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Local Jewish Winnipeg Singer Jacob Brodovsky Wins Canadian Folk Music Award

Jacob Brodovsky. (he supplied the photo for publication)
Jacob Brodovsky at BB Camp

In a celebration of creativity and talent, Winnipeg’s own Jacob Brodovsky clinched the prestigious Canadian Folk Music Award for Songwriter of the Year. This accolade not only acknowledges Brodovsky’s remarkable musical accomplishments but also shines a spotlight on the rich tapestry of cultural diversity woven within Canada’s folk music scene.

Brodovsky, a Jewish singer-songwriter, has long been a stalwart presence in Winnipeg’s vibrant music community. His folk music seamlessly incorporates elements of other genres and storytelling traditions. With a voice that resonates with authenticity and lyrics that delve deep into the human experience, Brodovsky crafts songs that are both introspective and reflective while simultaneously conveying universally relatable messages.

Brodovsky’s win at the Canadian Folk Music Awards is a testament to his dedication to the craft and his ability to connect with audiences on a profound level. His songs serve as a poignant reminder of the power of music to transcend boundaries and bring people together, regardless of background or belief.

As a Winnipeg native, Brodovsky’s triumph is also a source of pride for the local music scene, highlighting the city’s reputation as a breeding ground for artistic talent and creativity. His success serves as inspiration for aspiring musicians and songwriters, proving that with hard work, passion, and a commitment to authenticity, anything is possible.

The Canadian Folk Music Awards were created in 2005. This year, they celebrate their nineteenth edition with a diverse range of talented Canadian nominees from ‘coast to coast’. This year also saw a record number of nominations, spanning over twenty categories. In part, this is why Jacob told me he thought he had no chance of winning —there were just so many contestants.

Nevertheless, the Canadian Folk Music Awards nominated Jacob in November of 2023. He was nominated for ‘Songwriter of the Year’ due to the success of his album “I Love You and I’m Sorry”, which he released last September. “It is sort of like my debut full-length record”, Jacob said.

I asked him about the musical process and influences involved in making his album, and he said, “I’ve been working on it for about three years, writing for about five years, but recording for about two years.” One of the challenges he faced while working on it was COVID-19, which extended the time it took to complete, he explained. However, because of the delays imposed by the pandemic, Jacob told me, he was able to get a number of different friends from the music scene to sing on it, including a few notable names: Madeleine Roger and Liam Duncan from Boy Golden, Jason Taite, from Bahamas, and Julie Penner from Broken Social Scene.

“It’s just really nice to be able to include
a bunch of people from the community.”

In fact, Jacob told me that he and Jason (who played drums with the popular band, ‘Bahamas’ for years) made most of the record in his garage.

Jacob continued, “And then, I very surprisingly got nominated: the album got nominated for Songwriter of the Year with the Canadian Folk Music Awards, which was frankly a complete shock.”

Jacob thought it was a pipedream to win the award.

He didn’t even show up at the award ceremony and was absolutely shocked when he found out that he had won. Pleased nonetheless, he recounted that “What was even more shocking was winning. “I don’t know,” he said. “I just really wasn’t expecting it at all. That’s probably because of who I was up against —pretty serious people… I just thought there was just no way in hell.”

What makes Jacob’s nomination and victory even more extraordinary is his lack of formal music training. When I asked him about his process for writing his songs, he revealed that he is mostly self-taught, only taking guitar lessons until he was around the age of 12. He can’t really read music too well, just the treble clef if he tries hard, he tells me. But, he says, “I just sort of pick up stuff by ear.”

I asked Jacob what happened after he won the award, and he said, “A few offers have come in, which has been nice —Lots of nice messages from folks. I’m hoping to continue making records in Canada; you know, the grant system is very, very important. So, with provincial and federal grants for musicians, certainly winning this award, this type of thing helps with that.”

Talking about his ambitions, Jacob continued, “Hopefully, it’s sort of a resume builder kind of thing. And look, it’s a really, really nice thing to sort of put on a festival application. I’ve got two records written, demoed, and ready to go. So, I’m hoping to get some funding and record them starting in the fall. One of the records I’m gonna make with Jason again, and it’ll be like a kind of a continuation of the first record in a lot of ways. And then the second one is sort of a new duo project.”

Jacob also brings his love of music to B’nai Brith Camp, which he manages along with his wife, Lexie Yurman. BB Camp is a local gem. The Jewish outdoors camp nestled off the coast of Kenora on Town Island is a self-described home away from home for many Winnipeg Jews. This year, they celebrate their 70th anniversary!

Due to its wilderness location BB is naturaly predisposed to focusing on being an outdoor activity-orientated camp. While art and music are still an aspect of camp, the main focus is being on the lake, enjoying nature; So, I asked Jacob why and how music is important to the camp and how he chooses to incorporate it at BB.

Jacob responded, “I mean, I think there’s two things in the world that I love: music and summer camp, particularly BB camp. I feel very lucky to be able to do both. Music is such an integral part of the camp experience. I think for any camp, really, camps are centred around traditions. And, you know, I think it’s so important and special and impactful when a nine-year-old camper comes to camp for the first time, and we have our opening night bonfire and, you know, we’re singing the same songs around the fire that their parents sang when they came, or their grandparents sang, you know? And that’s what really helps us build community, build cohesion, and keep the culture alive.”

Jacob also loves singing out on the water and says music is an essential part of outtripping. “I know music. Music is such an integral part of camp and especially on canoe trips because, you know, when you’re paddling for ten hours in a day on the lake, you don’t really have much to do to pass the time, but sing.” Jacob continued, reminiscing about his time as a camper, he added, “I remember, like, when I was a kid, when we’d go on trips, it’s like we would sing through entire albums, you know, just as a way to pass the time. So, yeah, music is a really central part of what we do here at camp.”

*BB Camp is hosting an ‘Alumni Weekend’ from August 23rd to 25th. They are offering a weekend of ‘naches and nostalgia’, along with camp activities, food, accommodations, and boat transport between Kenora and Town Island. This experience is only available for the alumni and friends of BB Camp who were born before 1999. (age 25+) See website for details or phone: (204)477-7512

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

About the Author
I did my BA at Mount Allison University in Canada, studying History & Political Science. Thereafter, I began to pursue a degree in Journalism but took a hiatus from school to accept numerous job offers. I got my start in writing working for ERETZ: the Magazine of Israel in Tel Aviv, Israel. From my homeland Canada I have been published by both the National Post, and Jewish Post & News. The paper I currently write for and help publish is The Jewish Post -the successor to the now defunct paper: The Jewish Post & News. As a researcher and writer, I believe that applying historical context along with an in-depth knowledge of regional identity and political ideologies is the best way to identify and explain current geopolitical trends as well as forecast growing tension and unrest in future areas of conflicts -militarily, politically, and economically.
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