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Painting Daisies wins Great Canadian Music Dream

It was sweet dreams for Painting Daisies on Wednesday night as the Edmonton band won the CBC's Great Canadian Music Dream.

The band will receive a $5,000 Galaxy Rising Star Award from the CBC and a one-hour special to air this year on the network.

"We weren't really nervous so much as you just go into a zone," said bass player Carolyn Fortowsky.

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The band has a country-blues look with the cowboy hats, daisies, banjos and slide guitar but the sound is more hard rock.

They describe themselves as a cross between Led Zeppelin and the Bangles.

The win is the latest in a string of successes for the band, which has been together for seven years.

They have already toured Iceland and Holland and won the 2001 Prairie Music Award for entertainer of the year.

"This is another step towards getting where we want to go, with international recognition," said band co-founder and lead singer Rachelle Van Zanten.

The prize money will go towards their touring debt and a new CD, Van Zanten said.

And for drummer Kim Gryba there was an extra.

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"They're giving me the drum kit," Gryba said after the show.

She didn't bring her own, so the producers furnished a set and when her band won, they told her they'd throw in the kit for good measure.

Many of the performers were calling it not so much a competition as a showcase, especially as the contestants were so varied.

The competition pitted the classical chamber music of Borealis String Quartet with the gospel stylings of Mark Masri and the rock of Mark Bragg and the Black Wedding Band.

The Borealis String Quartet was first to perform Wednesday and served notice with the lightning attack of the initial bars that they were not going to let anyone cling to their sober stereotypes of classical music and chamber quartets.

The musicians from B.C. - Joel Stobbe, Nikita Pogrebnoy, Patricia Shih and Yuel Yawney - practically flew out of their chairs, so vigorous and physical was their playing.

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Jimmie Inch from Nunavut delivered a beautiful ballad in a rich, expressive voice with guitar accompaniment by Glen MacIsaac, who composed the song, called Can You Hear.

Bragg and the Black Wedding Band from Atlantic Canada drove hard and irresistibly through a rock-punk song which included a trumpet solo.

Masri sat at a piano and poured out a gospel song in a voice that spanned several octaves and boasted every trill and technical flourish imaginable.

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