A Nova Scotia sibling folk band determined to keep their musical career going during the COVID-19 pandemic have been recognized for their ingenuity in a big way.
The Gilberts received the Young Performers of the Year award at the 2021 Canadian Folk Music Awards, held virtually on April 10.
“We could not even believe it, it was beyond imagination that we could even be nominated,” said Maisie Gilbert, who is a member of the folk band with her two brothers Frieden and Reuben Gilbert.
The awards were slated to be held in Charlottetown, PEI, but were moved to an online platform in 2020 and in 2021 due to COVID-19, according to Kimberly Sinclair, marketing and communications coordinator for CFMA’s.
The 16th edition of the CFMAs took place April 7 through April 11.
“Their harmonies were so pure, ” said Sinclair. “I was entranced.”
The group also played a set as a showcase performer online for the awards ceremony, which Reuben Gilbert said was a honour.
“Part of us wished we could have gotten up on the stage in PEI and been in front of an audience and everything, but the way it went was amazing”
Frieden said he was was shocked by their win. He said the group was forced to record their first album from the loft of their home because professional recording studios were shut down due to COVID-19.
“We wanted to record an album that was all on one microphone all in one room and all in one take, basically, which is all we could do from home because we were not able to do into the studio”, he said.
Their ingenuity clearly paid off.
“We will have opportunities to have one-on-one meetings with these delegates and it is super exciting and it is great that all of this can still be happening during COVID,” said Maisie.
The pandemic has hit the music industry, and with live gigs cancelled, performers like themselves have been forced to focus on performing online, said Reuben.
“Suddenly it felt as if the playing field had been levelled a little bit. Nobody is playing gigs and everybody has the same access to YouTube and Facebook and everything,” he said.
The trio hopes to hit the stage again one day, said Maisie.
“You can have this connection with real human beings that are right in front of you,” she said.
“There is really no other way that you can get that, so we definitely miss it and we are definitely looking forward to getting back out on the stage as soon as we can.”
For now, they’ll soak in the win from afar. The 2022 CFMAs are scheduled to take place live in Charlottetown, should pandemic restrictions allow for event gatherings.