25 Years of Musical Success

Written by Max MacDonald.

photo 2295620 resizeThe East Coast Music Association (ECMA) is a regional collaboration of people in the music industry of Atlantic Canada. It is best known to the public for the series of awards handed out at the annual celebration that travels around Eastern Canada. It is interesting to note that Cape Breton has equal status with the four Atlantic Provinces as a separate region under the ECMA umbrella and the event has taken place here four times.

The ECMA has grown from a few awards in a Halifax bar in 1989 to a five day conference and showcase event culminating in a televised Award Show. This year the ECMA celebrated its 25th Anniversary.

As part of that celebration, 13 special awards of musical achievement were presented to artists who have a significant history of being recognized throughout their careers as ECMA Award winners. It was pretty nice to see that eight of the thirteen 25th Anniversary Awards were presented to Cape Breton artists. It really is quite a distinguished list:

The Rankin Family

Ashley MacIsaac

Natalie MacMaster

John Gracie

Rita MacNeil

The Barra MacNeils

Matt Minglewood

Mary Jane Lamond

 These great Cape Breton artists have taken their music around the world and are always proud to talk about the Island that gives them so much inspiration. You can hear Cape Breton in the music they play whether it is Natalie and Ashley’s jigs and reels, the Gaelic songs of Mary Jane or Matt rocking out “East Coast Blues”.

These artists wear Cape Breton on their fiddles and guitars and you can hear it in their voices. We are fortunate to have them. Every East Coast musician playing today also owes them a debt of gratitude for blazing the musical trail.