Robbie Robertson Receives Governor General's Award

by Cindy McLeod,Jazz Elements

The Governor General of Canada Awards for lifetime achievement for performing arts will be handed out in a private ceremony on Friday, Nov. 3rd, in Ottawa. Blues-rock legend Robbie Robertson has been named a 2006 recipient of the prestigious award in recognition of his outstanding contributions to the music industry in Canada. One of blues-rock music's most influential musicians, the singer-songwriter, guitarist and producer is a living symbol of the nation's multicultural character. "He is a living symbol of brilliant roots musicianship, spiritual insight and Canada's multicultural character, " the awards jury stated.

The son of a Mohawk mother and a Jewish father, Robertson grew up in Toronto and on the nearby Six Nations Reservation. He first rose to prominence in the early 1960s as part of The Hawks, backing rockabilly star Ronnie Hawkins. That group evolved into The Band: they toured with Bob Dylan, performed at Woodstock, and released a string of hugely successful albums, including Music from Big Pink (1968), The Band (1969), and their swan song, The Last Waltz (1976), also captured in a feature-length documentary directed by Martin Scorsese and produced by Mr. Robertson.

He began an extended association with Scorsese, collaborating on the music for Raging Bull (1980), King of Comedy (1983), The Color of Money (1986), Casino (1995), Gangs of New York (2002), and The Departed (2006). He also produced and starred in films, including Carny (1980) and The Crossing Guard (1995).

Robbie Robertson's hit songs range from such classics as "The Weight, " "Up on Cripple Creek" and "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down" to the more recent "Showdown at Big Sky" and "Broken Arrow." He has performed with such stars as Neil Young, Joni Mitchell, U2, Peter Gabriel, Daniel Lanois and Gil Evans. He has released four recordings and was profiled in a PBS special about Native American music. He is currently working on a Native North American Broadway musical.

The other recipients of the Governor General's Award for Performing Arts 2006 include Lorne Phillips of television comedy fame, Mark Starowicz, a veteran CBC broadcaster and documentary filmmaker; Jacques Languirand, a longtime Radio-Canada broadcaster; Albert Millaire, a theatre actor and director; and Joysanne Sidimus, a dancer, writer and arts activist.

Montreal philanthropists Georges and Sherif Laoun are this year's recipients of the Ramon John Hnatyshyn Award for Voluntarism in the Performing Arts. Richard Bradshaw, director of the Canadian Opera Company, receives the National Arts Centre Award for exceptional achievement during the past performance year.

The Awards Gala will be telecast in English on CBC Television, Thursday January 4th, 2007 at 9:00 p.m. and can be heard on CBC Radio-Canada on Sunday, December 10th, 2006 at 10:30 p.m. for more informationvisit

write your comments about the article :: 2006 Jazz News :: home page