After winning the Global Music Album of the Year JUNO in May of 2022, Montréal’s Afrikana Soul Sister won the Félix for Album of the Year – World Music on Nov. 2, 2022, at the First ADISQ Gala, for their album Kalasö.

Led by seasoned Québec multi-instrumentalist, producer, and arranger Jean-François Lemieux (Jean Leloup, Daniel Bélanger, Ariane Moffatt), and complemented by Senegalese percussionist Fa Cissokho and Malian singer Djely Tapa, who comes from a long line of griots (named Révélation Radio-Canada 2019-2020 in the world music category), the trio embodies the unclassifiable meeting of West Africa and North America in a bubbling cauldron where tradition, and the thirst to create, far outweigh ego.

We spoke to the band following their victory, to learn how their Afrofuturist fusion came about.

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Click here to watch the Afrikana Soul Sister interview

SOCAN is mourning the loss of Alexander (Al) Mair, who passed away Nov. 25, 2022, at Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto, at the age of 82. A mainstay of Canada’s independent music sector and proponent of Canadian talent for more than five decades, he lent his expertise to various initiatives that support our nation’s music. A keen sense of business and personal passion for music made him a leader in the independent music world.

Mair was known as a visionary and inspiration to many people in the homegrown music ecosystem and was inducted into the Order of Canada for his valuable contributions. At the SOCAN Awards in 2021, he was named as one of 24 CanCon Guardians for his profound early efforts to raise the stature of music made in this country.

In 2018, he made a significant financial donation to the SOCAN Foundation Charitable Fund, and he had also supported the Unison Fund, and The Lillian and Donald Mair Clinic for Mood Disorders, at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Hamilton, Ontario.

In a career spanning more than 50 years and various ventures, Mair was a member of SOCAN’s Board of Directors for several years, and served an term as President of the CMPA (Canadian Music Publishers Association). He also lent his expertise to FACTOR (Foundation to Assist Canadian Talent on Recordings), the OMDC (Ontario Media Development Corporation, now Ontario Creates), and the Radio Starmaker Fund; served on the Massey Hall Board of Governors for 20 years; and was an Honourary Governor of both Massey and Roy Thomson Halls. A co-founder of the National Aboriginal Music Association, Mair brought a cohesive voice and recognition to Canada’s under-served Indigenous recording artists and planted the seeds for an Aboriginal music category at the JUNO Awards.

Mair was Gordon Lightfoot’s business manager for eight years, setting up his publishing companies. In 1974, he co-founded Attic Records with Tom Williams, as a vehicle to promote emerging Canadian artists. Attic became became the largest and most successful independent record company in Canadian history, and its publishing arm represented the Canadian rights to music from such legendary international acts as The Beatles, Elton John, James Brown, and ABBA, among many others.

Attic also helped launch the careers of many Canadian artists, including Anvil, Lee Aaron, Maestro Fresh Wes, The Nylons, Teenage Head, and Triumph. During Mair’s period as the label president and CEO from 1974 to 1999, when the label was sold, Attic realized more than $100 million worth of music sales in Canada, and its artists achieved 114 Gold, Platinum, and Multi-Platinum sales awards.

Al Mair’s important work and contributions will be remembered and appreciated forever. SOCAN extends its deepest condolences to his family, loved ones, friends, and all who knew him.

The 2022 edition of the annual Gala alternatif de la musique indépendante du Québec (GAMIQ) was held both online and in person on Nov. 28, 2022, at Montréal’s Plaza Theater. All told, 37 Lucien Awards – the trophy named in honour of the lead singer of legendary band Aut’Chose, Lucien Francoeur – were given out during the event.

Among the most prestigious honours, Lou-Adriane Cassidy won the Artist of the Year Award while Tamara Weber won Breakthrough Artist of the Year, while Bibi Club won the 2023 Artist to Watch award. This year’s event was dedicated to the late Karim Ouellet, and paid tribute to René Lussier, a prolific and innovative musician, and creator of the cult album Le Trésor de la langue, among others.

Here’s the full list of award winners at the 17th annual GAMIQ:

  • ARTIST OF THE YEAR: Lou-Adriane Cassidy
  • ARTIST TO WATCH IN 2023: Bibi Club
  • BREAKTHROUGH: Tamara Weber
  • ROCK: Gros Mené – Pax et Bonum
  • POST-PUNK/POST-ROCK: Yoo Doo Right — A Murmur, Boundless to the East
  • ELECTRO: Super Plage – Électro-vacances
  • ROOTS: Les Tireux d’Roches – Tapiskwan Sipi
  • EXPERIMENTAL : Ping Pong Go – Ping Pong Go
  • PUNK : Fuck Toute – Coké Computer
  • METAL: BARF – Région Sauvage
  • INDIE ROCK EP: Allô Fantôme – Allô Fantôme
  • INDIE-ROCK ALBUM: Choses Sauvages – Choses Sauvages II
  • COUNTRY : Ben Claveau – La route est longue jusqu’au top
  • JAZZ: Jazz Street Boyz—JSB3
  • WORLD MUSIC: Le Winston Band – Enwèye à Lafayette
  • FOLK EP: Natasha Kanapé – Nui Pimuten
  • FOLK ALBUM : Mon Doux Saigneur – Fleur de l’Âge
  • NON-QUÉBEC-BASED: Les Hôtesses d’Hilaire – Pas l’temps d’niaiser
  • RAP/HIP HOP EP : Magi Merlin – Gone Girl
  • ROCK EP: Elephant Stone – Le voyage de M. Lonely dans la lune
  • RAP/HIP HOP ALBUM: Naya Ali – Godspeed: Elevated
  • POP EP : Clay and Friends – AGUÀ
  • POP ALBUM : Lydia Képinski – Depuis
  • VIDEO (ANIMATION+) : P’tit Belliveau – “RRSP/Grosse pièce”
  • VIDEO (PUBLIC’S CHOICE) : Laura Gagné – “ L’amour me va”
  • VIDEO (DIY): Cirrhose et Cendrier – “Ça sent l’brûlé”
  • VIDEO (BIG BUSINESS) : Lydia Képinski – “MTL me déteste”
  • VIDEO (SME): Barry Paquin Roberge – “Eyes on You”
  • VIDEO (WTF): P’tit Belliveau – “J’feel comme un alien”
  • FESTIVAL : La Noce
  • PRODUCER: Spectacles Bonzaï
  • PRESS RELATIONS AND PROMOTION: Larissa Relations Médias
  • VENUE: Le Pantoum
  • LABEL: Secret City Records
  • MANAGEMENT TEAM: Coop Les Faux-Monnayeurs
  • MEDIA: Le Canal Auditif