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Executive Council
Tourism, Culture and Recreation
January 14, 2010

Newfoundland and Labrador Artists
Hit the World Stage at the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games

The Honourable Danny Williams, Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador, today announced that the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador is investing more than $450,000 to take approximately 80 artists to Vancouver to perform during the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games. The Premier made the announcement in Corner Brook and was joined by the Honourable Terry French, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Recreation.

“With just a month to go before Canada hosts the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Games, we are delighted to announce our support for so many of the province’s most talented cultural performers as they prepare to take the world stage in February,” said Premier Williams. “With the incredible wealth of talented artists from Newfoundland and Labrador, we will be well represented as we add our own voice to the games. From traditional folk music to contemporary indie rock and everything in between, some of Newfoundland and Labrador’s best musicians, dancers, actors, comedians and storytellers will entertain the world during the biggest show on earth.”

Performers announced today are: Amelia Curran, Artistic Fraud of Newfoundland, Chris Kirby, Daniel Payne, Fergus O’Byrne, Great Big Sea, Hey Rosetta!, The Irish Descendants, Jim Payne, Kelly Russell and Tonya Kearley, Mary Barry, The Navigators, The Nunatsiavut Drum Dancers, Ron Hynes, Sherman Downey, Shanneyganock, Shaun Majumder, Tara Oram, The Once, and Wonderbolt Circus. Additional information is included in the backgrounder below.

Newfoundland and Labrador artists will have many opportunities to be showcased during the games. Artists who will participate in the Vancouver 2010 Cultural Olympiad will take the stage in popular venues throughout Vancouver from January 22 to March 21, 2010. The Cultural Olympiad is a series of three, multi-disciplinary festivals that began in 2008. Performers were chosen by the Vancouver Olympic Organizing Committee (VANOC), following a call for proposals, and subsequent visits to the province to attend cultural events, including the East Coast Music Awards (ECMAs) held in Corner Brook last February.

Other artists will perform at a variety of venues, including BC Place, as part of Newfoundland and Labrador’s 30-minute Victory Celebration Showcase preceding the medal ceremonies on February 26, 2010 – Newfoundland and Labrador Day at the Olympics; Atlantic Canada House located on Granville Island, from February 13-28; the Athletes’ Village; Aboriginal Pavilion; and Place de la Francophonie.

Joining Premier Williams and Minister French today were performers The Once and Sherman Downey.

“We are very excited that so many of our Newfoundland and Labrador artists will have the opportunity to showcase their talents on an international stage,” said Minister French. “This is our time to shine, and show the world why Newfoundland and Labrador is a great place to live, work, play and do business. Our investment as a province into the 2010 Winter Games will pay dividends for our cultural industries with exposure to an international audience.”

In celebrating Newfoundland and Labrador Day at the Olympics, events have been planned both in Vancouver and in the province. On February 26, regional community celebrations in St. John’s, Gander, Corner Brook and Happy Valley-Goose Bay will bring the spirit of the Olympics to Newfoundlanders and Labradorians. Many local artists are scheduled to perform, adding the province’s distinctive culture, heritage and traditions to the festivities.

With today’s announcement, the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador has, to date, committed more than $2.5 million for activities designed to support Canadian athletes and showcase Newfoundland and Labrador on the world stage during the 2010 Olympic Winter Games – including $1.5 million to sign a Contributing Province/Territory Program (CPTP) agreement with the Vancouver Organizing Committee; $500,000 to be part of the Atlantic Canada House pavilion on Granville Island in Vancouver; and over $67,000 for regional Torch Relay activities held in the province in November.

For more information on Newfoundland and Labrador’s involvement in the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games see: www.gov.nl.ca/2010olympics

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Media contacts:
Elizabeth Matthews
Director of Communications
Office of the Premier
709-729-3960
elizabethmatthews@gov.nl.ca

Heather May
Director of Communications
Department of Tourism, Culture and Recreation
709-729-0928, 697-5061
heathermay@gov.nl.ca

Andrea Nolan
Press Secretary
Office of the Premier
709-729-4304, 727-0991
andreanolan@gov.nl.ca

BACKGROUNDER
Newfoundland and Labrador Artists Performing
During the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games

Amelia Curran (Atlantic Canada House)
Amelia Curran is a talented singer/songwriter from St. John's who currently resides in Halifax, Nova Scotia. She has three solo albums under her belt; a band album with the Senseamelia Project; and has been a guest on recordings by other Halifax bands such as Heavy Meadows. As an independent musician who also includes acting and writing on her resume, Ms. Curran gained national attention with her 2006 release War Brides. In 2009, she released Hunter, Hunter which earned her four nominations at the 2010 ECMAs; Female Solo Recording of the Year; FACTOR Recording of the Year; and, SOCAN Songwriter of the Year and Folk Recording of the Year.

Artistic Fraud of Newfoundland (Cultural Olympiad)
Artistic Fraud of Newfoundland was formed in 1995 and has since emerged as one of Canada’s most innovative theatrical companies. Over the past 12 years, the group has been developing a system of directing and performance called kaleidography, which involves an inventive synchronization of lights and music. Since its inception, the company has created nine original works using this process including Fear of Flight; Under Wraps; Belly Up; The Cheat; and, Emile’s Dream.

Chris Kirby (Atlantic Canada House)
Chris Kirby, a 27-year-old from Norris Arm, moved to St. John's in 2001 where he began playing in several bands on the local club scene. With the release of Chris Kirby on Rum & Religion in 2006, Mr. Kirby emerged as a solo artist and a captivating songwriter and performer. Mr. Kirby has won a MusicNL award for 2009 Jazz/Blues Artist of the Year and is nominated for Solo Male Recoding of the Year, Blues Recording of the Year, R&B/Soul Single of the Year (Come Clean), and FACTOR Recording of the Year for the 2010 ECMAs. Heavily influenced by New Orleans rhythm and blues and Motown soul, but rooted in the rich Newfoundland and Labrador tradition of storytelling, his newest release is Vampire Hotel. Mr. Kirby has earned multiple MusicNL and ECMA nominations and has also appeared on showcase and songwriters’ circle stages at major national and international events, where he has performed alongside Ron Hynes, Maureen Ennis, Steve Marriner, Treasa Levasseur, Kyle Riabko and Harry Manx.

Daniel Payne (Atlantic Canada House)
Daniel Payne is from the Town of Cow Head on the Northern Peninsula. For over a decade, he has worked as a professional musician, performing the traditional music of Newfoundland and Labrador, as well as collecting songs and dance tunes from older traditional players around the province. Starting in his teens with guitar and voice, Mr. Payne has gone on to become proficient in a wide variety of instruments, including fiddle, accordion, mandolin, flute, whistle, and bodhrán. He has also enjoyed a successful career as an actor in theatre and film with his most notable role being a starring performance as Ned Andrews in the television mini-series Random Passage.

Fergus O’Byrne (Atlantic Canada House)
Fergus O'Byrne, originally from Ireland, became a familiar voice on radio and television from 1971 to 1983 as a member of the folk group, Ryan's Fancy. He has since followed a busy solo and freelance career, touring nationally and internationally with Jim Payne and A Crowd of Bold Sharemen. He can be heard on recent recordings of Great Big Sea, and has contributed to several anthologies of Newfoundland music. In February 2004, as part of Ryan’s Fancy, Mr. O’Byrne was awarded the ECMA Dr. Helen Creighton Lifetime Achievement Award. This award recognizes an individual or group who has had a profound and lasting effect on the Atlantic Canadian music industry. In April 2005, along with Jim Payne, he was the recipient of the inaugural Arts in Education Award presented by the Newfoundland and Labrador Arts Council. He works extensively with young folk music enthusiasts and is presently Education Chair of the Juno 2010 Host Committee for St. John’s.

Great Big Sea (BC Place Headlining Band)
Born and raised in ‘the far east of the western world”, Great Big Sea is a folk-rock band which has toured internationally while wearing their home of Newfoundland and Labrador on their sleeve. The band is best known for performing energetic rock interpretations of traditional Newfoundland folk songs, including sea shanties which draw from the province’s 500-year-old Irish, English, and French heritage, as well as their own original material. Great Big Sea has been nominated for eight Juno Awards, including Best Roots & Traditional Album-Group (for Up, Play, and Turn); Best Video (for the songs 'Run Runaway' and 'Lukey'); Music DVD of the Year (for Great Big DVD); and, Group of the Year (1998 and 2005). The band has won an unprecedented 18 ECMAs, including Album of the Year (1998, 2000, 2003); Group of the Year (1998, 2000, 2003); Pop Recording of the Year (1998, 2003); Single of the Year (1998); Video of the Year (1997, 1999, 2003); and, Entertainer of the Year (1996-2000, 2003).

Hey Rosetta! (Cultural Olympiad, BC Place, Atlantic Canada House)
Hey Rosetta is a lyric driven indie rock band from St. John's. Known for energized live shows, the band has created a layered sound by incorporating piano, violin and cello with electric guitars and soaring, guttural vocals. The band has toured extensively in Canada as well as in Australia, Europe, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Hey Rosetta! won three ECMAs in 2009, as well as the Canadian Music Week Indie Award for Best Album, the XM Verge Award for Best Album, and was short-listed for the renowned Polaris Music Prize for their album Into Your Lungs (and around in your heart and on through your blood).

Irish Descendants (Cultural Olympiad, BC Place, Atlantic Canada House)
The Irish Descendants are a folk group from Newfoundland and Labrador. All the members, born of Irish emigrants, were workers in the Newfoundland fishing industry before forming the band in 1990 out of the remnants of two former Newfoundland bands, The Descendants and Irish Coffee. The current members are Con O'Brien (lead vocals and guitar); Duncan Cameron (fiddle, bouzouki, whistle, bodhrán, and vocals); Robert Kelly (bass and vocals); and, Graham Wells (accordion, tin whistle, bodhrán and vocals). Since their formation, The Irish Descendants have garnered a loyal fan base in Canada and captured the attention of an ever-growing international audience. The band’s award winning recordings range from lilting ballads to toe-tapping reels, and their high energy live performances have made them a popular attraction at home and abroad.

Jim Payne (Atlantic Canada House)
Jim Payne is from Notre Dame Bay and has been a professional performing artist and writer for 19 years. Long known as a leading performer and collector of Newfoundland and Labrador traditional music, he is also one of the province's most prolific songwriters, working in several genres. Mr. Payne has directed, composed and performed music for some of the most popular theatre productions of the past two decades, as well as creating soundtracks for plays, documentaries and videos. He has performed extensively on radio and television in Canada and abroad, and has toured throughout Canada, the United States, Europe, Japan and Australia.

Kelly Russell and Tonya Kearley, Pigeon Inlet (BC Place)
Born in St. John’s, Kelly Russell has been a professional musician since 1974. An original member of such landmark Newfoundland groups as Figgy Duff and The Wonderful Grand Band in the 1970s, and more recently The Plankerdown Band, he also spent 10 years working closely with Newfoundland’s late, great fiddle masters, Rufus Guinchard and Emile Benoit. Recognizing a need to preserve the music of older performers in Newfoundland and Labrador, Mr. Russell founded Pigeon Inlet Productions in 1979. The label has since produced over 30 full length recordings on LP, cassette and CD. With wife and partner Tonya Kearley, Mr. Russell also runs music and dance events in Trinity such as “Dance Up” and the popular dinner theatre show A Time in Pigeon Inlet each summer in Bay Roberts.

Mary Barry (Atlantic Canada House, Place de la Francophonie)
Newfoundland's “Jazz Chanteuse” Mary Barry is an award-winning singer, composer, teacher and a graduate of Vancouver Community College's jazz program. Ms. Barry's third independent recording entitled Red Eye Tonight features musical giants Brian Way, Patrick Boyle, Bill Brennan, Gary Davis, Rick Hollett, Mark Peddle, and Gary Tilley. The CD was released to rave reviews and won Barry both Female Artist and Jazz/Blues Artist of the Year at the 2007 Music NL Awards and a 2009 ECMA nomination for Jazz Recording of the Year. Barry is well-recognized for her songwriting talent, having won several songwriting awards and making it into the semi-finals in the 2006 International Songwriting Competition - the only Canadian to make it that far in the jazz category. Ms. Barry's second CD, “These Days”, which won her Music Industry Association of Newfoundland and Labrador’s Female Artist of the Year and an ECMA nomination for Jazz Recording of the Year in 2005, also features four award-winning songs. Ms. Barry has just released her first full length recording in French entitled Chansons Irisées.

Navigators (Atlantic Canada House)
The Navigators have become one of Atlantic Canada’s iconic traditional bands bringing together two of Newfoundland and Labrador’s most powerful baritones, Fred Jorgensen (whistles, bodhrán, guitar) and Arthur O’Brien (fiddle, acoustic/electric guitar). The Navigators’ sound draws on Newfoundland’s rich traditional heritage and links to the old world. The Navigators and their long-awaited sophomore recording Sea Miner delivers a mix of modern folk and traditional Irish Newfoundland melodies steeped in local folklore.

Nunatsiavut Drum Dancers (Cultural Olympiad, Aboriginal Pavilion, BC Place, Atlantic Canada House)
Originating from a school exercise to revive drumming in northern Labrador, the Nunatsiavut Drum Dancers (formerly known as the Kilautik Drummers) were formed in the late 1990s. They are known for their creativity in developing and performing unique dance styles. The drummers also perform dances that complement traditional Inuit songs and stories. With 10 members, the Nunatsiavut Drum Dancers have performed for local, national and international audiences, representing the cultural revitalization of Inuit culture, youth empowerment, and pride in the new Inuit region of Nunatsiavut.

Ron Hynes (Cultural Olympiad, BC Place, Atlantic Canada House)
One of Canada’s premier singer-songwriters, Ron Hynes has created beautifully crafted signature songs for nearly 35 years. With seven solo albums to his credit, Ron Hynes is a six-time ECMA winner, a Genie Award winner, and a past JUNO, Canadian Country Music Award (CCMA) and Canadian Folk Music Award nominee. Best known for his folk classic “Sonny's Dream”, Ron Hynes is the recent recipient of the SOCAN National Achievement Award for songwriting career success and holds an Honorary PhD from Memorial University for his songwriting and contribution to the cultural life of Newfoundland and Labrador.

Sherman Downey (Cultural Olympiad, Atlantic Canada House)
Sherman Downey was born and raised in a small town on the west coast of Newfoundland. It was from this perspective that he began writing music. His songs are often likened to those of a young Paul Simon, full of contagious rhythm, but layered with hints of bluegrass. Mr. Downey received MusicNL’s full length recording grant for 2009 and has recently released his first CD, Honey for Bees, with a group of musicians called The Ambiguous Case. Mr. Downey and the band have been turning heads in the folk industry, sharing the stage with bands like Elliott Brood, Tom Fun Orchestra and Kathleen Edwards.

Shanneyganock (Atlantic Canada House)
Fourteen years ago, Mark Hiscock and Chris Andrews were double booked at a small pub in St. John’s. Rather than cancel one, the owner suggested they play together and so was born Shanneyganock. Joined by Bob Pike and Ed Southerby, the group has since charmed many through their stirring ballads, powerful shanties, and rib-rattling jigs and reels. Their CDs have been featured on Warner Record’s Atlantic Standard’s compilation and “Ed’s Up” on the OLN Network. In 2009 they were named Entertainers of the Year at The MusicNL and Labrador Gala and also received a 2010 ECMA nomination.

Shaun Majumder (Cultural Olympiad, BC Place, Atlantic Canada House)
The Gemini award-winning actor/comedian Shaun Majumder starred in the Farrelly Brothers’ Fox comedy entitled Unhitched, which debuted in March 2008. His Comedy Central Presents special debuted on Comedy Central in April 2008. Mr. Majumder’s television career has also included appearances on Fox's 24, Cedric the Entertainer Presents, and he has been a cast member of the critically-acclaimed Canadian series This Hour Has 22 Minutes. He was recently a guest star on Robson Arms on CTV; the new series Less Than Kind, which will debut this fall on CHUM network; and, on Da Kink in My Hair on Global TV. He was also featured in the debut episode of CBC’s Republic of Doyle. His film credits include Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle, The Ladies Man, Pushing Tin, Purpose and most recently, Bob Funk alongside Rachel Leigh Cook and Olympia Dukakis. Mr. Majumder is also a favorite of Montreal's Just for Laughs Comedy festival having hosted the TV series for three seasons. He now resides in Los Angeles.

Tara Oram (Atlantic Canada House, BC Place)
Tara Oram of Hare Bay stepped into the spotlight when she placed sixth on CTV’s Canadian Idol. From there, she caught the eye of award-winning talent manager, Ron Kitchener, and signed to Open Road Recordings. Since releasing her debut, Chasing the Sun, Ms. Oram has racked up a number of awards, including the Canadian Country Music Association’s 2009 Rising Star Award, an ECMA for Country Recording of the Year and a 2009 JUNO nomination. With a new album slated for 2010, Ms. Oram continues to establish herself as one of country music’s brightest young stars.

The Once (Atlantic Canada House)
With “vocal harmonies thick enough to stand on” The Once has been recorded for CBC’s The Vinyl Café, and in October 2010, they will tour Ireland as well take part in an Arts and Culture Centre provincial tour. Armed with bouzouki, banjo, unaccompanied ballads and shanties, The Once is a trio of Newfoundland folk musicians, building on the traditions of their Newfoundland and Labrador home. Winners of four MusicNL awards in 2009 and nominated for an ECMA award in 2010, they have quickly earned their place amongst Newfoundland’s finest musical talent. They will also appear in Memphis in late February as part of The North American Folk Alliance and at the legendary Stan Rogers Folk Festival this summer.

Wonderbolt Circus (Cultural Olympiad, BC Place, Atlantic Canada House)
Wonderbolt Circus presents a cross-cultural circus combining rich comic tradition with the sophistication of modern cirque and the dazzling artistry of Native American song and dance. Wonderbolt Productions has been providing unique, original theatrical presentations to audiences in Newfoundland and Labrador and across Canada for 25 years. Beni Malone, the company’s artistic director, has trained in facilities around the world, from Ringling Bros Barnum & Bailey’s Clown College in Venice, Florida and L’Ecole Nationale du Cirque in Paris.

2010 01 14                            3:30 p.m.


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