Gabriola Island writer and musician Cassandra Blondin-Burt has launched a new livestream series featuring indigenous performers, the Medicine Talk Connector. (Photo courtesy Cassandra Blondin-Burt)

Gabriola musician launches new livestream series featuring indigenous artists

The Medicine Talk Connector aims to foster resilience and a deeper respect for the arts

A local musician and broadcaster has launched a new indigenous-focused livestream performance series to help people find meaning, connection and a deeper appreciation of the arts in uncertain times.

Gabriola Island resident Cassandra Blondin-Burt, host of Medicine Talk Radio on Vancouver Island University’s CHLY radio station, started her Medicine Talk Connector series in mid-March, just around the time COVID-19 precautions led to the cancellation of gatherings and the closure of venues. Blondin-Burt said the pandemic is taking an existential toll as well.

“I feel like right now with the COVID-19 crisis and everyone staying home and our social institutions so being disrupted, so many people feel like … the things the previously defined them, how they felt about themselves, how they went about their day, aren’t there,” she said. “So people are struggling for meaning.”

Blondin-Burt said the arts have a therapeutic role they can play in guiding people through the COVID-19 era. She said her series is aimed at “connecting people with artists and with stories that help them retain their resilience and come out the other end maybe not stronger, but better off than we would have been.”

Blondin-Burt, whose family hails from the Yellowknives Dene First Nation in the Northwest Territories and also has Scottish and Scandinavian ancestry, said that while performing arts are sometimes “devalued to simply entertainment,” “without generalizing too much, with indigenous culture, people who make music, people who create songs, who create performance, are medicine people. They are core to our survival. Our spiritual thriving.”

“More than anything right now I wanted to put forward this idea that the indigenous music makers, performers and medicine people, the story tellers, are actually giving birth to the medicine that we need for our societies, indigenous or not,” she said. “And that by coming together and connecting, even in this crisis, and dancing together and moving together and listening to music together, that we can really co-create the kind of society ideals that we want to see happen.”

While the Medicine Talk Connector is streaming musicians and dancers for now, in the future Blondin-Burt is thinking of bringing in spoken word poets and theatre artists, as well as speakers to discuss topics like indigenous and non-indigenous relation building and other informative content.

“I’m looking at showcasing holistic experts in well-being to talk about mental health and physical health during the COVID-19 crisis,” she said. “We’re trying to become a platform that just puts out good messages that don’t forget the crisis that we’re in but that give us tools of resilience to get through it.”

Information about upcoming streams is available on the Medicine Talk Connector Facebook page.



arts@nanaimobulletin.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Music

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Nanaimo tech company redesigns Re/Max Europe’s flagship website

Real Estate Webmasters brings marketing tech innovations to network spanning 40 countries

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Property tax increase ‘heartless’ in these hard times

Pandemic has cost people their jobs, notes letter writer

Provincial funding will help Regional District of Nanaimo create poverty reduction strategy

RDN partnering with member municipalities and Islands Trust on regional study

Search and rescue crews help locate 62-year-old Nanoose Bay mountain biker

RCMP: Man got lost on trail and did right thing by calling for assistance

Parcel stolen from front porch, Nanaimo RCMP looking for suspect

Unidentified woman allegedly stole package containing $400 smart watch

22 new COVID-19 test-positives, one death following days of low case counts in B.C.

Health officials urged British Columbians to ‘stand together while staying apart’

Beefs & Bouquets, June 3

To submit a beef or a bouquet to the Nanaimo News Bulletin, e-mail editor@nanaimobulletin.com

John Horgan says COVID-19 restrictions won’t be eased regionally

B.C. Liberals urge ‘tailored’ response based on infections

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world in ways that would have… Continue reading

Federal aid for care home systems needed ahead of second wave, advocates say

Ontario Long Term Care Association calling for more action

B.C. woman, 26, fatally shot by police in Edmundston, N.B.

Police were conducting a well-being check at the time of the incident

Horgan calls for national anti-racism program; will pitch idea to PM, premiers

Premier John Horgan said he’s horrified by the death of George Floyd in the United States

Chilliwack dad rescues two young daughters after truck plunges into lake

“I used every single one of my angels that day,” said Dennis Saulnier

Most Read