This October in Whitehorse, YT, BreakOut West will be honouring numerous musicians and pillars in the western Canadian music community. Today, the Western Canadian Music Alliance announced the 2019 recipients of its Heritage Award – local Yukon legend and musician, Hank Karr – and of its Kevin Walters Industry Builder Award – Duncan Sinclair, head of Jazz Yukon and long-time supporter and pillar of the music communities in the Yukon.
Each year, the Heritage Award is presented to a person who has made significant contributions to the music industry over the course of their career. The Kevin Walters Industry Builder Award is given to a person who has made a significant impact on the music industry through his or her mentorship, training and/or leadership.
Karr and Sinclair will be honoured and recognized at the WCMA Industry Awards Brunch on Saturday, Oct. 5 during BreakOut West in Whitehorse. The full list of 2019 WCMA nominees can be found here. Winners of the artistic categories will be announced on Thursday, Oct. 3 at the WCMAwards Reception.
About Hank Karr
Hank Karr was born in Wishart, Saskatchewan in 1939 and in 1964 he emigrated to Ketchikan, Alaska to begin a career in music, fully supporting himself as an artist at the Yukon Club. Later that year, he made his way to Vancouver where he was approached by the late Yukon singer-songwriter, Al Oster, and asked to go to Whitehorse. During his time in Whitehorse, Karr met his current wife of 54 years, Pam, and after his contract there was up they ventured down to Oregon, then in 1967, Anchorage. Singer, Bobby Bare, told Karr he should bring his talent down to Nashville, but Karr decided to stay north instead. He represented the Yukon during the Montreal Expo ‘67, did a CBC live recording with Al Oster, recorded another album called Stealing My World, and then returned to Whitehorse where he become a partner in leasing the Kopper King. After 1973 Hank went on to play and reside at the Yukon Inn, then the Klondike Inn, and the Hank Karr Band started the run which would become Hank Karr and Gold Fever. The band took over the music scene in Whitehorse. Over the years, Hank played in just about every bar in Whitehorse including the Bamboo/ Roadhouse, The Airport Chalet, and of course, he is a perennial favourite at the Royal Canadian Legion. In 1982, Paddlewheeler And Other Northland Ballads, was released on CBC Northern Service with songs by Al Oster. When asked why he never moved to Nashville, he replied, “Whitehorse has become my Nashville.” Hank’s love for the Yukon is clearly stated in his song, "Where Do You Go After Yukon."
About Duncan Sinclair
Duncan Sinclair has been called many things by community and family members alike. Musician, volunteer, father, husband and civil servant to name a few. His involvement with his community continues to be extensive, working alongside the Yukon Development Corporation, Instrument of Change, Music Yukon, Jazz Society of Yukon, Heart of Riverdale youth arts/community initiative, Yukon Arts Centre, Yukon Heritage and Museums Association and the Yukon ArtsNet Society. All these are arts and culture focused initiatives and are deeply rooted in the Yukon communities. The community recognizes Duncan as a committed and talented musician, whose work to support all Yukon performing artists makes him stand out as a true leader. He is currently the head of Jazz Yukon and is constantly on the go, organizing concerts and joint productions, meeting with performing artists to form new ideas and share information about how to turn concepts from imagination into reality. He is generous, loaning out equipment or supplies to other non-profit groups or performers, and often making personal donations and sponsorships to ensure events are financially viable. Duncan and his wife, Lori, are often in the audience at innumerable events, serving that all-too-important role of simply being present, to receive and appreciate what artists are there to offer.