2021 Folk Music Ontario Board of Directors Election

It’s time for the 2021 FMO Board of Directors Election!

ONLY FMO MEMBERS are able to vote in this election. Each member in good standing will be receiving a unique ballot and link via email.

Festival Members – with one vote cast 15 votes
Organizational Members – with one vote cast 3 votes
Individual Members – with one vote cast 1 vote

There are 11 candidates for 6 positions on the 2021/2022 FMO Board. The candidates are listed below in alphabetical order.

For those who can vote, Please make your six selections below before Friday, September 3, 2021!

For more information, or if you haven’t received your email link, please contact Joel at office@folkmusicontario.ca.

Emma Cloney – Winnipeg Manitoba

Professional, creative, motivated, and a good dose of humour.

Emma Cloney has been an established member of the Folk community for more than ten years. With several musical projects to date and best know for her role as one half of the Winnipeg MB based duo The New Customs. A diversified “Jill of Trades”, Emma not only works as a full-time musician touring North American with her duo but, also works as a registered nurse. In addition to her work as musician and a nurse Emma also operates Safety Lemon Designs and works as a graphic and web designer. The skills for design and web creation were born out of her work as an independent musician. Emma is often sought after for her organizational skills, professional management and business savvy, and limitless creativity.

Reason I am running for the Board:
Emma Cloney is an outspoken advocate and an established change maker. There is nothing more powerful that a positive attitude and a willingness to get something done. Emma is a natural born leader and tends to inspire those around her. Full of creative ideas and outside the box thinking and educated to boot! Emma would make an excellent addition to any professional organization.

Cécile Doo-Kingué – Montreal, QC

Award-winning artist Cécile Doo-Kingué is considered one of Canada’s finest guitarists and singer-songwriters. First generation from Cameroon, the NYC-born Montrealer has released four albums to critical acclaim, received 8 Maple Blues Awards nominations and has extensively toured domestically and internationally, including most major folk, blues and jazz festivals in Canada, earning a reputation for blistering live sets, strong social commentary and guitar prowess. She has opened for, shared a stage and/or recorded with Montreal Jubilation Choir, Canned Heat, Angelique Kidjo, Ruthie Foster to name but a few.

In 2008, Cecile and Gern Vlchek co-created Chick Pickin’ Mondays, offering a safespace and equitable gig for women and genderqueer artists. Cécile has since expanded the concept to curate and present private showcases at music conferences including FMO and FAI.

Reason I am running for the Board:
As a director, I’d be bringing not only an independent artist’s perspective but that of an artist stemming from multiple, still underrepresented groups in the industry. I believe it could be a good opportunity to advocate for more equity and accessibility for the diverse folk community through both policy and programs. Having participated for over a decade as an artist, a youth mentor, a panelist and private showcase presenter, I’m also familiar with various aspects of the conference. Improving outreach to more diverse and younger folk community members as well as finding ways for more intergenerational and cross-cultural exchanges would be main focal points of working towards more inclusion, representation and empowerment of the full spectrum of our community.

Umair Jaffar – Toronto, ON

Umair Jaffar is the Executive Director of Small World Music, one of Toronto’s pioneering and most significant presenters of culturally-diverse music. Since arriving in Toronto in 2014, he has worked in curatorial and management roles at cultural institutions including the Aga Khan Museum and Harbourfront Centre. Prior to immigrating, he was the CEO & Artistic Director for IPAC (Institute for Preservation of Art and Culture), a Pakistan-based non-profit social enterprise that focused on developing sustainable solutions for preserving and promoting indigenous, folk and traditional performing arts. Umair also serves as a board member for several non-profit art organizations including CAPACOA, North York Arts and MusiConnect Asia. He has an MBA from University of Adelaide, Australia and a MSc Cultural Anthropology from University of Oxford, UK.

Reason I am running for the Board:
I believe my training in business management, finance, and strategy coupled with experience working in the culture sector will make me an asset to the board. I have been in a leadership role at small world music, through which I have gained nonprofit management experience and funder relationships that can benefit FMO.

I have extensively worked with diverse music forms and numerous cultural communities, most of whom are absent from stages across Canada. I believe that I can play a role in building bridges – such that there is an equitable representation of these communities, artists, and music at FMO and its members.

James Keelaghan – Perth, ON

Current Artistic Director of the Summerfolk Music and Crafts Festival and the Stewart Park Festival as well as a touring and recording singer-songwriter. I have JUNO Awards and Nominations and ditto for the CFMA’s. I have made my living in the music industry as my sole source of support for 35 years regularly touring Canada, The United States, Australia, Nw Zealand and Europe. I served on the board of FMO for a number of years, but had to resign 3 years ago for personal reasons. I am more steady now in my personal life and would like to get get involved with FMO again, especially at this time. I believe my perspectives as a presenter, a performer, a fan and a journalist allow me to see the industry from a unique vantage point.

Reason I am running for the Board:
I believe my perspectives as a presenter, a performer, a fan and a journalist allow me to see the industry from a unique vantage point. As mentioned above, I did serve on the FMO board previously so I am familiar with the workings of the organization. I am accustomed to heavy work loads and deadlines and I work well with others.

Mat Landry – Toronto, ON

Mat Landry is a Canadian drummer, percussionist, producer, and composer. His touring and session work experiences include performing on impressive stages and studios in Canada and Europe for artists such as Patrick Watson, Robert Paquette, Moscow Apartment, Marie-Clo, and MCLEAN. Landry also represents artists such as Stef Paquette, Céleste Lévis, and AfrotroniX as their agent at Groupe JKB.

Landry graduated with a bachelor’s degree from The School of Creative Industries at Ryerson University in the spring of 2021. With an additional minor in Music & Culture, combined with his continued dedication to his musical craft, Mat Landry is a new age triple-threat. Mat Landry is knowledgeable and experienced in notions of governance, facilitation, business structure, financial statements, contracts, business in the music industry, policies, and the impact of associations/organizations like Folk Music Ontario, Folk Music Canada, and Folk Alliance International.

Reason I am running for the Board:
With more than a decade’s experience as an artist entrepreneur, Landry is sensitive to what artists and their surrounding team expects from an organization like FMO, FMC, and FAI and events that are produced by such bodies. He has also participated in multiple yearly conferences as a backing musician for Moscow Apartment, Stef Paquette, Marie-Clo, and Martine Fortin. His active involvement in the francophone music scene and his Northern Ontario roots would also be an asset to the FMO board and its members.

Jorge Miguel – Toronto, ON

I am a Spanish Canadian Flamenco Guitarist, composer, producer and budding singer. I have played over 1000 shows from coast to coast including countless Folk Festivals. I have released 3 CD’s of original material over 20 years. I won the 2013 CFMA for Global Artist of the year. I won the FMO Songs from the Heart – Global Roots in 2019. I have attended and showcased at FMO, Mundial Montreal, and many Contact events from coast to coast. I have been a full time professional musician since 1995.

Reason I am running for the Board:
I have the utmost respect for Artists and those that present Artists, having been on both sides of the equation. I would like to help FMO remain relevant by adapting and including musics of the world. I have been a Board Member of FOSP (Friends of Sorauren Park) for over 10 years, which has included taking the musical and cultural lead in our public events. I have also been teaching Music Business part time at Seneca College’s IMP (Indie Musician Program) since 2004.

Teresa Nelson – North Vancouver, BC

Teresa is an Artist Manager and co-owner of Traverse Music Management, representing Indie/Folk/Roots artists from all across Canada. Based in North Vancouver, BC, Teresa is an avid outdoor enthusiast who believes in helping artists grow their career in an effective and sustainable way. She has always been surrounded by music and the arts and is proud to be a member of the vibrant Folk Music Community.

Reason I am running for the Board:
I’ve been working in the Folk Music industry for the past 5 years or so and have found the FMO conference to be a particularly special event with a strong sense of community. I would love to bring some new ideas and a fresh perspective to the board during the amalgamation of FMO and FMC, and am very excited to see what this new organization can accomplish nationally. I have some policy governance experience, as I was briefly the agent/manager representative on the board for the BC Touring Council in 2019/20. I believe this is a truly exciting time in the music industry and I’d like to be a part of an organization that believes in opportunity and professional development for both artists and industry. Thank you for your kind consideration.

Yasmina Proveyer – Ottawa, Ontario

I immigrated to Canada in 2008 seeking a way to further develop my artistic career, after having a solid background in performing arts. Since 2011 I have been actively working not only as an artist manager for several musicians in the region but as an arts administrator and cultural connector. I have served as a jury for the City of Ottawa, the OAC, and FACTOR. Since 2015 I have participated regularly in WOMEX and Mundial Montreal. After 2 years co-chairing the Juno Awards Advisory Committee for the world music category I am currently the chair of the committee transitioning into the Global music category. Early in 2019, I co-founded along with Claudia Balladelli, the Axé Worldfest, an initiative that hosts concert series to promote and present world music artists in Ottawa, the National Capital Region of Canada. Early in 2021 we produced the first edition of Empowering Women in the Music Industry, a two-day online program that included webinars, talks and female artists spotlights.

Reason I am running for the Board:
I am aware of the current challenges of the Canadian music industry and from my angle as a black women who is a cultural connector and an arts administration I can contribute and add value as an individual. I enjoy working with a diverse team towards making the most effective decisions for an organization. I believe I can be a great asset to the Folk Music Ontario as this position would be not only a great opportunity to continue supporting creativity but also to nurture a diverse, equitable and inclusive framework.

Jesse Reid – Yellowknife, NT

Seeking out a climate where it can hurt to breathe, Jesse moved to Yellowknife, Northwest Territories over a decade ago. Coming for the frostbite, but staying for the amazing arts community, Jesse has spent the past 7 years working in various capacities in Yellowknife’s Music industry. Her primary roles have been managing award winning Yellowknife artist, Digawolf, and providing contract work to the largest local music festivals including: Artist Relations Manager for Folk On The Rocks (2016, 2017, and 2018), and Sponsorship Manager for the Snowking Winter Festival (2018). Jesse has additionally worked with other organizations and artists in the capacity of communications, grant writing and event organizing.

Reason I am running for the Board:
Jesse has experience working on virtually every side of the music and arts scene. As an artist, an industry professional, and from the role of a festival and event coordinator, Jesse understands the different needs of people working in the different aspects of this industry. Jesse works as a communication professional, and additionally offers a wide range of skill sets that are commonly under demand: event management, web editing, social media management, and project management. Additionally, having lived in Canada’s North for over a decade, Jesse offers a unique perspective for musicians and artists who live and work in remote communities.

Candace Shaw – Toronto, Ontario

Candace Shaw is a Feminist, Cultural Producer, and Activist who has been a fixture on the Canadian music scene for almost thirty years. She was the long-time Artistic Director for the Peterborough Folk Festival, Chair of the Shelter Valley Folk Festival, and Booker for the Music City Summer Series in The Distillery District, Toronto, amongst other roles. She is a thoughtful, engaging, and provocative commentator and advocate for women, the arts, and arts workers’ rights, and in 2019 was a candidate in the Federal election. Candace is the founder of Secret Frequency.ca, a not-for-profit advocacy and education organization working with under-represented people in the Canadian music industry. ”

Reason I am running for the Board:
I believe I am an excellent candidate for the FMO Board of Directors; I am a long-time advocate on behalf of artists, and have been involved in music presentation, promotion, and booking for almost 30 years. I’ve been a strong supporter of FMO, including a term on the Board in 2008-2009. I have many years of experience on Boards of Directors, and a history of supporting and promoting Folk music in Canada and abroad. My strong ties throughout the community, my life-long passion for arts and culture, and my experience throughout my long career mean I have a deep skillset and am ready for the challenges facing the organization in these exciting but uncertain times.

Tara Williamson – Victoria, BC

Tara Williamson is a member of the Opaskwayak Cree Nation and was raised in Gaabishkigamaag (Swan Lake, Manitoba). She is a singer/songwriter with 2 EPs and 1 full length album under her belt that have garnered acclaim across Turtle Island, including an Indigenous Music Award nomination for Best Pop Album in 2017. Her newest album, Enough, was released in June of 2021. Tara also holds degrees in social work, law, and Indigenous governance, is a Senior Researcher at the Indigenous Law Research Unit at the University of Victoria and a Research Fellow with the Yellowhead Institute.

Reason I am running for the Board:
Tara has experience of various boards as a director and officer – including arts organizations and social service agencies. She is also a trained facilitator and has worked as a consultant in the fields of Indigenous governance, law, policy, and strategic planning. Tara also has a law degree (although is not currently practicing and cannot provide legal advice to the board).


FMO Award Weekend Sept.25-26, 2021
FMO 2021 Virtual Conference Sept.27-Oct.1, 2021

Members Early Bird Deadline – August 23rd, 2021
Pay What You Can (Suggested Rate $25)
Click here to register now!
Click here for more info!

The 2021 FMO Conference is coming this September! FMO members are invited to take advantage of the Early Bird rate! Members of the general public will then be invited to register for the event as well!

Schedule information will be announced in the coming weeks! Stay tunes to the newsletter and conference website for the latest on speakers, showcases, and award nominees!

Interested in becoming a member? Join Folk Music Ontario to connect with Canada’s largest provincial networking organization devoted to the folk, roots, and traditional music community. By becoming a member of FMO, you become an integral part of the ever-expanding network of folk activities across Canada.

Click here for more info on membership!

Call for Applications: Folk Music Ontario Board of Directors

NEW DEADLINE: 11:59PM ET, Friday, July 23rd, 2021
Online Nomination Form
What to Expect if You’re Elected

Folk Music Ontario (FMO) is now seeking individuals to stand as candidates in the 2021 election of its Board of Directors. Directors will be elected by electronic ballot (or acclaimed) ahead of this year’s Annual General Meeting (September 23, 2021) with terms concluding with the 2024 AGM. For 2021, FMO is looking to fill six board positions through this process.

Continued folk organization amalgamation discussions and complications caused by the COVID-19 pandemic present a challenging yet exciting time in the history of FMO. We require a dedicated board to support staff in guiding the organization forward as we continue to support the growth and development of the folk music community and industry.

Discussions have been ongoing regarding the potential merger of Folk Music Ontario and Folk Music Canada, becoming one national body representing the folk music community. It is expected that the 2021 Board of Directors will play an important role in the ongoing discussion and potential creation of a new, national organization.

Nominees are required to read our What to Expect If You’re Elected document to better understand the responsibilities of board members.

It is preferred that people use the Online Nomination Form, especially during the current COVID-19 pandemic, but if an alternative is required, please contact fmonominations@gmail.com.

Please submit nomination forms by 11:59PM ET on Friday, July 23rd. We thank all our members for their continued support of the organization, and hope some of you will step forward to help guide FMO into the future.

If you have any additional questions or wish to further discuss your interest in running, please contact Max Merrifield (FMO Nominations Committee Chair) at fmonominations@gmail.com.

Folk Music Ontario invites self-nominations from all qualified individuals. We welcome submissions from women, people with disabilities, people of colour, Indigenous peoples, and those of any sexual orientation or gender identity.

We welcome submissions from individuals residing outside of Ontario. FMO aims to reduce financial barriers to participating in Board activities. If the purchase of an FMO membership is prohibitive to you, feel free to contact FMO and inquire about accommodations.

BDRB: Declaration to End Anti-Black Racism in the Canadian Music Industry

BDRB (Breaking Down Racial Barriers) with partners CIMA (The Canadian Independent Music Association) and ADVANCE, Canada’s Black Music Business Collective, hereby call upon the individuals, organizations, small businesses, corporations and government institutions of the music industry to play a role in eradicating anti-Black racism in the Canadian music industry.

The eradication of anti-Black racism requires a commitment to anti-racism – an active, conscious and ongoing effort to work against racism: to acknowledge; to atone; to create mechanisms that dismantle systems which perpetuate racism, and to create actionable solutions with measurable outcomes.

Folk Music Ontario has signed the declaration, and we encourage you to read through and sign yourself.

Click here for more information!

Mark Your Calendars: 2021 FMO Conference Dates Announced!

The 2021 FMO Award Weekend and Conference will be held online. Save the following dates in your calendars: 
2021 FMO Award Weekend – Sept.25 – 26, 2021
2021 FMO Virtual Conference – Sept.27 – Oct.1, 2021

Stay tuned to this website, and subscribe to The FMO Newsletter for all the latest information!

Applications Open: 2021 FMO Awards and 2021 Online Showcases!

Folk Music Ontario is pleased to announce that our 2021 Award and Online Showcasing applications are now open!

PLEASE NOTE: Those who applied for a showcase at our cancelled 2020 conference can choose to move their application to 2021. You will still need to apply, but there will be no registration application fee as long as you are applying with the same material.

Application Deadline: Monday, May 31, 2021

2021 FMO Awards – More Info and Applications
2021 Online Showcasing – More Info and Applications

Update from FMO and FMC

Update from FMO and FMC

In 2019 information was collected through an online survey and at the Folk Music Ontario (FMO) Conference, a Town Hall was held after FMO’s Annual General Meeting to discuss the potential of a merger between Folk Music Ontario and Folk Music Canada (FMC). This discussion was based around the idea of creating a unified national arts organization for the folk community. At the beginning, both Folk Alliance International and the Canadian Folk Music Awards were involved in the meetings and discussions and will continue to be part of the process alongside a number of other organizations and stakeholders.

Based on your feedback from the town hall and online survey, FMO and FMC have formally started the consultation process with Art of Festivals. It was recommended that FMO and FMC merge to become a unified national arts service organization for the folk music sector in Canada. To keep the process moving forward, a change committee composed of Alka Sharma, Amie Therrien and Cassidy Houston from Folk Music Ontario and Julie Fowler, Karrnnel Sawitsky and Valerie Denn from Folk Music Canada has been assembled.

In addition to working with the Art of Festivals, we will be reaching out to you, the membership and the music industry, for feedback and discussion. We are committed to the principles of inclusion, diversity, equity and access and will instill a process to include a robust conversation about what a new national organization needs to look like to truly serve our entire Canadian folk community, including those who may not have been part of these organizations in the past. .

In the meantime, if you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to both Executive Directors of each organization. Their contact information is below.

Alka Sharma, Executive Director, Folk Music Ontario

Karrnnel Sawitsky, Executive Director, Folk Music Canada

2020 FMO Awards Weekend!

The Folk Music Ontario Awards are presented annually at the Folk Music Ontario Conference. Winners perform at the Awards Showcase and are recognized at the Awards Brunch. As the 2020 Conference could not happen in person, Folk Music Ontario is pleased to present the awards ceremony and showcases online!

The 2020 Awards could not have happened without the help from our partners: Bandzoogle, The Ontario Arts Council, ACTRA-RACS and Stakeholder Research Associates!

Click here to view all the 2020 Award Winners!

2020 Folk Music Ontario Awards Ceremony – Hosted by Preetam Sengupta
Friday, October 23, 2020 – 7:00pm EST – via Zoom!
RSVP required!
To secure your place, please send an email to office@folkmusicontario.ca!

2020 Folk Music Ontario Awards Showcases – Hosted by Magoo
Saturday, October 24, 2020 – 3:00pm EST – via YouTube!
NO RSVP required! Simply visit our Youtube page to join the fun!
Click here to visit our Youtube page now!

SOCAN Songwriting Masterclass: An interactive workshop on the process of songwriting

SOCAN Songwriting Masterclass: An interactive workshop on the process of songwriting
click here for more info!
Tuesday, October 13, 2020 – 2:00-3:30pm EST via ZOOM

RSVP required! Send a note to office@folkmusicontario.ca!

Presented by SOCAN and Folk Music Ontario

The global pandemic has had far-reaching effects for performing artists. Direct consequences of this include loss of gigs and revenue, but what about the less obvious effects?

Songwriting, like any creative pursuit, can be arduous in the best of times. And while isolation has given artists much more time to write, many are struggling with a dry creative well. In an age where performances and creative gatherings are limited, how can artists stay motivated and inspired to create?

Join Juno Award winning artist William Prince and SOCAN A&R Rep Aidan D’Aoust for an open and engaging discussion on the process of songwriting. You’ll hear best practices, tips for motivation, and first-hand experience from one of Canada’s most well-respected songwriters.

Blackout Tuesday

Click here for some resources which you can access to learn more about anti-racism and what can be done. We will also be posting this under the resources tab on the website.

Folk Music Ontario is looking forward to working together in the future to help effect positive change in the community beyond this one day of action.