Jimmy Rankin, Natalie MacMaster win ECMAs, Beatons receive Stompin’ Tom Awards

Photo by Adam Cooke Longtime Creignish favourites Betty Lou and Kinnon Beaton were the first performers to take the stage at the Port Hawkesbury Civic Centre’s Shannon Studio for the Celtic Colours International Festival’s 2017 launch event. The husband-and-wife duo will play at two Celtic Colours shows in Inverness this fall, along with a handful of smaller festival events.

HALIFAX: Jimmy Rankin and Natalie MacMaster came away with one East Coast Music Association Award each, while Inverness County’s Kinnon and Betty Beaton received the Stompin’ Tom Award.

During the 2020 ECMA pre-awards show, Celtic Colours International Festival won an Industry Award for Event of the Year.

During the awards ceremony the next night, Jimmy Rankin was named the Fans’ Choice Entertainer of the Year, while Natalie MacMaster won in the Roots/Traditional Recording of the Year category for her recording Sketches.

“Although our plans for a big celebration in St. John’s were put on hold this year, we were very proud to produce this special program to pay tribute to our hard-working and deserving East Coast artists and industry professionals,” says Andy McLean, CEO of the East Coast Music Association. “We would like to express our sincere gratitude to all those who participated in the preparation of this show, to all those who tuned-in and to the city of St. John’s and the province of Newfoundland and Labrador for their inimitable hospitality over the past year.”

Earlier that day, CBC’s Weekend Mornings and CBC’s Weekend AM announced the winners of this year’s Stompin’ Tom Awards – honorary awards that celebrate individuals and groups from each of the ECMA’s five regions (Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick, Mainland Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Labrador, and Cape Breton) who have made a long-term contribution to the Atlantic Canadian music industry.

This recipients of the 2020 Stompin’ Tom Awards include Kinnon and Betty Beaton of Cape Breton. The Beatons are a husband and wife duo who were born and raised in two incredibly musical households. The two have played at local concerts and dances for over half a century. Besides passing down the melodies of his ancestors, Kinnon has written hundreds of tunes, many of which are being played regularly in Cape Breton and beyond. Betty’s style, meanwhile, is greatly admired by the younger generations of pianists.

Together, they’ve travelled throughout Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, and Denmark to play festivals and share the music of their heritage. They’ve recorded several albums and were also featured on two recordings produced by the Smithsonian Institute.