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How Indigenous artists are getting even more creative during COVID-19 – TVO

by ahnationtalk on March 27, 202026 Views

Nightly internet talk shows. Streaming comedy. Ojibwe colouring books. Across the province, Indigenous creators are sharing their work — and trying to adjust to the new challenges of the pandemic

What’s an artist without an audience? That’s what Anishinaabe musician Brenda MacIntyre asked herself after a Toronto performance was cancelled due to COVID-19. “All of a sudden — boom,” she says. “Your gigs are just out from under you.”

She moved the show to the internet, but the drummer and singer, whose spirit name is Medicine Song Woman, says it’s difficult to sell online content when so much of it is free. So, although she says the concert has been met with a positive response, that hasn’t translated into ticket sales. “People are scrambling, and they’re afraid and holding onto their money, and many people are panic buying and all that,” MacIntyre says.

MacIntyre is one of many Indigenous artists, musicians, and comedians trying to adapt to self-isolation while also supporting their communities through creative projects. In Hamilton, Juno-award nominated Cree-Métis musician iskwē recently launched the nightly Instagram series Live from My Living Room. Through it, she has been chatting with guests — including George Stroumboulopoulos and Canadian musicians Lights and Begonia — over split-screen video chat. Swampy Cree author David A. Robertson has been hosting live readings of his books, such as When We Were Alone, on social media. And Cree comedian Don Burnstick and Anishinaabe comedian and podcaster Ryan McMahon have been streaming laughs for free online.

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