, I came to realize that art, including the art of songwriting, is about sharing the human experience. Music is a spiritual bonding agent, a means of sharing deep feelings of all times. When you add words, the sharing becomes pointed — specific. A song can offer inspiration, distraction, solace, solidarity – a sense that we are not alone in our feelings. The human ability to create songs is precious and vital. We have always done it and I think we always will — the artifice of machines (and ISIS) not withstanding.

I’m immensely grateful to have been allowed to live a life centered around songwriting. And immensely grateful for the attention my efforts have received. To be able to do this and make a living at it is truly a great gift.

Re “Making a living at it,” I want to offer a word of thanks to Bernie Finkelstein, my friend and long-time manager, from whose asute ears and talent for strategizing I have benefited greatly. So too, all the excellent producers and musicians I have worked with, some of whom are here tonight, who have helped give my raw material the power to appeal to the world at large.

In a world increasingly defined by its fakery, we’ve together pulled off the greatest trick ever — we spread truth.

Cheers All!

CSHF 2017 Bruce Cockburn & Buffy Sainte-Marie - photo Tom Sandler
Bruce Cockburn & Buffy Sainte-Marie – CSHF 2017- photo Tom Sandler

Related Posts:
22 January 2018 – Bruce Cockburn reflects on his career – Plaque ceremony at Studio Bell
31 January 2018 – Video Studio Bell – Bruce Cockburn on writing songs and rhythms



Folk Alliance People’s Voice Acceptance Speech – video

Bruce Cockburn received the inaugural Folk Alliance International People’s Voice Award during the opening-night awards ceremony at the organization’s 29th annual conference in Kansas City, Mo.

Bruce Cockburn Peoples Voice Award presented by Kris Kristofferson - photo Andrea Brookhart
Bruce Cockburn & Kris Kristofferson – photo Andrea Brookhart

Here’s the video of Bruce giving his acceptance speech:

[direct link]

[click through for the transcript and more photos]


‘Keep singing’: Bruce Cockburn calls on folk artists to push for free speech

by David Friend, The Canadian Press

Folk singer Bruce Cockburn is encouraging U.S. musicians to keep pushing for free speech under the Donald Trump administration.

While accepting an honour at the Folk Alliance International awards show in Kansas City, Mo. on Wednesday night he took a moment to address the volatile political climate.

Bruce Bockburn & Kris Kristofferson - photo CANADIAN PRESS HO BrianHetherman
photo CANADIAN PRESS HO Brian Hetherman

“It seems evident that the current administration is not much interested in democracy,” he said in prepared remarks.

“They are trying to stifle opposition across the board by a range of means. Looks to me like they’re just getting started.”

The Canadian singer, who lives in San Francisco, then urged musicians to be a catalyst for dialogue and debate.

“We may get tired, but we have to keep singing,” he said.

Country singer Kris Kristofferson presented Cockburn with the People’s Voice Award in recognition of his role in social and political commentary. His 1984 track “If I Had a Rocket Launcher” is widely considered a staple of activist music.

Cockburn reflected on his experiences as a young performer during the Vietnam War, and on later years when he found his voice during the U.S. presidency of Ronald Reagan in the 1980s.

He then turned to the current U.S. political climate and told songwriters to consider their music as more than just words, but a “focal point for collective energy” of the community.

“Doesn’t mean we can’t sing love songs,” Cockburn reasoned.

“But if you think you can keep your head down and ignore the political side of things, it’s liable to be waiting for you with a blackjack in the alley when you come out the stage door.

Credit: MontrealGazette.com
Photo: Bruce Cockburn, left, accepts his People’s Voice Award for his role in social and political commentary from country singer Kris Kristofferson at the Folk Alliance International awards show, in Kansas City, Mo., on February 15, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Brian Hetherman, *MANDATORY CREDIT*

Related Articles:


Bruce Cockburn to Receive People’s Voice Award

Folk Alliance International to Launch People’s Voice and Clearwater Awards
Posted by: Jerod Rivers

11 January 2017 – As part of a permanent commitment to honoring the socially-conscious roots of folk music, Folk Alliance International (FAI) will launch two new awards during the 2016 International Folk Music Awards show.The People’s Voice Award will be presented annually to an individual who has unabashedly embraced and committed to social and political commentary in their creative work and folk music career. The Clearwater Award will be presented annually to a festival that prioritizes environmental stewardship and demonstrates public leadership in education and sustainable event production. Additional awards include Lifetime Achievement, Spirit of Folk, and Album, Song, and Artist of the Year presented on Wednesday, February 15, 2017, at the Westin Crown Center in Kansas City, Missouri.

Folk Alliance International Awards Show
Wednesday, February 15, 2017, 6 pm
Westin Crown Center Hotel, Century C Ballroom
Kansas City, Missouri USA
Open to FAI conference delegates and registered members of the press.

Bruce Cockburn

Bruce Cockburn to Receive People’s Voice Award

The inaugural People’s Voice award will be presented to multi-platinum recording artist Bruce Cockburn, whose 40-year career has consistently highlighted environmental, social, and indigenous issues globally.

Bruce Cockburn has been all over the world to Mozambique, Nepal, Vietnam, Baghdad, Nicaragua, and Guatemala to protest refugee camps, landmines, and Third World debt. He has been tirelessly vocal in support of native rights, the environment, the promotion of peace, and has highlighted the work of Oxfam, the UN Summit for Climate Control, Amnesty International, Doctors Without Borders, and Friends of the Earth.

His songs “Mines of Mozambique” from album The Charity of Night, “Stolen Land” (Waiting For A Miracle), and “If a Tree Falls” (Big Circumstance) have traveled the globe providing context for some of the world’s biggest issues of the day, while exhorting to all who listen for engagement with our shared humanity.

In over 300 songs on 30 albums that range from folk to jazz-influenced rock, he has sold more than seven million records worldwide and prolifically captured the story of the human experience through protest, romance, spiritual searching, and politics. In an interview with Rolling Stone in 1985, after observing the horrors of refugee camps along the Guatemalan-Mexican border he shared that he went back to his hotel room, cried, and wrote in his notebook, “I understand now why people want to kill.” The experience led him to write “If I Had A Rocket Launcher” from the album Stealing Fire.

Cockburn is the recipient of 13 Juno Awards, the Allan Waters Humanitarian Award, nine honorary doctorates, the Governor General’s Performing Arts Award for Lifetime Artistic Achievement, and the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal. He has been inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame, and is an Officer of the Order of Canada. Pacing the Cage, a documentary film about his life, music, and politics was released in 2013. His memoir, Rumours of Glory, was published by Harper Collins in 2014.

“We can’t settle for things as they are,” Cockburn has warned. “If you don’t tackle the problems, they’re going to get worse.”


Bruce Cockburn, Colin Linden play Canadian Folk Music Awards gala

Bruce will be doing a couple of numbers at the Canadian Folk Music Awards in Toronto on December 3. ~ Bernie Finkelstein

Oct 27, 2016 – The Canadian Folk Music Awards, now in its 12th year, are coming to Toronto, Ontario from December 2-3, 2016. The 72 talented artist nominees for the 2016 CFMA were recently announced at Toronto City Hall and hail from Canadian provinces and territories from coast-to-coast-to-coast. This year’s gala event is taking place at the Isabel Bader Theatre, 93 Charles St West in downtown Toronto on Saturday, December 3, 2016.

The gala is hosted, in both official languages, by award-winning musicians Jean Hewson and Benoit Bourque (La Bottine Souriante) and is open to the public. Tickets for the gala are $45 (plus a $2 processing fee) and are available here.
http://uofttix.ca/view.php?id=1287
Doors open at 7 p.m. for the event.

The Canadian Folk Music Awards are pleased to announce the 2016 gala line-up, which includes prolific Canadian songwriter Bruce Cockburn. His achievements and decorations include being an Officer of the Order of Canada, an inductee of the Canadian Music Hall of Fame, 13 Juno Awards, 24 Gold and Platinum records, the Governor General’s Performing Arts Award for Lifetime Achievement, numerous honorary doctorates, and the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal.

Award-winning guitarist, producer and singer Colin Linden also graces the CFMA performer line-up. The founding member of Blackie and the Rodeo Kings has had an exceptional career, releasing numerous albums with the band, as well as several solo albums. He has also produced and shepherded many upcoming musical talents. Since 2012, the iconic man in the black hat has been the Music Director on the hit TV show Nashville.

Juno Award-winning trio and CCMA nominated sisters from Newfoundland, The Ennis Sisters, bring their beautiful vocal harmonies to the line-up. Past CFMA winners and 2016 nominees The Sultans of String join the gala line-up, adding a view of worldly folk; their music merges Celtic and Cuban, flamenco and Gypsy-jazz, Arabic and South Asian in one delirious musical swell. Winnipeg folk trio Red Moon Road return from a rigorous European tour to join the gala line-up, adding some forward-thinking folk live performance to the proceedings. Quebec folk multi-instrumentalist Klô Pelgag adds some quirky excitement to the gala line-up (and possibly large scale fruit costumes.)

Along with the gala awards event, the weekend features two open-to-the-public musical showcase concerts. On Friday, December 2, 2016 from 8 p.m. – 11 p.m. at Hugh’s Room (2261 Dundas Street West, Toronto) the evening features CFMA 2016 nominees Jocelyn Pettit, The Small Glories, Hillsburn, Beppe Gambetta & Tony McManus, Old Man Luedecke and Élage Diouf. A brunch showcase concert happens Saturday, December 3, 2016 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Hugh’s Room (2261 Dundas Street West, Toronto) and features 2016 CFMA nominees Rosie & the Riveters, The Andrew Collins Trio, Keltie Monaghan, William Prince, Ten Strings and a Goat Skin. Both showcases at Hugh’s Room are $29 in advance via hughsroom.com and $32.50 at the door.

The CFMA will hand out twenty awards throughout the gala evening. Nominations for the CFMA were announced this September at Toronto City Hall during the second annual #NationalStrum, celebrating folk music across Canada. Born from a pool of volunteers deeply invested in the wealth and breadth of folk talent in Canada, the CFMA celebrate all genres of folk music from across Canada. Well known for having a vibrant culture of folk festivals, folk traditions and folk values, the country comes together for a weekend of celebration.

Canadian artists and groups whose albums were released in Canada between June 15, 2015 to June 14, 2016 were eligible to submit their work. The CFMA currently boast 19 categories and one special achievement award. For the category awards, five nominees are chosen for each category. A two stage jury process by 95 jurors located across Canada, representing all official provinces, territories and languages determine the official winners in each category. Complete eligibility requirements are listed here: http://folkawards.ca/eligibility/

Credit: That Eric Alper

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