Photo by Justin Hall
He was facing off against better-known acts Amelia Curran and The Novaks, but Carbonear percussionist and composer Curtis Andrews took home the Atlantis Music Prize last night for his album of “world jazz niceness,” The Offering of Curtis Andrews.
Surprising, uplifting, and spontaneous, Andrews’ first album of original music is the result of a long musical journey, which included studies abroad in the villages and cities of Ghana, India, South Africa and Zimbabwe. It’s a wide collection of styles and intricate patterns, carefully constructed with the help of a host of talented local band-mates, including bassist Josh Ward (of Hey Rosetta!) and trumpeter Patrick Boyle.
An inventive and energetic drummer, Andrews has played in many bands in the capital city of St. John’s, most notably lately with the popular 11-piece reggae/funk/party band the Idlers.
Andrews’ win brings to light a strong love of avant-garde percussion in Newfoundland and Labrador. His album is dedicated to the memories of Don Wherry (founder of the Sound Symposium) and John Wyre (one of the founding members of the world renowned percussion ensemble NEXUS) two of Andrews’ percussionist mentors, both highly influential in Newfoundland’s contemporary musical history.
The Atlantis Music Prize, patterned on the Canada-wide Polaris Music Prize, is given annually to the best full-length album from Newfoundland and Labrador, judged solely on artistic merit, without regard to genre or record sales. 2009 marks the second year the Atlantis Music Prize has been awarded.
An independent panel of 40 journalists, musicians, and people recognized for their knowledge and appreciation of local music submitted their top picks for the best album released between November 1, 2008 and October 31, 2009. The winning album was decided by a group of six selected jurors and announced to a packed gala show on Thursday, December 17th at The Rock House on George Street, in St. John’s.
The winner received a $1,000 gift certificate for the independent Newfoundland music store, Reid Music.
The Atlantis Music Prize Short List for 2009:
Amelia Curran – Hunter, Hunter (www.ameliacurran.com)
Chris Kirby – Vampire Hotel (www.chriskirbyonline.com)
The Class War Kids – Reflection! Rage! Rebellion! (www.myspace.com/theclasswarkids)
Curtis Andrews – The Offering of Curtis Andrews (www.curtisandrews.ca)
The Dardanelles – The Dardanelles (www.myspace.com/dardanellesmusic)
Errand Boy – Cape Disappointment (www.myspace.com/errandboy)
Kujo – Kujo (www.myspace.com/kujotherockband)
Map to Temenos – O! Sweet Guillotine (www.myspace.com/maptotemenos)
The Novaks – Things Fall Apart (www.thenovaks.ca)
The Once – The Once (www.theonce.ca)