Mary Jane Lamond wins Female Artist, Best Solo Album

by Rankin MacDonald , Inverness Oran

Glendale’s Mary Jane Lamond was a double winner at the East Coast Music Awards held in Charlottetown on Monday night, presented with a matching set of pewter song notes for Female Artist of the Year as well as Best Solo Album for her most recent recording, Storas, (Gaelic meaning “a treasure”).

Storas is described as a beautiful interpretation of some of the Scottish Gaelic songs that have become part of Nova Scotia’s Gaelic tradition.

Winning the Female Artist of the Year was a broad recognition from across the industry of the Gaelic vocalist’s talent and presence. It was an award that made her “feel great,” going on to explain that nominations themselves have their own value. “In some ways it’s as good as winning the award because it comes through the respect of your peers. Winning the award itself is extra special.”

Of the award for solo album, Lamond told reporters, “It was very meaningful for me,” elaborating that Gaelic is one of the languages under threat in the world today and winning awards like Solo Recording gives a measure of exposure to the language and the concerns some people have for it. Describing hers as a “niche market,” she is frequently nominated against singers who have an international audience.

Lamond, whose career has been dedicated to the singing of Gaelic songs, has always attracted considerable attention to her work, despite the limited Gaelic audience that currently exists in Atlantic Canada. Over the past decade she has won another ECMA for Roots/Traditional Solo Artist Of The Year Award (2002), has been nominated for eight other East Coast Music Awards, two Junos as well as other music association awards.

During the nationally telecast East Coast Music Awards Gala Lamond performed An Gaidheal from her award-winning recording, Storas.

J.P. Cormier won one of the four categories in which he was nominated, his celebrated album, The Long River: A Personal Tribute to Gordon Lightfoot receiving the East Coast Music Awards’ song note for Folk Recording of the Year. Although he has never seen Lightfoot in concert, he described the revered songwriter as “The bard by whom I measure my own writing.”