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Truro Daily News – East Coast Music Awards back to Sydney

Well-known singer and member of the Rankin Family, Heather Rankin pretty much brought the house down when she told people attending a press conference in Sydney on Tuesday about how she felt about East Coast Music Week returning to Cape Breton from April 13-17.

For Rankin, who will host the main awards show on April 14 with Ashley MacIsaac, the East Coast Music Awards were pivotal in advancing the successful careers of Rankin Family members.

“It provided a platform to showcase our music and helped us garner credibility in the rest of the country while attracting the attention of major record labels,” said Rankin. “And the rest they say is history. So I’ll always be very grateful to the ECMAs.”

Rankin told the audience she remembered attending some of the first shows, when they were known as the Maritime Music Awards and seeing a young Sarah McLachlan perform.

“That’s well over 25 years ago,” she said.

“Over the years I witnessed this important music event grow and evolve. The ECMA continues to foster the talents of what I believe to be this country’s brightest and most eclectic music artists. So I look forward to returning in April to hook up with Ashley MacIsaac to host, perform and to celebrate all the wonderful music that has come out of this region this past year.”

This year, Cape Breton musicians and music industry stalwarts mustered 11 music and fan choice award nominations and 10 industry award nominations for a total of 21. New Brunswick received 24 nominations; Newfoundland and Labrador, 37; Nova Scotia, 98; and Prince Edward Island received 18.

Among those nominated were the members of Pretty Archie, who received their first nomination ever for best country album for their most recent work, “North End Sky.” They also got to perform at the press conference and member Colin Gillis, who plays bass and harmonica, said he was thrilled.

“It’s very exciting, it’s humbling — we’re overjoyed,” said Gillis. “We’re so proud to be from Cape Breton and the East Coast, so to get recognized like this by the ECMAS, which to us is the best, the cream of the crop, is a pretty amazing feeling for sure. This is our very first nomination for ECMAs so it’s very exciting.”

For Membertou’s senior adviser Dan Christmas, Tuesday’s announcements also had a lot of meaning for the community of Membertou.

“We’re especially excited to be a part of East Coast Music Week as it is the very first time that any aspect has been held in an aboriginal community,” said Christmas.

Festival co-chair Stephen Antle said it’s the first time in the organization’s history that the conference has had such a strong link to a First Nations community.

“We’re honoured and proud here at the MTCC to be the host for the conference and some of the showcases,” said Antle.

Hey Rosetta! led the nominations with seven, while Jenn Grant followed closely with six. Amelia Curran and Fortunate Ones received five nominations, and Mo Kenney and Ryan Hemsworth each got four.

Music lovers can cast their vote for two awards – Fan’s Choice Video and Entertainer of the Year. Votes can be cast by visiting and clicking on the proper link in the right-hand column.

Those musicians with Colchester County ties to receive nominations include:

– Dan Doiron – Stand Back I Don’t Know How Loud This Thing Gets – Blues Recording of the Year

– Chaos Theory – We Are Disaster – Loud Recording of the Year

– Alana Yorke – Dream Magic – Pop Recording of the Year; Rising Star Recording of the Year

What you need to know:

• East Coast Music Week takes place April 13-17.

• The 2016 East Coast Music Awards show takes place at Centre 200, Sydneyon April 14. It will be hosted by Ashley MacIsaac and Heather Rankin and will be broadcasted live on Eastlink TV, channel 610.

• The ECMW opening ceremony will take place oApril 13 at 7 p.m. at the Membertou Trade and Convention Centre and will be a partnership with the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network.

• The convention will take place at the Membertou Trade and Convention Centre and the showcases will take place throughout the Cape Breton Regional Municipality.

By the Numbers:

500 — the number of musicians from 200 bands expected to attend events

1,000 — number of music industry professionals attending

13,000 — total number attending from across Atlantic Canada

350 — number of volunteers expected to help