IMA Music Panels

The Indigenous Music Awards Music Panel series is presented by the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network.

The Effects of the Pandemic

Tuesday, November 24,  2 p.m. CT.

Mezzo soprano Rhonda Head moderates this panel discussion on the changes in business and careers, the positive and negative impacts of the pandemic, what is the future of live music? Panelists Marie-Josee Dandeneau, bassist, composer and producer; and Vince Fontaine, musician, producer and artist of Eagle & Hawk and Indian City join Rhonda for this 45-minute discussion.

Rhonda Head

Rhonda is a six time International Award winning Classical Singer/Songwriter, Author, Producer, and Host for Indigenous Super Stars.
Rhonda was named top 100 amazing Manitobans by Virgin Radio Winnipeg's Ace Burpee and a 2019 Women of Inspiration Award. | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Marie-Josee Dandeneau

MJ DANDENEAU is a French Anishinaabe / Métis woman born on Treaty 1 Territory. She is an accomplished bassist, sound designer, composer and producer. Through her business, MJ Entertainment Canada Inc, she has worked and toured with various artists worldwide for the past 15 years. MJ’s extensive music career includes booking agent for Europe and Australia, Artistic & Musical Director, industry board member and funding assessor. MJ’s key focus and passion are supporting and empowering indigenous artists in successfully navigating the national and international market.  MJ has also had the opportunity to expand her musical reach by taking on roles as a Composer/Sound Design for musical theatres such as Royal MTC, MTYP, Prairie Theatre, Sarasvati Theatre and Theatre and Cercle Molière. | Facebook | Instagram

Vince Fontaine

Vince Fontaine is a Canadian musician, producer, and music builder based in Winnipeg Manitoba and one of Canada’s most important Indigenous composers. Celebrated for multi-award winning band Eagle & Hawk and his talented collective Indian City, Fontaine’s career spans over 25 years earning awards and recognition along the way. Most recently in 2020 Fontaine co-directed the CBC music documentary Eagle & Hawk Takes the Stage which looked back at 22 plus years of sharing music, culture and bridge building. Eagle & Hawk has released 10 studio albums since 1997 and Indian City has released 3 albums since 2012.

In 2011, Fontaine released his first solo album Songs for Turtle Island, a record exploring Indigenous  themes and instrumentation. Fontaine received an award for Aboriginal Songwriter of the Year at the 2012 Canadian Folk Music Awards. In 2016 Fontaine received Lifetime Achievement Award at the Indian Summer Music Festival. In 2017 Fontaine was inducted into the Manitoba Music Hall of Fame for his outstanding career. Fontaine remains committed and poised to share music and vision through what he calls “the red lens”. "My perspective is my unique experience as an Indigenous person" says Fontaine. Vince is also President and founder of Rising Sun Productions which is an entertainment company representing Indigenous talent. | | | Twitter | Instagram


Wednesday, November 25, 2 p.m. CT

Radio Active will be informative, fun and expand your horizons on achieving your radio play aspirations. Moderated by Jeff Leake, director of music programming for SiriusXM Canada is joined by two expert panelists: Melissa Spence, owner of Stoner Witch Records and Stoner Witch Radio; and David McLeod, CEO of Native Communications Inc., home of the Indigenous Music Countdown.

Jeff Leake

To say Jeff Leake knows music is an understatement. He has interviewed the biggest names in entertainment over his 20 years in radio. Leake, made a true impact in the Canadian Music industry when he signed on to launch the Canadian indie music channel The Verge for then XM Satellite Radio. His day-to-day is spent directing Canadian Music programming on SiriusXM, providing exposure to today’s most influential and independent Canadian bands to a North American audience. Leake is also venerable personality when it comes to his many hosting and industry jury panel duties. While attending over 150 live shows per year, Leake has hosted live broadcast recordings, awards shows and has sat on his share of panels across the country from NXNE, and the JUNOs to Canadian Music Week, The Manito Ahbee Festival, SXSW, Pemberton, PEI and Rifflandia. Leake can be heard on podcast “The Leake in Review”

Melissa Spence

Melissa is an Anishinaabe woman who runs her own record label and radio show out of Phoenix, Arizona.  She's worked extensively with Indigneous media since 2008 with the NCI FM radio network where she became host and writer of the Indigneous Music Countdown up until 2015 and did some smaller radio projects for the CBC.  Today she's the writer and host of IVMusic - and Indigneous radio program focusing on Indigneous artists and their stories from all genres and all directions.  She's also the one woman show (producer and host) behind Stoner Witch Radio established in 2016 to support underground heavy metal music on various platforms.

IVMusic | Stoner Witch Radio | Stoner Witch Records | Instagram

Dave McLeod

David McLeod (member of the Pine Creek First Nation) is the CEO of Native Communications Incorporated (NCI-FM), which operates a Manitoba wide radio network, heard from Winnipeg to Churchill via 57 transmitters and the Winnipeg station NOW Country 104.7 FM. In 2002, he was honoured with an “Industry” award at the Canadian Aboriginal Music Awards (CAMA's) in Toronto for his early contributions towards promoting Indigenous music through radio. In early 2006, he was instrumental in establishing a two-hour countdown now known as the "Indigenous Music Countdown" which is currently heard on 12 radio stations across Canada including SiriusXM. He is the Executive Producer of the IMC which has received two Aboriginal Peoples Choice Awards for ‘Best Radio Program’ which is now gaining international interest. David sits as a board member with the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network (APTN), Manitoba Film & Music and is on advisory committees with the Winnipeg Folk Festival and the Manitoba Music Experience. He also collects Indigenous vinyl and possesses over five hundred albums within many genres. David studied media at SAIT in Calgary and television at Ryerson University in Toronto.


Thursday, November 26, 2 p.m. CT

Examine the benefits and options of marketing your music in a digital world with industry experts. Leena Minifie (Gitxaala/British), a producer and digital strategy/communications expert who has worked as a media maker, journalist and change-maker for over 20 years; and Charlie Walls-Andrews (CCIP) executive director of the SOCAN Foundation join moderator Kim Wheeler, writer, producer and publicist.

Kim Wheeler

Kim Wheeler has brought positive Indigenous stories to mainstream and Indigenous media since 1993. She has carved out a career as a writer, publicist and producer across a variety of disciplines. Her audio work has been recognized by the New York Festivals, ImagineNative, Indigenous Music Awards and Prix Italia. Currently, Kim works from her treehouse media office with multiple clients in publicity, magazines, film and podcasts.

Leena Minifie

Leena Minifie (Gitxaala/British) is a producer and a digital strategy/communications expert who has worked as a media maker, journalist and change-maker for over 20 years.

She has produced stories for CBC Radio One, APTN National News, CTV and Knowledge Network. As a Digital Strategist, she has worked with large US non-profits, as well as large foundations promoting racial equity and social justice issues.

In her past life, Leena was heavily involved in music events and festivals. Leena both worked and volunteered at large festivals, including Decibel Electronic Music Festival in Seattle, Washington for over a decade, and five years at Community Festival of Electronic Arts in Boulder and Denver, Colorado. At these annual events, she rotated through promotions, merchandise marketing, artist services, and will-call manager roles. In various capacities, Leena was also actively a part of three techno collectives for over 20 years, and assisted with events in night club, after-hours and underground settings, as well as festivals in both Canada and the US.

Charlie Wall-Andrews

Charlie Wall-Andrews (MBA, MA, BA, CCIP) is a Trudeau Scholar, creative industry executive and Lecturer at the University of Toronto. As Executive Director of SOCAN Foundation, she established many programs such as the Creative Entrepreneur Incubator and Equity X Production Development Program which prepares artists to turn their passion and talent into a sustainable career.

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Presented by Manitoba Music

Friday, November 27, 2 p.m. CT

Sponsored by Indigneous Music

The music industry is a tough business but Indigenous women are tougher. Join panelists Elaine Bomberry, Shoshona Kish and Crystal Shawanda as they share their challenges and triumphs during the course of their on-going musical careers. Shaneen Robinson of Indigenous Music/Music Manitoba moderates.

Shaneed Robinson-Desjarlais

Shaneen Robinson-Desjarlais is a multi-award-winning journalist/broadcaster/writer who’s been on Canada’s media scene for two decades. Over the years she’s spent time at CTV News, APTN and NCI FM. She was honoured to win first place for the Canadian Aboriginal Writing Challenge in 2008 for her play, Notay Kiskintamowin “Wanting to Know”, the same year she was named a National Aboriginal Role Model by the Governor General of Canada—and graduated from the University of Winnipeg where she founded what is now known as the Indigenous Course Requirement and is recognized as Notable Alumni. 

A highly sought master of ceremonies, host, event planner, promoter, advocate, speaker, volunteer, marriage commissioner and karaoke connoisseur, Shaneen loves to keep a packed schedule and is also the Chair of the board of directors for Bear Clan Patrol Inc. and sits on the board of The Canadian Folk Music Awards. She has showcased Indigenous artists and their music throughout her career and is proud to be the Indigenous Music Development Coordinator for Manitoba Music. Above all Shaneen’s most important role in life is at home with her husband Martin and their sons Sampson and Marrick.

Elaine Bomberry

Elaine is Anishinabe and Cayuga, from Six Nations of the Grand River Territory, in southern Ontario Ontario. She has worked as a freelance Indigenous Performing Arts activist/promoter/manager/TV and radio producer full- time for 34 years. She now makes her home on the Capilano Reserve, Squamish Nation territory in North Vancouver, British Columbia, for the last 14 years.

Elaine is Manager for JUNO winner, Mohawk blues piano man Murray Porter, also from Six Nations, full-time for the past 14 years, but has worked with him throughout the years since 1990. She was also Associate Producer on his JUNO award-winning CD, `Songs Lived & Life Played’, and has emerged as a lyricist on his recordings, with a couple of songwriting credits on this release and his new album release, and is now a member of SOCAN. She’s Associate Producer on his new album, ‘STAND UP!’, and co-wrote with Murray Porter two new songs for this recording, which was released in February 2019. 

She helped create the ` Best Music of Aboriginal Canada’ recording category for the JUNO Awards in 1994, with Buffy Sainte-Marie, and Curtis ‘Shingoose’ Jonnie, and was the first Chairperson. In March 2018, Elaine was gifted from Buffy Sainte-Marie the JUNO she had just won to acknowledge Elaine’s work in establishing the Indigenous JUNO category.

ShoShona Kish

ShoShona is an Anishinaabekwe community organizer, producer, activist, writer & musician with the JUNO award winning band, DIGGING ROOTS. She serves as President on the Board of Directors for Folk Music Canada.  

Currently, she is working as a founder for international Indigenous Music Summit and touring across Canada and internationally with her new album, “Zhawenim”. Which translated from Anishinaabemowiin means “Unconditional Love”.

Crystal Shawanda

There’s a tendency these days to try to pigeonhole any artist that attempts to breach the boundaries. Chalk it up to the restrictions of radio playlists or the media’s attempt to strictly define musicians by the music it believes artists ought to be making, creative instincts be damned.

Nevertheless Crystal Shawanda opted to defy those demands and chart her own path forward. Initially signed to RCA in 2007, she hit her stride as a country singer and songwriter when she scored a top 20 hit with her song “You Can Let Go” and subsequently tallied sales of over 50,000 copies of her debut album Dawn of a New Day and subsequently debuted in the Billboard Top 20. Nevertheless, she began to realize that the blues had captured her muse, and with that, she left the label, shifted her stance and began recording albums that reflected her love of blues and her natural affinity for that sound. | Facebook | Instagram | Spotify | Twitter | YouTube