After four years of teaching and recording in First Nations’ schools across Cape Breton Island, singer/songwriter Angelo Spinazzola’s compilation of Mi’kmaq children’s tunes has garnered him an ECMA nomination.
The First Nations Songwriting Sessions featuring children from Eskasoni, Membertou, Chapel Island and Waycobah is up for the Children’s Recording of the Year, the only Mi’kmaq work to be nominated this year in any awards category.
“To be able to teach and give the children a creative outlet and fun way of empowering themselves and connecting them with their culture and nature is the main goal of the project,” Spinazzola said. “All the other spinoffs are added bonuses.”
For one week starting Thursday February 2, The First Nations Songwriting Sessions will be available for free download at reverbnation.com.
Spinazzola also got a second nod this year with a nomination in Roots/Traditional Solo category for Beautifully Imperfect which continues to get regular national and local airplay.
“Wow! How great it is to be doing exactly what you want to be doing and to be accepted for what it is that you believe in,” Spinazzola said.
After Mi’kmaq artist Dozay Christmas heard Spinazzola’s children’s song “On the Peace Wheel” during a broadcast on CBC radio five years ago featuring students at Harbourview Montessori School, she invited him to work with Mi’kmaq children at First Nations’ schools.
The First Nations Songwriting Sessions – his sixth studio recording since 1992 – involved children from Grades 3 to 5 who learned the creative process of songwriting in a fun way through music, words and voice.
Beautifully Imperfect was inspired by Spinazzola’s travels around the world during the past six years when he wasn’t teaching to Mi’kmaq children in Cape Breton or running his North River Kayak tour company in St. Ann’s Bay and Baddeck. The people he encountered in his travels and the experiences he had has inspired him to write and create new and fresh ideas. He’s hoping to publish his work someday as well as write more music.
“After I return home and get a chance to digest all these new experiences on the road whether on First Nations’ lands, or outside of Canada in remote areas of South America, Asia or Europe, I write in hopes of sharing what I’ve learned from a hands-on prospective. There is a lot going on out there.”
Winners of various categories will be announced by the ECMA in Moncton when the event is held April 11 to 15.