Kym Gouchie and special guests Naomi Kavka, Jeremy Pahl and Zak Windle performed a spectacular show in Kitimat at the Mount Elizabeth Theatre on Saturday, March 11 with 106 people in attendance according to Jeremy Pahl a.k.a. Salt Water Hank.
Kym Gouchie is a multifaceted singer, songwriter and musician. She plays guitar, ukulele, hand drums and sings. She is also a visual artist as well as a teacher and a leader in the community with ancestral roots in the Lheidli T’enneh, Cree and Secwépemc Nations.
“I grew up in a musical family, so I’ve always loved to sing but I wasn’t very good at it,” said Gouchie in an interview. “I had sort of given up when I was a teenager because I started to get too embarrassed when I would sing out of key now and then. And so it wasn’t until my early 20s that I picked it up again and then I just have never stopped. I’ve been doing this for probably over 25 years.”
Their music explores a wide range of subjects, intertwined with enchanting, funny and occasionally haunting storytelling throughout the performance. They sang about the joys of being on the land, with friends, and family; celebrated the intimate connection between water and life; and shared the story of a teenager asking band member Zac Windle to sign a somewhat malodorous shoe after a high school show.
Their music also delved into the horrors perpetrated by institutions such as the Canadian Government and the Catholic Church with respect to residential schools and the failure to adequately address the missing and murdered indigenous women, girls and two-spirit people epidemic that continues to tear families apart. Gouchie shared a heart-wrenching story from a residential school survivor who said “we cannot heal what we do not acknowledge.”
Gouchie also spoke about her musical influences.
“I really gravitated towards the women in music mostly. Patsy Cline, Linda Ronstadt. People who really just had that powerful voice and something to say. Then when I got a little bit older, Shania Twain, Natalie Merchant, and then eventually Lucinda Williams. Lucinda Williams was huge for me because she was the one who inspired me to want to play guitar.”
Gouchie is also strongly influenced by Buffy Sainte-Marie, and performed a beautifully melancholy cover of Starwalker near the end of the show on Saturday.