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Manitoba Juno nominees span musical gamut from classical to metal

Metal trio KEN Mode earned a Juno nomination for Loved. They have been nominated three times in the past, winning once. (Supplied)

Metal trio KEN Mode earned a Juno nomination for Loved. They have been nominated three times in the past, winning once. (Supplied)

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This article was published 29/1/2019 (634 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

The Juno Awards released their list of nominees for the 48th annual event, set to be held in London, Ont., in March, and a handful of Manitoban musicians have made the cut.

Hardcore trio KEN Mode is nominated in the Metal/Hard Album of the Year for their album, Loved. The band is no stranger to the Juno Awards, winning in the same category for 2011's Venerable and earning nominations for 2013's Entrench and 2015's Success.

"It's always cool to be nominated, as with the kind of music we play it would be a ridiculous expectation to have — especially since this album is the most anti-social we've maybe ever written," Jesse Matthewson, guitarist and vocalist of KEN Mode, says in an email to the Free Press.

"We actually kind of thought this might be the one that ruins our streak of nominations. Of the bands nominated, we're definitely the dirtiest and most underground, sonically speaking; so it will be interesting to see what happens!"

Anishinaabe rapper/singer-songwriter Leonard Sumner has earned his first Juno nomination for his sophomore release, Standing in the Light. (Supplied)</p>

Anishinaabe rapper/singer-songwriter Leonard Sumner has earned his first Juno nomination for his sophomore release, Standing in the Light. (Supplied)

Anishinaabe rapper/singer-songwriter Leonard Sumner has earned his first Juno nomination for his sophomore release, Standing in the Light, in the Indigenous Music Album of the Year category. Sumner, who grew up on the Little Saskatchewan reserve, has been praised for his intense and beautifully written lyrics that paint a frank picture of Indigenous life in Canada.

"It’s an honour to be nominated with such great artists. The Indigenous Album of the Year category has Grammy nominees, as well as a Polaris Prize Winner and Polaris Prize nominees," said Sumner via email. 

"I’m grateful and thank everyone who has helped my development as a human and musician. The recognition is a good feeling, hopefully shared by everyone who has helped me achieve this nomination."

Roots trio the Wailin' Jennys is up for Traditional Roots Album of the Year for Fifteen, a collection of cover songs. This is the band's fourth Juno nomination; they previously won in 2005 for 40 Days and in 2012 for Bright Morning Stars.

"It’s both a surprise and a thrill! We really didn’t anticipate this. We’ve been spending a lot of time touring the U.S. over the last few years but we’re firmly Canadians and this is the greatest acknowledgement," says Nicky Mehta, a founding member of the group.

Roots trio the Wailin' Jennys is up for Traditional Roots Album of the Year for Fifteen, a collection of cover songs. They have won twice before. (Supplied)</p>

Roots trio the Wailin' Jennys is up for Traditional Roots Album of the Year for Fifteen, a collection of cover songs. They have won twice before. (Supplied)

"We actually self-produced this album with the brilliant input of our engineer, Joby Baker, and usual team of musicians et al. (including fellow ‘Peggers, Ruth Moody’s brother, Richard Moody, and my hubbie, Grant Johnson), so it’s very exciting to have this recognized. And it’s great to be in a category with good friends."

There are a handful of former Manitobans who have also picked up nominations, including James Ehnes for Classical Album of the Year (this is his 27th Juno nomination, of which he has won 11 times); Winnipeg-born composer Nicole Lizée for Classical Composition of the Year; and Tim Neufeld, who now calls Abbotsford, B.C., home, for Contemporary Christian/Gospel Album of the Year.

As well, former Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra composer-in-residence Vincent Ho is also up for Classical Composition of the Year, while comedian and former Winnipegger Chanty Marostica is nominated for Comedy Album of the Year.

Pop singer Shawn Mendes leads the overall pack with six nominations, including Artist of the Year, while R&B artist the Weeknd picked up five nods. It was also announced 12-time Juno Award-winner Sarah McLachlan will host the televised show, which airs March 17 on CBC.

erin.lebar@freepress.mb.ca

Twitter: @NireRabel

Erin Lebar

Erin Lebar
Multimedia producer

Erin Lebar is a multimedia producer who spends most of her time writing music- and culture-related stories for the Arts & Life section. She also co-hosts the Winnipeg Free Press's weekly pop-culture podcast, Bury the Lede.

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