NWT Music Awards presented

The stars were out at the NWT Music Awards on Sept. 10, and dozens showed up for the gala.

The event was over a decade in the making.

In 2003, Music NWT was known as the Recording Artists Association of the Northwest Territories (RAANT). The organization was co-funded by Matthew Grogono, president of the Yellowknife Artists Co-operative and owner of Old Town Glassworks.

According to Grogono, who was present at the event, the awards ceremony was a dream come true for him and his RAANT partners.

Additionally, Grogono arrived with a special gift, a 2004 Aurora Arts Society honor that reflects “tremendous accomplishments in your first year of operations.”

Honorary Award from the Recording Arts Association of the Northwest Territories, which Matthew Grogono and his partners obtained in 2004 from the Aurora Arts Society. Grogono brought the keepsake to the NWT Music Awards on September 10. Ethan Butterfield/NNSL Photo

As for the gala itself, the 2022 NWT Music Awards honored numerous honorees, including Miranda Currie, Kilo November and Gnarwhal.

The awards ceremony was hosted by Tanya Snow, born in Rankin Inlet and now resident of Yellowknife, author and throat singer.

Kilo November, alongside award show host Tanya Snow, gets a thumbs up after being announced as Best Live Performance at the NWT Music Awards. Ethan Butterfield/NNSL Photo

The event featured live performances from SkyFire Taiko, Stephen Richardson, Brenden MacIntosh and Fort Good Hope rapper Crook the Kid.

MacIntosh, who also won Best First Release, was humbled about the win.

“It was pretty good to be nominated and I’m grateful to Music NWT for putting on such a great event.”

Brenden MacIntosh holds his award for Best Debut Album, which he won following his live performance at the 2022 NWT Music Awards. Photo courtesy of Brenden MacIntosh

Additionally, Gnarwhal, who won Best Single after the release of their track Deep Spaced, also expressed his gratitude.

“We’re truly honored to be a winner in this category, especially along with all of the other amazing nominees. Deep Spaced is only our second release, so the recognition really validates the hard work we’ve put into writing and recording our songs last year. It really gives us the motivation to keep writing and releasing music.

Jeremy Straker, left, Layne Rybchinski, Benji Straker and Mark Kilbride of Gnarwhal accept their Best Single award at the NWT Music Awards. Photo courtesy of Gnarwhal

During the event, Crook the Kid, who would perform after his Best Songwriting win, said: “I can’t believe anyone in this room thought it was OK to give me a prize”, which was said jokingly.

Crook the Kid happily accepts the award for Best Songwriter. Ethan Butterfield/NNSL Photo

Miranda Currie, who would receive the Outstanding Indigenous Artist honor, was thrilled with her win, saying, “I was thrilled to receive the Outstanding Indigenous Artist award from the inaugural NWT Music Awards! To have my work recognized in this way is such an honor. Indigenous voices are being heard and Indigenous children are beginning to see themselves authentically represented in various forms of media. I believe this helps to positively change the Indigenous narrative in Canada. This is what I want to support through my work as an artist.

Miranda Currie with her Outstanding Indigenous Artist Award. Pleased with the win, Currie would also add that “Indigenous voices are being heard and Indigenous children are beginning to see themselves authentically represented in various forms of media” when it comes to representation. Photo courtesy of Miranda Currie

Winner, winner

The other winners were:

Fan Choice – Abe Drennan

New album – Al Bee for each other

Excellence in the Music Industry – David Dowe of Double D Studios

Best place – Great Northern Arts Festival

Musical clip – Keith Robertson for Thin Ice (by Andrea Bettger)

Live show Kilo November

On the way to the Hall of Fame

Hall of Fame inductees who received their own honors at the ceremony included Yellowknives Dene Drummers, Ted Wesley – founder of Folk on the Rocks who died in December 2021 – and Norm Glowach.

The Yellowknives Dene Drummers have been inducted into the Northwest Territories Music Hall of Fame. Ethan Butterfield/NNSL Photo

The Northwest Territories Music Hall of Fame added three inductees to the event: Yellowknives Dene Drummers, Norm Glowach and Ted Wesley. Ethan Butterfield/NNSL Photo