‘It’s like a dream come true’: Prince Albert to host inaugural SIMA Music Awards in November

The Saskatchewan Indigenous Music Association will host their first award ceremony in Prince Albert on Nov. 12. -- Submitted.

Eight months after their founding, the Saskatchewan Indigenous Music Association (SIMA) is ready for their first major event.

The inaugural SIMA Music Awards will be held at the E.A. Rawlinson Centre in Prince Albert on Sunday, Nov. 12. Prince Albert musician and SIMA board member Donny Parenteau said he’s excited to get the show going.

“It’s like a dream coming true,” Parenteau said.

“It’s one of those things where you feel you’ve always had this idea, you bring forward the idea, but it takes a team effort to make it a reality.”

Saskatchewan Indigenous musicians will compete for awards in 11 categories, including Male Artist of the Year, Female Artist of the Year, Emerging Artist of the Year, and Song of the Year. Nominations close on Sept. 21, 2023.

Parenteau said they’re hoping to draw more attention to artists who typically aren’t in the spotlight.

“There are a lot of Indigenous artists out there that sometimes people may not get a chance to see,” he explained. “That’s why we started this, so they have their own opportunity to come in and perform and be part of this and acknowledge their talent.”

Parenteau said he realized there was a need for an event to help promote and develop Indigenous artists while speaking in schools across the north. He said it was common to run into musically talented students who were unsure about how to break into the music industry.

He’s hopeful the new SIMA awards show will help provide a path.

“In that crowd there was always musicians and they would play, but they were never sure what to do,” he said. “Too many times their dreams would die in the four walls of their home, and they’re not sure where to go. This is going to be the launching pad for them.”

Since its founding in January, the Saskatchewan Indigenous Music Association has added more than 800 followers on its Facebook page. Parenteau said it’s encouraging to see how quickly the organization has grown.

“We just hope we can keep this going,” he said. “One of our goals is to be able to keep it going and to pass it down to the next generation.”

Nomination forms are available on the SIMA Facebook page. For more information, send an email to saskindigmusic@gmail.com.