'Northerners have music inside': Musician encourages locals to join global event

This Saturday is Play Music on the Porch Day, a global event Yellowknife musician Mary Kelly is encouraging people in the North to join.

Play Music on the Porch Day set to take place in cities across the world on Aug. 25

Mary Kelly plays guitar with her niece Ruby. She says Play Music on the Porch Day is an opportunity for people to take action and make music on Saturday. (Submitted by Mary Kelly)

What if, for one day, everyone across the world stopped to play music?

That's the idea behind a global event one local musician is encouraging Yellowknifers to join this weekend. 

It's called Play Music on the Porch Day and Mary Kelly says it's as easy as going outside and singing, strumming a guitar, whistling a tune or even tapping on an overturned pail.

"Everybody has some type of music to share and northerners have music inside of them," she said. "There's a lot of support for music in word but this is an opportunity for people to take action."

'Music brings people together'

Kelly calls herself a "community musician" and said it's about making music accessible to a wider audience. For her, music is about making relationships and connecting to people.

"I think music brings people together and it also provides an avenue for people to express their thoughts and feelings and their ideas about themselves and the world around them," she said.

Mary Kelly plays music at Sombe K'e Civic Plaza in Yellowknife. She says while there can be a lot of social barriers to making music, people 'just need to give it a go.' (Submitted by Mary Kelly )

Kelly quit her government job in order to pursue music full time.

"I couldn't envision myself staying at a desk for the rest of my life." 

But Kelly said there can be a lot of social barriers that prevent people from creating music.

"Maybe we're worried that we don't sound good enough or that no one's going to join us," she said. "But it takes that little bit of courage to just step into it, and when you're actively playing music already, that happens so much more naturally."

Even as a musician, Kelly said she still has those fears.

She wants to give others the same opportunities to make music that she's had. She said she grew up around music and started taking formal piano lessons when she was 10 years old.

Kelly recommends finding encouraging friends to share music with.

"When you open the door, 20 more doors open and so you just need to give it a go and do it for yourself because it feels good," she said.

Thousands of musicians to join globally

Play Music on the Porch Day was founded by Los Angeles-based artist Brian Mallman and started in 2013.

According to the global event's website, thousands of musicians from 400 cities in at least 40 countries participated in 2017.

This year, Play Music on the Porch Day is on Aug. 25. 

Kelly said it's the first time she'll be participating and, to her knowledge, the first time the event has been organized in Yellowknife.

A few other northern communities — Fort Smith, N.W.T., and two cities in Alaska — are also expected to take part, according to the Play Music on the Porch Day website. 

Those that get out and make music on Saturday are encouraged to share videos on social media with #playmusicontheporchday.

With files from Lawrence Nayally


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