SaskMusic to host virtual concert event for International Women's Day

·3 min read
Regina-born musician Val Halla will be one of 23 performers in Sunday's International Women's Day virtual concert, hosted by SaskMusic.  (Submitted by Val Halla - image credit)
Regina-born musician Val Halla will be one of 23 performers in Sunday's International Women's Day virtual concert, hosted by SaskMusic. (Submitted by Val Halla - image credit)

SaskMusic is holding their annual International Women's Day concert Sunday night and due to the COVID-19 pandemic it will be entirely virtual.

Female music artists will be featured in the pre-recorded concert event that is premiering Sunday at 7 p.m. CST on the SaskMusic's Facebook and YouTube pages.

Lorena Kelly, a spokesperson for SaskMusic, said people can expect a great blend of genres during tonight's concert.

Kelly said the audition process was a bit different this year, as artists submit a video of them performing a song.

"We were really pleased to discover some new artists through this audition process this year and we've also got some familiar names who people may have heard on the radio or seen their performance before," Kelly said. "It's a really nice mix and I think there's going to be something for everybody."

She said SaskMusic had a difficult time narrowing down submissions and even went over the time they had allowed themselves for the concert. In the end, 23 provincial artists were chosen.

Heidi Munro, half of Munro & Patrick, a duo that will be performing in Sunday's concert, said an important thing to keep in mind during the special event is how difficult it was — and still is — for women to find success in the industry.

"I have great male friendships in the business and colleagues but you know you just always had this sense to work harder and to prove yourself," She said. "There is so many extremely talented female artists in our province and in Canada."

"I think that it's important that we celebrate each other, that we support each other and I think women in the industry are very well respected now."

Valerie McLeod — known as her stage name Val Halla — is going perform in Sunday's concert. She said she has her own challenging experiences at making it in Saskatchewan's music industry.

"I've even encountered stuff where now people are at least aware and trying to book more women on festivals and shows," McLeod said.

"You actually get told that you're fulfilling a quota."

She said she has heard from other women artists that festival organizers will contact women and say the festival is "short" on female performers.

"They're not saying 'I love what you do, I love your music' and even if they do, it's the wrong way to address it," McLeod said.

With the International Woman's Day concert, she said none of the performers feel as if they are simply "filling a spot."

"We actually get to celebrate what we do, we get to appreciate other artists," McLeod said.

McLeod said she believes tonight's show will be very unique since artists had to get out of their comfort zones to record their parts for the event.

"I ended up recording in my bathroom," She said. "It just had to be that way, I tried other places to make it look really cool and it looked great but sounded awful... It's very different."