On Friday night, Yellowknifer and Juno award winner Leela Gilday will perform some of her new songs for the first time in a Facebook live video stream from her home.
This wasn’t her original plan. Gilday was supposed to premiere the songs at the Snowcastle’s now ironically titled Cabin Fever Reliever last Friday.
“This situation is evolving so rapidly. A couple of weeks ago I was shocked the gig at the Snowcastle was cancelled,” Gilday said. “Looking back, it was a no-brainer.”
Her Friday live video will begin at 7pm.
The event at Snowking’s Winter Festival was the first of many upcoming shows to be cancelled. Gilday has since had gigs as far away as July and August pulled due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
She told Cabin Radio the Snowcastle show was important to her not just for the income, but also because she hadn’t played that venue in more tan 10 years.
With the show cancelled, she still wanted a way to perform – and saw artists across the country sharing free online performances to replace lost concerts.
“After a couple of days of grieving the loss of that special event, I thought it would be really great to do an online concert,” she said.
“We are all staying home and, more and more each day it’s becoming clear there won’t be any big social gathering for some time now.”
Soon after she began to plan, the National Arts Centre and Facebook Canada announced a $100,000 relief fund – entitled #CanadaPerforms – to pay Canadian performers for online shows. The amount was soon doubled following a contribution from Slaight Music.
Through the fund, selected artists receive $1,000 for their streamed performance. Each show is broadcast on the National Arts Centre’s Facebook page and the artist’s Facebook page.
Gilday was one of the artists selected to share a show on Facebook. She says she’ll use the money to help cover the cost of flights and accommodation booked to bring her band up for the Snowcastle show – money she wasn’t able to recover.
“It feels nice to be a part of something that’s promoting empowerment and healing,” she said, describing #CanadaPerforms as a way for artists to select their most meaningful and uplifting songs. Gilday hopes the shows bring people joy and take their focus away, for an hour, from the anxiety and stress of the pandemic.
“It’s important to keep doing the things that make you happy – while following public health guidelines,” she said, noting the importance of social distancing or self-isolation to protect vulnerable communities and Elders.
Find the schedule for #CanadaPerforms here. Other artists in the line-up include the likes of Serena Ryder and Folk on the Rocks favourite Alex Cuba.