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Ishkōdé Records co-founder Amanda Rheaume named Indigenous Songwriter of the Year at Canadian Folk Music Awards

Amanda Rheaume
Métis musician Amanda Rheaume provides a platform for some Indigenous artists through a record label she co-founded with Shoshona Kish. Photo from AmandaRheaume.com.

The cofounder of an Indigenous and women-owned record label has won her second Canadian Folk Music Award. On April 1, Métis Nation member Amanda Rheaume was named Indigenous Songwriter of the Year at St. James Community Square in Vancouver.

This honour came for her roots album, The Spaces in Between, which is available through Ishkōdé Records

Rheaume describes herself as a proud member of the 2SLGBTQ+ community. Moreover, her website points out that she’s introduced “crucial dimensions to the world of Heartland Rock”.

“In a genre characterized by anthems of underdogs, assumptions and unfair advantages,” it says, “Rheaume’s sound and story crucially and radically expand the boundaries, geographic and cultural, to make space for new perspectives on resistance and resilience.”

Rheaume co-wrote the title track on her album with Serena Ryder and Hill Kourkoutis.

Watch the video for “The Spaces in Between” by Amanda Rheaume.

Rheaume also won a Canadian Folk Music Award in 2014 as Aboriginal Songwriter of the Year. That came for Keep a Fire. It was also nominated for Aboriginal Album of the Year at the Juno Awards.

In 2021, Rheaume cofounded her label with Anishinaabe musical artist Shoshona Kish. Kish is part of the Juno-winning Digging Roots with her Anishinaabe husband, Raven Kanatakta.

In addition to Rheaume’s The Spaces in Between and Digging Roots’s Zhawenim, Ishkōdé Records has released two other albums. Oji-Cree singer-songwriter Aysanabee’s debut album, Watin, was nominated for a Juno. As well, the label issued Mi’kmaq fiddler and singer Morgan Toney’s First Flight.

Meanwhile, Kish serves as artistic director of the International Indigenous Music Summit. Rheaume’s title with the summit is director of operations.

Nanaimo-based and CFMA winner Fiddelium perform Mikael Marin’s “Vasenvalsen”.

Rheaume was one of 10 award winners

Canadian Folk Music Awards Week began in Vancouver on March 31 and continues until April 2. In addition to Rheaume, nine other musicians or groups received awards on April 1.

They were: Fiddelium (Young Performer); Waymzy, led by multi-instrumentalist Kyle Waymouth (Instrumental Solo Artist); William Prince and Serena Ryder (Single of the Year for “Sing Me a Song”); Geneviève Roberge-Bouchard and Alain Barbeau (French Songwriter of the Year for their album J’attends encore); Abigail Lapell (English Songwriter of the Year for her album Stolen Time); Ghislaine Cormier (Slaight Music Unsung Hero Award); Kyle McKearney (Contemporary Singer of the Year for Down Home); John Wort Hannam (Contemporary Album of the Year for Long Haul); and Allison de Groot and Tatiana Hargreaves (Instrumental Group of the Year for Hurricane Clarice).

More musicians will receive Canadian Folk Music Awards on Sunday (April 2) at St. James Community Square. In addition, there’s a long list of entertainers.

At 11 a.m., it begins with “Family Folk – Children’s Music Concert”. This will feature The Relative Minors, Ginalina, Paige Penney, Will’s Jams, and The Oot n’ Oots. Pancouver previously covered Vancouver family folksinger Ginalina’s newest album, Going Back, which is comprised of Asian folk songs sung in Mandarin and Taiwanese (Tâi-gí,臺語). She supplemented these tracks with her English interpretations on top of writing the title track.

Ginalina’s new video for “Diu Diu Deng (Taiwanese Train Song)” is on YouTube.

That will be followed by “Awards Concert Night 2” at 6 p.m. Performers include Abigail Lapell, Wesli, Mama’s Broke, Digging Roots, John Wort Hannam, and T. Buckley.

Follow Charlie Smith on Twitter @charliesmithvcr. Follow Pancouver on Twitter @PancouverMedia.

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Charlie Smith

Charlie Smith

Pancouver editor Charlie Smith has worked as a Vancouver journalist in print, radio, and television for more than three decades.

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We would like to acknowledge that we are gathered on the traditional and unceded territories of the Coast Salish peoples of the xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), and Səl̓ílwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations. With this acknowledgement, we thank the Indigenous peoples who still live on and care for this land.