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It's particularly important to us to support women in the music industry: SaskMusic's Lorena Kelly

by Scott Roos

Sunday night at 7pm, SaskMusic will be celebrating Saskatchewan women in music with their third annual International Women's Day Concert via Facebook. It's an understatement to say that it's a "different" year. This year SaskMusic is working in the "new normal" (probably a euphemism many of us are tired of hearing) for concerts of this magnitude but yet, the show must go on.

"We did a series of concerts the previous two years and were set to expand our shows again this year, if not for the pandemic," explained SaskMusic Communications & Operations Manager Lorena Kelly in a recent conversation with NSMZ.

"We are always looking for opportunities to present unique events that can promote Saskatchewan artists," Kelly continued.

The mandate to promote Saskatchewan artists aside, SaskMusic obviously also sees International Women's Day as a key day in the calendar year to raise awareness for women's issues and to promote inclusion in music in the province.

"It's particularly important to us to support women in the music industry as we recognize many challenges that create an unequal environment - from shockingly low female representation on festivals bills - which is starting to very very slowly improve - to siloed playlists on many commercial stations," explained Kelly.

The result, as shown on SaskMusic social media outlets, is an astonishingly diverse lineup of artists for this year's installment of the annual International Women's Day concert. It's a nice cross section of talent from around the province and a good mixture of established talent, up and comers as well as relative unknowns. Due to the digital nature of the show, artists were limited to one song and had to record and film the performance themselves.

"We had artists submit if they were interested in the show, gave them some minimal criteria for filming their song, and then had them upload a song, which went on to be juried. It was a different process than we normally have used. We were looking for appealing songs and videos, not necessarily the 'most professionally filmed' ones. Hopefully, there will be a little something for different music fans in the show," said Kelly of the submission and selection process.

You can check out the lineup of artists for yourselves here. It's going to be a great show with NSMZ's own Dara Schindelka set to perform. "Good luck" to Dara (it's weird wishing an artist who has already recorded her song good luck but this is just another way COVID has changed the way we do things) and good luck to all performers. SaskMusic also asks that in lieu of their ticket income going to charity this year, they would invite you to consider making a donation to the Provincial Association of Transition Houses and Services of Saskatchewan (PATHS), or to Unison Benevolent Fund.

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Saw the Prince Albert show at Jam Street last year and was so glad I went. Fantastic talent and a great show. Hope I can go in person next year!

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