TORONTO – Buffy Sainte-Marie picked up a Polaris Music Prize on Monday night to add to her already crowded trophy case and praised the award’s organizers for cutting her a big cheque.
A jury of 11 music critics, bloggers and broadcasters named the album “Power in the Blood” the best Canadian record of the past year.
The folk icon beat out nine other finalists for the award, which comes with a $50,000 prize, including rap superstar Drake, former Polaris winner Caribou and Toronto rockers Alvvays.
In accepting the award, Sainte-Marie said the cash prize is an appreciated reward for musicians who are struggling to finance their careers.
“I’ve got an Academy Award and a Golden Globe, a couple of Junos and a Gemini Award – this is the only one I ever heard that gives the artist money. It’s real important, it’s becoming almost impossible for an artist to tour with a band and with instruments,” the 74-year-old musician said.
“It is a fact that it’s getting so hard to travel now.”
Sainte-Marie called on the industry executives in attendance at the award show to help young musicians get experience with gigs that require travel.
“I’m asking the music community to please put your heads into that and figure out a way so that not only the arts, but also sports, can be supported, so we can afford to go on the road and bring our music to you.”
The show, which was hosted by Juno-winning children’s entertainer Fred Penner, featured performances from some of the Polaris finalists.
The other musical acts on the short list were BadBadNotGood (who collaborated with Ghostface Killah), Braids, Jennifer Castle, Tobias Jesso Jr., the New Pornographers and Viet Cong – who are in the midst of a rebrand after critics claimed their band name was culturally insensitive.
Last year’s winner was Inuk throat singer Tanya Tagaq for “Animism.”
© 2015 The Canadian Press