British Columbia

B.C. musicians performing virtual concerts to connect with audiences

In light of COVID-19 and the need for social distancing, artists have taken to social media to stream live shows from empty theatres, their bedrooms and their basements.

'Our role ... is to provide fun and entertainment and that can't stop,' says Prince Rupert's Saltwater Hank

Jeremy Pahl, whose stage name is Saltwater Hank, hopes to stream regular Facebook Live performances from his home. (Submitted by Jeremy Pahl)

Using a laptop, a microphone and a selection of string instruments, musician Jeremy Pahl, known as Saltwater Hank, played a live concert from his bedroom Monday night that's been watched by more than 1,300 people.

In light of COVID-19 and the need for social distancing, the Prince Rupert, B.C.-based Tsimshian folk artist has cancelled his upcoming performances across the province.

Instead, he has decided to stream shows from his home using Facebook Live.

"It's very anxiety [and] fear-inducing seeing all of the things that are going on," Pahl told Daybreak North host Carolina de Ryk.

"Our role as artists and musicians is to provide fun and entertainment and that can't stop."

Watch Saltwater Hank's show streamed from his bedroom:

As of Monday, in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19, the province is asking British Columbians not to have gatherings of more than 50 people.

Pahl, a member of the Gitga'at community, is one of a growing number of musicians across B.C. that have taken to social media to broadcast their performances so people can watch from the safety of their homes.

Last Friday, indie-folk Prince George band The Ebbs cancelled its show at a local bar and instead performed via Facebook Live from the basement of a local house:

Meanwhile, Vancouver-based artist Dan Mangan posted to YouTube a recording of an audience-less version of his show in a theatre in Toronto:

And on a larger scale, more than 26,000 people tuned in to watch a Facebook livestream of the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra's performance of Beethoven's Symphony No. 6 performed in front of an empty theatre last Sunday.

"It seems like people all around the world are kind of coming up with the same idea [and] Facebook Live concerts are now going to be a thing. It's pretty cool to see," said Pahl.

He plans on doing more from his apartment soon.

"It was pretty nice to see like all the folks that were commenting," said Pahl.

"What I am aiming to do is just really provide maybe an hour of smiles and relief."

If you have a COVID-19-related story we should pursue that affects British Columbians, please email us at impact@cbc.ca.  

With files from Daybreak North

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