Terrace musician Jim Ljungh is one of many residents in the region who have been sharing music on the Facebook group “KISS MY ASS COVID 19 Music Channel”. (Screenshot)

COLUMN | The show must go on(line)

Music Matters columnist Cameron Bells talks about how musicians are reacting to COVID-19

By Cameron Bell

As the coronavirus pandemic continues to spread and threaten our physical health, the social impacts of physically distancing ourselves from others are starting to show.

Just as we were ready to emerge from winter hibernation into a summer of festivals and barbeques on the patio, we’ve been given a social obligation to stay home and avoid gathering in groups.

However, in response to the widespread cancellation of events for the foreseeable future, musicians around the world are using the internet to share hope, happiness, and creativity in these times of isolation.

In the span of only six days, a new Facebook group called “Kiss My Ass COVID 19 Music Channel” has attracted over 700 members to share music and enjoy listening to artists from the Northwest.

Started by local musician Percy Gavronsky, the group invites “any musical artist of any discipline and any level, to record a performance or several of their choosing, of themselves, playing whatever they want to play… no rules, collaborate, create, it’s not a contest, nobody makes any money. Just bring it!”

With the goal of soothing “our addiction to local live music” and creating a space for people to share homegrown music, Percy was pleasantly surprised with the rapid growth of the group.

READ MORE: COLUMN | Professional therapy through music in the Northwest

The original scope of the group included Terrace, Kitimat, and Prince Rupert, but after a contribution from Elijah Larsen of Hazelton/Smithers, Percy changed the group description to encourage participation from a broader area.

“Exclusion sucks, especially in times such as this,” he says, although he still firmly believes that the amazing talent in our vibrant local music community in the northwest is an anomaly compared to other regions.

While Percy has posted some music online before, it’s the first time he’s created a group like this, and he’s thrilled that “many of the members are taking the time to comment positively on many or all of the contributions so far”.

Posts from a wide variety of local musicians have attracted dozens of likes and comments, and the most popular video so far is a video of Percy himself singing an acapella version of the song “Lucky Lips” while on a road trip.

Live broadcasts are also becoming more popular among performing musicians, such as the concerts hosted by Saltwater Hank of Prince Rupert or Brock Paciejewski of the band Patchwork in Prince George.

If you’re looking for some more folk and bluegrass recordings during your days at home, check out the YouTube channel “Live from Here” hosted by Chris Thile of the band Punch Brothers, and his new series “Live from Home”.

It’s a tough time for everyone, but let’s hope that, in Percy’s words, we can “expand our musical horizons by listening to something unique, while we endure this temporary darkness in an otherwise brilliant world.” Music Matters is one of the four columns by local writers that explore Northwest food, music, art and mental wellness.

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