FREDERICTON (CNB) - The Aboriginal Partnered Showcase was a huge success during the 2008 East Coast Music Awards, and has resulted in a permanent boost for local First Nations artists.

The goal of the showcase was to raise enough money to form the First Nations Artist Group Inc., which will promote and support New Brunswick Aboriginal musicians at home and abroad.

"We are so pleased that we were able to achieve our goal," said Gary Sappier, co-producer of the Aboriginal Partnered Showcase. "The First Nations Artist Group will go a long way in encouraging Aboriginal musicians, and showing what we have to offer."

Minister responsible for the Aboriginal Affairs Secretariat Ed Doherty was proud to be a partner and sponsor of this event.

"The East Coast Music Awards was not only a huge success for the City of Fredericton, but also for the Aboriginal musicians who were able to be part of the show," Doherty said.

The Aboriginal Partnered Showcase featured Aboriginal musicians playing a variety of music, from contemporary rock, blues and folk, to country and hip-hop. Artists included DNA and Catalyst, Razor Red, Ashley Bernard, Brendan Augustine and Gary Sappier Experience.

"Aboriginal people have always been rich in music and diverse in culture," Doherty said. "This event was an excellent opportunity to showcase their musical heritage nationally and internationally."

Doherty hopes that the East Coast Music Awards will make the Aboriginal Partnered Showcase a permanent part of the show.

The Aboriginal Affairs Secretariat will build a lasting relationship with First Nations through collaborative understanding and respect while celebrating our cultural diversity.