For a couple of months this spring, after the impact on the livelihoods of performing artists due to pandemic protocols became evident, the National Arts Centre stepped up to hire over 600 acts to present a series of live online video shows it called #CanadaPerforms which ran in bunches several days a week.
While there was undeniably a heavy bias towards Classical artists, the presentations ranged through traditional ol’ time and Country music to Rock, Blues, Indigenous music, Jazz, theatrical scores, poetry and more.
One of my favourites was surreptitiously transmitted live from Beijing by the quirky and innovative Canadian-born China resident, songwriter Ember Swift, about whom I’ve written many times over the past 20-plus years. [You can see it on her You Tube channel.]
Now the NAC has compiled all 600+ sets onto a page on its website, where they are available for free viewing. Artists are listed alphabetically by first name but I couldn’t see a search box, so if you’re looking for someone in the T’s be prepared to do a lot of scrolling! But there is a link to each artist’s performance or website.
On the website the NAC says it compiled the massive tome because: “#CanadaPerforms was initially launched as a short-term relief fund to help ease the financial strain for professional Canadian artists impacted by the closure of performance venues across Canada related to COVID-19. As a special gift to Canadians, we invite you to explore the past performances from over 600 artists from every region of Canada.”
While the site doesn’t have any further info and I don’t have a press release that confirms it, I have to believe that the artists will be getting paid something for their participation in this “Replay Performances” presentation from such a prestigious government-funded organization as the NAC, so hopefully that is the case.
One caveat: I found the page rather slow to load, no doubt because of the massive number of artists on it, so between that and the scrolling be prepared to spend some time. But if you’re interested in discovering new music and performance art talents, this site will definitely be worth that time to visit.