Kym Gouchie will perform at Parksville’s Knox United Church on June 9. (Red Works Photography)

Kym Gouchie will perform at Parksville’s Knox United Church on June 9. (Red Works Photography)

Singer-songwriter Kym Gouchie to play at Parksville’s Knox United Church

Performer working on children’s album in ancestral languages

Renowned singer-songwriter Kym Gouchie will play an evening of traditional First Nations, folk and country music at Knox United Church (345 Pym St.) in Parksville on June 9.

Gouchie, who has been performing and recording music professionally since the late ’90s, plays the acoustic guitar and a traditional hand drum. She will be accompanied by multi-instrumentalist Naomi Kavka, who she has played with over the years since they met and became friends at a music festival.

Most recently she has been working on a children’s album in her ancestral languages on a Canada Council for the Arts grant.

“I’m going to pull out a couple of kids songs on my ukulele, which I just learned how to play. I got a ukulele for Christmas,” Gouchie said. “I learned how to play it on YouTube.”

Writing is a cathartic process for Gouchie, who said music has provided her an outlet to grow, heal and express herself. She said she writes and sings about subjects people don’t often talk about, such as the trauma caused by the residential school system and the foster care system.

“I do it in a way that I feel is gentle and always brings it around to a positive, so that I’m being mindful that people may be opening to subjects, such as domestic violence, such as violence against women,” Gouchie said. “But bringing it back around into gratitude and just being on that healing journey and knowing that we all have the power within us to make a decision in how we want to move forward and I happen to move forward through music.”

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She is still getting used to performing in front of live audiences after two years of virtual performing. It was an adjustment to switch from clicking a button to begin a livestream, to being with people and having conversations after a show.

“That used to be my favourite part, but I found it really exhausting,” Gouchie said, adding it is also a relief to be able to perform live again. “Smiles. Being able to see people’s faces is just everything.”

Before going on stage, she will prepare with a cup of tea and honey for her throat, as well as a smudge ceremony and some deep breaths.

Gouchie grew up in a house of musicians. Some of her musical influences include her father and two brothers, as well as Anne Murray, Patsy Cline and Buffy Sainte-Marie.

She is an elder-in-training of the Lheidli T’enneh Nation, also known as Prince George, and she also has ancestral roots in the Cree and Secwépemc Nations.

Gouchie’s songs reflect a lot on social justice and she said she considers it music for the soul, which people can really use after a tough couple of years. She said she is honoured to be touring again, especially since so many artists have had a hard time lately.

Tickets are $25 and can be purchased online and at local retailers Close to You Ladies Fashions and Fireside Books. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and the show starts at 7:30 p.m.


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