Kym Gouchie in the press
Gouchie working on children's album in ancestral languages
Prince George Citizen
JANUARY 10, 2021 06:07 AM
Renowned local Indigenous musician Kym Gouchie recently received a Canada Council for the Arts grant to create a children's album in ancestral languages. The album will be released next year. Photo by SimonSees Photography
Renowned local Indigenous artist Kym Gouchie woke up with a melody in her head recently and that's a great beginning for her next project.
Gouchie said she is the blessed recipient of a Canada Council for the Arts grant to research and compose a children's album in her ancestral languages.
Soon she'll be speaking with language keepers and mentors from all across the province, beginning with those here on the traditional territory of the Lheidli T'enneh.
"My inspiration truly was my late grandmother Mary Gouchie and just being an Indigenous person knowing that languages are such a vital part of our culture," she said.
There are very few Lheidli language speakers left and Gouchie knows that even within that language there are different dialects and to preserve the language for future generations is very important.
"I think truly what it is that I'm doing is a creative expression of my journey in learning the language of my ancestors," Gouchie said. "That includes Lheidli T'enneh, Cree on my father's side - I know more Cree than I do my other ancestral languages that also includes the Shuswap Secwépemc. So I've been really inspired by the fact that music can reach anyone. That means it can reach children and even adults and this album even though it's for children it's really for everyone and their inner child. I want to do something that's fun and engaging to preserve language which can be used in the classroom or in a home or in a daycare setting."
The songs will teach numbers, colours and animals.
"It truly is an expression of creativity through language and music," Gouchie said. "I'm just going to have fun with it and hopefully honour my ancestors and hold space for language, for culture, for stories, for my grandmothers, my grandparents who at points in their lives were punished for speaking their language and I'm very aware of that. I want to be the change. I want my grandchildren to be able to listen to these songs, to learn them and to understand who they are through music. It's difficult to teach someone their identity but I think music is a beautiful vehicle for that."
Gouchie said part of her ancestry also includes having an Irish bloodline so there may be a hint of that in the album as well.
Rae Spoon, a non-binary performer, composer, music producer, visual content producer/director and author, will be working with Gouchie on this project.
Because of the pandemic, the project will look a bit different in order to keep everyone safe, so instead of mostly in-person meetings, the research will be done through online avenues and luckily many of the language keepers and elders have those options available to them while others will be accessed by the telephone.
"I'm super excited to get started," Gouchie said.
"Hopefully if we get a flattened curve I could sit down with somebody but we're not pushing for that."
This month, she will work with the Lheidli T'enneh, February will see a connection with the Cree Nation and March will be the month to connect with the Secwépemc language keepers and elders. After that the writing process will begin.
Preproduction will begin in July when Spoon will travel to Prince George. Soon after that, rehearsal will start with artists that will be joining Gouchie on the album, including Brigitte Demeter from the Okanagan and Dan Barton from Edmonton.
The plan is to have the album released in January 2022 and start touring.
It took three applications before her project was accepted as a Canada Council for the Arts grant recipient.
Gouchie has been on the other side of it as a juror trying to decide between amazing projects so she understands how difficult it can be to choose and she's very grateful to be a recipient now, she added.
"Yes, there was a pretty big happy dance done over here," Gouchie laughed.
December 17, 2020 Four Connections Celebration: Winter Solstice 2020
PRINCE GEORGE MATTERS
Hanna Petersen May 14, 2020
A second annual Indigenous graduation ceremony in Prince George will move forward in a new way.
Last Spring, School District No. 57 (SD57) held its first-ever Indigenous graduation ceremony, known as Ts’udelhti, and brought more than 80 students and their family members together at Vanier Hall for a celebration of achievement and cultural identity.
Ts’udelhti will happen again this year, but in a different form because of the COVID-19 pandemic and social distancing protocols put in place by the provincial government.
For the second edition of Ts’udelhti, which means 'We Honour' in Dakelh Lheidli dialect, SD57’s Indigenous Education department is making a video that will seek to capture the spirit of a live ceremony.
The video will be available online to graduates and incoming Kindergarten students in late June and will feature many of the same elements as the inaugural event – congratulatory speeches by Nation dignitaries, an address by a graduating student who began his or her schooling in the Head Start program, and cultural performances.
“We will be recognizing the grads and their journey in the best way we can in the situation we’re in right now,” said Lance Potskin, who is working on Ts’udelhti 2020 with Lisa Provencher, Jennifer Pighin, Shendah Benoit and Noelle Pepin.
The list of guest speakers for the Ts’udelhti video is still being finalized, and the student who will give the address to fellow graduates and new Kindergartners has not yet been determined.
For entertainment, renowned Lheidli T’enneh folk singer Kym Gouchie will perform and so will jingle dress dancer Caitlyn McCarville.
Sophie Gray April 16, 2020
Former Penticton resident Kym Gouchie is joining the likes of Dan Mangan during a virtual concert put on by the Province of BC Thursday afternoon.
The Indigenous folk musician, who now lives in Lheidli T’enneh, her home community outside Prince George, was stunned when she got the call to perform.
“I feel super blessed. I’m still wrapping my head around it. They could have chosen anybody and they chose me and they chose three other artists so it’s just phenomenal,” said Gouchie from a home in Summerland where she’s staying during the pandemic.
Gouchie will be joining three other B.C. musicians during the Showcase BC Live concert on Thursday, performing a ten minute set livestreamed over Facebook to the whole province. She said although she thinks it’s a great way to get music into the lives of those stuck at home, she’s not sold on the form of delivery just yet.
FYI Music November 27, 2019
Last week (Nov. 19-22), world music conference and festival Mundial Montreal returned to the city for the ninth year, and reports suggest it was another significant success.
Fest co-founder and Canadian roots music veteran Derek Andrews supplied FYI with some stats that make for impressive reading.
Over 300 delegates from 20 countries were in attendance, with a gender balance of 50/50.
31 Canadian and international acts showcased. Some 68% were female or female-led, and indigenous artists were well-represented.
The showcases were scheduled so they never ran against each other, a popular strategy. Private presenter meetings evaluated showcases post-show.
A wide range of panel topics was discussed, from Idle No More IV to Breaking into MENA / Colombia.
MM's website describes the event as "an annual gathering of professionals in the world music industry. Mundial Montréal is a springboard for artists’ national and international career development."
Andrews reports that "The ninth edition of Mundial Montreal maintained the careful and results-oriented approach that has become our trademark. Showcasing artists got immediate results in a format enjoyed by talent buyers from across the globe.
"Our first talent buyers (concert/festival) from Estonia, Spain, Germany, Brazil, Colombia, Shanghai and a half dozen new U.S. markets joined a strong contingent from across Canada ranging from Vancouver Island Music Festival to Moncton’s Mosaiq Festival. Credit for the deeper international expansion goes to Canadian Heritage's Creative Export and Canada Council funding, a Justin Trudeau policy that is paying off for Mundial Montreal.”
Notable artists showcasing this year included Zaki Ibrahim, The East Pointers, Ember Swift, Kiran Ahluwalia, Murray Porter, Caracol, Tri-Continental, Midnight Shine, and Korean act NST & The Sauce Soul meets Kim Yulhee.
On Nov. 22, the Stingray Rising Star award was presented to BC Indigenous singer/songwriter Kym Gouchie. The jurors making the selection included Liz Scott of Mariposa and Estonia’s Viljandi Folk Festival artistic director Tarmo Noormaa. The award is accompanied by a $1,500 scholarship that will be used to develop the winner's career .
In a Facebook post, Gouchie noted "it's my first music award ever! Thanks to Music BC & First People’s Culture Council & Plaid People Music." Previous winners have included Boogat and Silla & Rise.
HAIDA GWAII OBSERVER
Andrew Hudson September 6, 2018
Singer Kym Gouchie can breathe easy now that she and her band Northern Sky are set to tour Haida Gwaii.
At home on the Lheidli T’enneh Nation near Prince George, Gouchie says the wildfire smoke isn’t so bad right now — but it was another story at the Roots and Blues Festival in Salmon Arm.
“There were times in between shows when I was actually wearing a mask to save my voice,” she said.
Together with her five-piece folk and bluegrass band Northern Sky — a group of standouts like Saltwater Hank and Danny Bell — Gouchie will kick off the Haida Gwaii Arts Council season by playing shows in Masset and Skidegate on Sept. 14 and 15.
Gouchie said it was a dream to play Edge of the World two years ago, and she’s glad to join the select few musicians who can turn heads by telling people they’re touring here.
Northern Shining Star Woman is Gouchie’s traditional name, given to her at a sweat lodge ceremony 20 years ago, and also the title of her first full-length album, which came out last year.
SALMON ARM OBSERVER
Martha Wickett August 20,2018
Kym Gouchie stands rooted on stage, her bare feet connecting her to the ground below, the powerful beat of her hand drum connecting her to her audience.
The song is Cleansing the Highway, one that stands out for her.
“It’s a spiritual experience. I bring myself back to that highway, I bring myself back to the feeling of where that song came from originally. It came from a place of fear and my drum absorbed that fear and turned it into song.
“I really believe it came from the trees, the sky, the earth and it came through me.”
The song, which features her rich, powerful voice in fusion with the hand drum, was born during a walk in 2016 along Highway 16 between Prince George and Prince Rupert. The walk was to raise awareness of the girls and women who were murdered or last seen there near the highway. While the RCMP officially list 18 women and girls, First Nations communities along the way estimate much higher.
THE PRINCE GEORGE CITIZEN
Frank Peebles November 27, 2018
Kym Gouchie is a singer-songwriter any aspiring musician would be wise to learn from. One of the reasons she is so acclaimed for her work is the spirit of aspiration she keeps alive in herself. She strives to be better at her craft and she flew right to the top of the songwriter mountain for her next lessons. She journeyed to Nashville where she spent 10 days working with BC Entertainment Hall Of Fame member Linda McRae on how to write a better tune.
McRae was a member of the Canadian Celtic act Spirit Of The West; she has been called in to collaborate by such luminaries as Bruce Cockburn, Neko Case and Paul Hyde; her songs have been covered by acts like The Skydiggers and lauded by ultra-producers like Colin Linden; she was one of The Primary Colours, a limited duration trio act with fellow stars Kim Ritchie and Doug Cox; one, and she has a loaded magazine of solo albums.
THE PRINCE GEORGE CITIZEN
Frank Peebles February 17, 2018
A collection of local musicians has announced a collaboration concert unlike any in recent memory on Lheidli T'enneh territory.
The show is working under the title For The People and it will come to life in the soft-seater setting of the Prince George Playhouse. In-house eyes and ears will be pleased in person but cameras will also roll for nationwide audiences.
The headline act will be Kym Gouchie and her band Northern Sky comprised of a stellar assembly of northern B.C. performers who all have established reps of their own: Naomi Kavka, Danny Bell, Jeremy Pahl, Amy Blanding, and Corbin Spensley. Each is busy with solo and band projects of their own, but for Gouchie they are united.
Joining in as support acts are Marcel Gagnon and Saltwater Hank, both with their own national profiles to offer the event.
Andrew Kurjata February 11, 2017
Classical music students in downtown Toronto have added an orchestral arrangement to a song about British Columbia's Highway of Tears written by a Lheidli T'enneh singer-songwriter in Prince George.
Kym Gouchie wrote Cleansing the Highway of Tears while taking part in a healing walk during the summer of 2016.
The walk was aimed at raising awareness about the women and girls who have gone missing or been murdered along Highway 16 between Prince George and Prince Rupert.
"Being out there on the highway with vehicles passing by, you have no idea who's approaching you, is a very, very scary and vulnerable feeling," she said.
THE PRINCE GEORGE CITIZEN
Samantha Wright Allen June 22, 2016
Under the branches of a Cottonwood Kym Gouchie spoke of the surroundings that inspired her latest song - a chant that reflects a local woman's efforts to cleanse the Highway of Tears. "It felt like it came from the trees, it felt like it came from the ground and it came from the sky and it just filled the drum and the voice filled the space I was walking it," said Gouchie as the National Aboriginal Day entertainment thrummed in the background. Gouchie joined Brenda Wilson-John on the last leg of her long journey from Prince Rupert to Prince George along Highway 16. During one five-kilometre stretch, the Lheidli T'enneh singer brought her drum. "All of my songs come from a place that is beyond my conscious level," she said. Through the minute-long song, Gouchie chants on repeat: "We are cleansing the Highway of Tears, as we walk, as we walk." - See more at: http://www.princegeorgecitizen.com/news/local-news/audio-highway-of-tears-cleansing-walk-inspires-song-1.2284204#sthash.niGHNvpm.dpuf
THE PENTICTON WESTERN NEWS
Dan Walton October 23, 2015
by Dan Walton - Penticton Western News
posted Oct 22, 2015 at 6:00 PM— updated Oct 23, 2015 at 11:16 AM
After enduring harsh circumstances, singer-songwriter Kym Gouchie is back in town to headline a concert and share her healing process.
After growing family roots in Penticton, singer-songwriter Kym Gouchie endured harsh circumstances, and she’s back in town to headline a concert and share her healing process.
“My show is called Home Away from Home because I spent 12 years here and this feels like home to me,” she said, adding that her children and grandchildren live in town. “This is really important to me because I’m sharing what I’ve learned and how I’ve grown in the last year with people that I care about and people who follow my music. I didn’t just choose Penticton out of a hat, I’m here to play in a community that I love.”
While living in the bedroom of her niece’s house who passed away in 2013, Gouchie was a resident of Penticton as recently as February. She then moved to Prince George to take care of her mother after learning she was diagnosed with cancer.
Gouchie said her mother is now doing well. The decision to move to Prince George gave her a change in pace that allowed her to reinvent herself, even at the age of 50.
“I have devoted my life to my music career and being with my mom has allowed for me to do this as we take care of each other.”
While her teen years are long over, Gouchie said she now feels like a teenager after graduating high school.
“The world is out there for me. Let’s just pick a direction and go. I’m feeling very adventurous.”
Gouchie performs at the Orchard House on Oct. 24 at 7 p.m. Opening for her will be Billy Walker, Chynna McLean and Jen Peters, as well as a latin dance set by Tasha Woiczyk. Tickers are $30 at the door or $25 in advance through St. Germaine Café and Classic Guitars.
THE PENTICTON HERALD
James Miller October 23, 2015
Posted: Thursday, October 22, 2015 3:35 pm
JAMES MILLER |
Kym Gouchie knew she had something special when she penned "Sister Rain", a track from her debut CD "Mountain of Youth."
"It's basically a song about my transition from living in the north to moving to Penticton," she said. "It was a really difficult move, leaving a community you love and experiencing the huge change," she said.
"When I wrote it, I knew I had something special. Brian Russell, who plays in my band said, 'You have a hit single.' It seems to resonate with people, women especially. They tear up when they hear it."
The song, which reached No. 1 on the Canadian National Aboriginal Countdown and has since received significant airplay in Alberta, will be included on her set-list when she performs her Home Away From Home concert, Saturday at Orchard House.
"I wrote a new song for the show and my set is mostly originals," she said. "I'll do Crazy and a CCR song, because people like familiarity, but I prefer to stick to my own material. I'm playing with a great back-up band and we have some wonderful opening acts so it will be a multicultural event."
A member of the Lheidli T'enneh band, near Prince George, she moved to Penticton 12 years ago but has since returned home to nurse her mother. She visits Penticton once a month, hence the title of her show, Home Away From Home.
Gouchie is glad to see that her songs are finding an audience.
"For the People", a song she wrote about residential schools, was included in the nation-wide Truth and Reconciliation CD.
More recently she was chosen as a showcase artist for the Northern Exposure concert in Wells, B.C. where she played in what she descibres as an "ancient, beautiful, character building" in front of industry leaders.
"Playing in front of your peers can be nerve-wracking but that was special. There was magic in the room, it felt like validation for me," she said.
Growing up in the north she loved all kinds of music with Anne Murray being her favourite. She finds it incredible to be sharing a stage with Brian Russell, a one-time member of Murray's back-up band.
Other musical influences from an early age include Patsy Cline, Buffy Sainte-Marie and Bonnie Raitt and, more recently, Lucinda Williams.
While some aboriginal musicians are hoping to break away and land in the pop or country mainstream, Gouchie is extremely proud to be known as an aboriginal artist.
"I feel really strongly that I'm representing the people and the nation and I believe in the message that I carry for the betterment of aboriginal people."
Opening acts at Saturday's show include Billy Walker, Chynna McLean and Jen Peters as well as a Latin dance set by Tasha Woiczyk.
Gouchie's band includes Brian Russell (bass), Theurein Myint (lead guitar, piano), Danny Sameshima (drums), Brigitte Demeter (piano, vocals) and Greg Leggot (percussion).
Ellis Avenue Band and Music Production Studio presents Kym Gouchie, Home Away From Home, Saturday at 7 p.m. at The Orchard House, 157 Orchard Ave. in Penticton. Tickets are $30 at the door and available for $25 until Friday at 5 p.m. at the Dragon's Den, St. Germaine Cafe and Classic Guitars. This is an all-ages event. Cash bar and snacks are available.