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Maestro Fresh Wes, Tegan and Sara honoured at 2024 Juno Awards in Halifax

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The top names in music gathered in Halifax Sunday night for the 53rd annual Juno Awards.

Singer-songwriter Nelly Furtado kicked off the show with a medley of her hits, including "Say It Right,” “Maneater,” “Promiscuous,” “Give It To Me," and “I’m Like a Bird.”

In addition to performing, Furtado was also nominated for a Juno and hosted the show.

Anne Murray prepares to present the award for group of the year at the Juno awards, in Halifax, Sunday, March 24, 2024. (Source: THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darren Calabrese)

The pop star’s first task as host was to welcome the pride of Springhill, N.S., on stage as a presenter. Anne Murray, who told the audience she had attended the very first Juno Award celebrations, handed out the trophy for Group of The Year to The Beaches.

The Toronto-based band, which also won Rock Album of The Year Saturday at the Opening Night Awards, closed out the show with a performance of their song “Blame Brett.”

“It was a high, it was amazing. It’s very important for us to take stock in these very important moments in our career and just to feel grateful,” said the band.

“I feel like we all really felt it tonight. We enjoyed the experience and we didn’t get nervous. We just sort of felt very grateful and proud to be where we were.”

Maritime moment

Indigenous artists Morgan Toney, Jeremy Dutcher, and Elisapie, along with dancer Sarah Prosper, came together in performance to welcome the Junos to Mi’kma’ki territory.

“It was amazing,” said Elisapie.

“I think people felt the connection, so I think that’s what’s important.”

“What happens when we share our language… is that it gets felt. Even if people don’t understand it, there is a feeling that is indescribable,” said Dutcher.

Jeremy Dutcher and Elisapie arrive on the red carpet for the Juno awards, in Halifax, Sunday, March 24, 2024. (Source: THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young)

Music Hall of Fame

Rapper Kardinal Offishall was on-hand to induct Wes Williams, aka Maestro Fresh Wes, into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame.

Maestro, who was also the first rap artist to have a song inducted into the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame, thanked the fans who supported his music throughout his career. He also saluted the city of Saint John, N.B., where he now lives.

“This is incredible … this is a beautiful thing being here. Thank you to CARAS (Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences) for acknowledging me,” said Williams.

“I wrote my first rap in 1979 and I never thought that in 1991 I would receive the very first Juno award for rap music. In that moment I felt great, but that same time songwriting icon Leonard Cohen received his hall of fame award and I was instantly humbled. Who would have thought in 2024 I would be standing here on stage holding the exact same award.”

Nova Scotia rapper Classified joined Furtado on stage later in the evening to introduce a performance by Maestro Fresh Wes.

Maestro Fresh Wes receives his induction into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame at the Juno awards, in Halifax, Sunday, March 24, 2024. (Source: THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darren Calabrese)

Tegan and Sara

One of the most prestigious awards given out by CARAS is the Humanitarian Award, which was presented to Tegan and Sara by Halifax-born actor and producer Elliot Page.

The pop-indie duo was recognized for their work with the Tegan and Sara Foundation, which fights for LGBTQ+ equality and justice.

“The Tegan and Sara Foundation has one simple mandate — to provide safety and community to 2SLGBTQ+ people,” said Page.

“Tegan and Sara have proven time and time again their commitment to ensuring that the lives of 2SLGBTQ+ people are happy, healthy and, most importantly, long.”

The sisters thanked the 2SLGBTQ+ organizations they’ve worked with across the country.

“Thank you for existing and for standing up for our community. To the many who have come before us and fought before us, we share this honour with you.”

Elliot Page embraces Tegan and Sara as they accept the humanitarian award at the Juno awards, in Halifax, Sunday, March 24, 2024. (Source: THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darren Calabrese)

Multiple wins

A number of artists won multiple awards this year, including Montreal’s Charlotte Cardin. The singer was the top nominee of the night, with a total of six Juno Award nominations. She took home Album of The Year and Pop Album of The Year. Cardin was also one of the night’s performers.

“It was a big celebration tonight,” said Cardin.

“I had a lot of fun the entire performance."

Charlotte Cardin performs at the Juno awards, in Halifax, Sunday, March 24, 2024. (Source: THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darren Calabrese)

Oji-Cree musician Aysanabee was recognized with Alternative Album of The Year and Songwriter of The Year.

Rap Album of the Year went to Toronto rapper Tobi, along with the award for Rap Single of The Year.

Calgary’s Tate McRae won Single of The Year for her hit “Greedy.” McRae also picked up Artist of The Year.

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