Supporting Bermuda’s Musicians
Madam President, as Bermuda and the rest of the world grapples with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, it has become increasingly clear that during these times where physical distancing is required to keep our citizenry safe, arts and culture play a key role in bringing us together to help ensure our emotional wellbeing.
However, Madam President, despite the ability of the arts to uplift and inspire us; the individuals who are the creators of these experiences that we all enjoy have also been affected by the pandemic.
I recognize and appreciate that performing artists, especially musicians, have been disproportionally affected by our current inability to gather in large numbers for safety reasons. This has also had a knock-on effect for Bermudians in some of the audiovisual technology fields, since sound amplification, staging and lighting of concerts, talks, and other performances have been diminished.
Madam President, for this reason I am pleased to share two new initiatives undertaken by the Department of Community and Cultural Affairs to provide support to these artists. The first initiative is a lunchtime concert series branded as “Creatives Live!”. The series features singers and bands performing on the steps of City Hall every two weeks, on either a Friday or Saturday afternoon.
The support offered by this series is manifold: in addition to the musician being given an opportunity to perform, we are also using this series as a way of drawing attention to an online artists’ registry established by the Department, at www.Creatives.bm. The purpose of this registry is so members of the public interested in hiring a musician, videographer, or another type of creative will be able to get a sense of their talents and experience from viewing the catalogue.
Madam President, Creatives Live! is meant to focus primarily on established and experienced performers who have been financially impacted as a result of the pandemic. However, the Department of Community and Cultural Affairs has as part of its mission “To develop our creatives”. To this end, this concert will also serve as a developmental opportunity for some younger, less experienced musicians looking for chance to show off their talents.
Madam President, because of the limits on the sizes of gatherings, for now this series is intended to be enjoyed as people walk past the performance while tending to their business in the City of Hamilton. This is also a way of enlivening the City and providing an upbeat atmosphere that can be enjoyed by the general public.
The Department of Community and Cultural Affairs will record all of these performances which will be made available on the Department’s YouTube channel:“Bermuda Culture”. For those of you who missed Joy T. Barnum’s beautiful performance last week Friday, I would encourage you to support the performance by The Unit band next week Saturday.
Madam President, I am pleased to say that this is not the only initiative undertaken by the Department of Community and Cultural Affairs to support musicians. Earlier in the year, the Department provided support to DJ Barry G for a radio programme where he was featuring the music of Bermudian musicians. Since then, working with the Department, Barry G has recorded a series of short videos with singers including Kaelyn Kastle, Savanna, Mizzle and Chinyere to be released shortly that the musicians themselves will be able to use for promotional purposes.
So as you can see, Madam President, there are measures being put in place to assure that our artistic community remains strong as we navigate the challenges of the pandemic. The Department of Community and Cultural Affairs is committed to working with our creatives to assist them with the promotion and development of their skills, and to provide ongoing opportunities to support them in showcasing their considerable talents.