Amplify, a new 13-episode original television series on APTN, is showcasing Indigenous songwriters, in anthology format where each episode ends with a music video of a new song that was created, based on inspiration from another art form, which could be a book, a film, a painting, a poem, or some other medium.

Each episode features a different songwriter, and their unique inspiration for the song. Métis series creator Shane Belcourt, an award-winning actor, director, and writer, believes viewers will connect with the artists on an intimate level. He’s previously produced the feature films Red Rover and Tkaronto, and TV show Urban Native Girl.

Belcourt tapped into songwriters he believes are open, articulate, and fearless storytellers. Among the featured music creators are Tara Williamson, from Opaskwayak Cree Nation, inspired by a work of art from Anishinaabe artist Daphne Odjig; Multi-disciplinary Métis/Cree artist Cheryl L’Hirondelle, inspired by Robin Wall Kimmerer’s book Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants; and Oneida of Six Nations member Lacey Hill, inspired by Snow Snake, a traditional Haudenosaunee game.

Amplify aired its pilot and second episode Sept. 11. Shot in numerous locations throughout Ontario and Manitoba in the Spring and Summer of 2018, the program airs on APTN in English on Fridays, and in Ojibwa on Thursdays, at 7:00 p.m. ET.

The SOCAN Foundation has distributed nearly $75,000 among 29 award recipients of its annual competitions. With more than 300 submissions, the Awards for Young Composers and Emerging Screen Composers were evaluated by juries of music industry professionals from across the country.

“These awards are an integral part of the SOCAN Foundation’s mission to support talented young SOCAN members as part of their professional and creative development,” said Charlie Wall-Andrews, SOCAN Foundation Executive Director. “In the current pandemic context, these awards are especially valuable as music creators are facing greater challenges, and have limited opportunities across the country.”

The SOCAN Foundation Awards for Emerging Screen Composers is designed to recognize Canadian screen composers who are 30 years of age or under for original musical themes or scores created exclusively for audio-visual support (TV, film, etc.). Cash prizes worth $26,000 in total were presented to the winners of the competition’s four categories. Jury members included recognized film composers Viviane Audet, Mark Korven, and Erica Procunier.


Grand Prize
Alexandro Manzon for La Camicia (The Shirt)

Best Original Score—Animated
1st Prize—Iva Delic for Dream Cream
2nd Prize tie—Benjamin Goldman for Teddy Bear Protection, and Joey Reda for Cycle

Best Original Score—Fiction
1st Prize—Spencer Creaghan for The House Abandon
2nd Prize—Simon Piché-Castonguay for Take me to a nice place

Best Original Score—Non-fiction
1st Prize—Dillon Baldassero for Zone Rouge
2nd Prize tie—Claudie Bertounesque for Mélissa et le Jackalope, and Camille Poliquin for Ainsi soient-elles

Best Original Theme (opening or closing)
1st Prize—Spencer Creaghan for Dog Cried Wolf
2nd Prize—Simon Piché-Castonguay for Germain s’éteint

SOCAN Foundation Awards for Young Composers is designed to recognize Canadian composers who are 30 years of age or under for original concert music works. As of this year, the new names of the award categories are as follows: Grand Prize (formerly the John Weinzweig Award); the Chamber Ensemble Awards (formerly the Serge Garant Awards); the Solo and Duet Awards (formerly the Pierre Mercure Awards); the Electroacoustics awards (formerly the Hugh Le Caine Awards); and the Choral Awards (formerly the Godfrey Ridout Awards). Cash prizes in the total amount of $46,250 were awarded to the finalists in the competition’s five categories. Jury members included Rodney Sharman, Nicole Lizée, and Jean Lesage.


The $3,000 Grand Prize for the best overall work went to Félix-Antoine Coutu for Têtard, tête à tête.

The Choral Awards, for works of any number of voices with or without instrumentation and/or electroacoustics.
1st Prize—Félix-Antoine Coutu for Têtard, tête à tête
2nd Prize—Scott Ross-Molyneux for Seaside
3rd Prize—Arie Verheul van de Ven for I Crossed the Border from Niagara Falls to Buffalo by Foot
Young Composer Award—Ian Chan for Wander

 The Electroacoustic Awards, for live or recorded electroacoustics, where the intended performance is, at least in part, through loudspeakers. Works in this category may be multi-media, and may include acoustic instrument(s) or voice(s), live or recorded. The principal element in the work must be electroacoustic.
1st Prize—Simon Coovi-Sirois for Trois perspectives sur une entropie positive
2nd Prize—Carmen Vanderveken for Danse tribal
3rd Prize—Brooklynn Whidden for Hilarious
Young Composer Award—Seth Gordon for Cloudbusting

 The Solo and Duet Awards, for solo or duet compositions, with or without voices and/or electroacoustics.
1st Prize—Liam Ritz for TURN: SPIN
2nd Prize—Roydon Tse for Release
3rd Prize—Francis Battah for Six Préludes
Young Composer Award—Jules Bastin-Fontaine for …cette route cette vallée désormais/tu ne les verras plus de sa présence illuminées… 

 The Chamber Ensemble Awards, for compositions requiring a minimum of three performers to a maximum of 12 performers, with or without voice and/or electroacoustics.
1st Prize—Christina Volpini for upon unknown arts
2nd Prize—Liam Ritz for Colour Palette #1: images of Gros Morne
3rd Prize—Matthew Knights for Distorted Reality; Imaginatively Amended
Young Composer Award—Haotian Yu for Ritual II

 The Large Ensemble Awards, for compositions requiring no fewer than 13 performers up to a full symphony orchestra, which may include vocal participation, and may be scored to include electroacoustics.
1st Prize—Liam Gibson for Monstera Deliciosa
2nd Prize—Bekah Simms for Bestiary I & II
3rd Prize—Christina Volpini for as within, so without
Young Composer Award—Leo Purich for L’Histoire de Moz, Musical Tale for Orchestra and Narrator

For more information on SOCAN Foundation award winners, click here.

SOCAN and Pop Montréal co-presented their “Cooking Beats” workshop on Sept. 25, 2020, with special guest, Montréal’s iconic beatmaker, Shash’u. This free workshop, hosted by SOCAN A&R Representative Widney Bonfils, was presented online for the first time. The event was two-fold. First, Widney and Shash’u talked about the origin of the artist’s passion for beat-making, and then they switched to the more technical side his specific creative process.

Shash’u’s cousins, multi-talented artists in their own rights, introduced him to hip-hop culture and music, including pioneers like Ice Cube, Snoop Dogg, and A Tribe Called Quest, to name but a few. Hip-hop became a passion for him because the culture was an outlet where he could develop his talent for drawing, dancing, and beat-making. Those three creative branches are solidly anchored in Shash’u’s artistic universe. Where dance is concerned, competition is at the heart of his development, and he actually thinks that’s what’s missing in Québec’s beat-making scene.

As he puts it, “Competition breeds innovation. If the boys in New York, back in the day, kept to themselves, we wouldn’t have the hip-hop we know today. Similarly, the East Coast/West Coast rivalry played a key role in the evolution of hip-hop.” He stresses how crucial it is to have a space for healthy competition and meetings for the younger generation of beatmakers, to help stimulate creativity and allow for the sharing of knowledge.

Shash’u also shared some of the technical tips and tricks of his compositions, as well as some advice for pitching for a potential collaboration. “Besides the obvious e-mails and meetings,” he said, “I’ll often send the artist a file of sounds and beats that I think they’ll like. That lets them hear the full spectrum of styles and sounds I have to offer.”

Last year, it was Foxtrott who shared her music creation techniques and processes during this interactive workshop. The previous one, in 2017, hosted Montréal-based duo Banx & Ranx, who also shared their music-production knowledge and tips. Attendees of the 2020 Cooking Beats workshop walked away with new production techniques, and also had the opportunity to witness crucial values for social as well as musical well-being; respect, open-mindedness, and the collaborative spirit.