Giving back in Vancouver

Mainland Concert Series features Vancouver's brightest talent performing to highlight important causes

The inaugural Mainland Concert Series—five weeks of interactive online shows bringing together artists from the Lower Mainland and their hand-picked charitable organizations—kicks off July 23 and runs to August 27. A Side Door initiative supported by Rogers, the Mainland series features a diverse selection of rising talent in a variety of genres; including soul, indie classical, and folk. All ticket proceeds go directly to charities of the artists’ choosing, while Rogers supports the artists with performance fees, fostering a meaningful connection between art and community.

July 23: The Giving Shapes - Urban Native Youth Association

Harpist/vocalist Elisa Thorn and pianist/vocalist Robyn Jacob began collaborating three years ago at the Banff Centre for the Arts, landing on their emotional, ethereal, harmonious sound as The Giving Shapes while breathing the clear air of the Rockies. The pair’s debut, Earth Leaps Up, was released at the end of February: “Although the music is easy on the ear throughout, in no way is it easy listening or wallpaper music, being far more interesting and innovative than those labels suggest,” writes All About Jazz.

With their July 23 show The Giving Shapes will support the Urban Native Youth Association, founded in 1988 as the centre of Indigenous youth excellence. “We have so much work to do in Canada to confront our systemic racism and white supremacy,” say Thorn and Jacob. “A huge part of that must involve reconciling and decolonizing our past and current treatment of the Indigenous peoples. Urban Native Youth Association focuses on empowering, supporting, and celebrating Indigenous youth in the city of Vancouver.”

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July 26: PIQSIQ - Downtown Eastside Women’s Centre

With a style perpetually galvanized by darkness and haunting northern beauty, sisters, Tiffany Kuliktana Ayalik and Kayley Inuksuk Mackay, come together to create Inuit style throat singing duo, PIQSIQ.

PIQSIQ is supporting the Downtown Eastside Women's Centre. All proceeds of this show will go directly to the organization!


July 30: Sam Lynch - Black Youth Helpline

Vancouver alt-folk artist Sam Lynch is a wanderer and a restless mind, who sings her heart onto her sleeve by way of reflective, honest lyrics, and a nuanced, emotionally transparent live performance. Combining traditional folk influences with rough-hewn, detuned guitars and confessional lyrics— her songs are personal, yet universal. Vocally, Sam resembles a blender mix of Adrianne Lenker of Big Thief, Andy Shauf and Fiona Apple. Sam's full-length record is due for release Summer 2020.

August 6: Buckman Coe - Moose Hide Campaign

The chill R&B/roots artist has been around the world, taking his soulful, hopeful music—including 2019’s Gathering Storm—to multiple continents. For his August 6 show, Coe will be supporting The Moose Hide Campaign, a grassroots movement of Indigenous and non-Indigenous men and boys who are wearing moose hides signifying their “commitment to honour, respect, and protect the women and children in your life and to work together to end violence against women and children.”

“It is a powerful initiative founded by a father and daughter to end violence against Indigenous women and children,” says Coe. “It has a strong symbolic statement, as well as concrete regional and national gatherings and actions, that has made it spread across the country addressing the goals of Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women, the United Nations’ Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People, and Truth & Reconciliation.”

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August 9: Desirée Dawson - Hogan’s Alley Society + UNYA

The young soul artist Dawson—who broke out in 2016 as the winner of CBC’s annual Searchlight competition—is still riding the romantic R&B vibes of her latest single, the love song “All In.” A ukulele virtuoso, in non-pandemic times Dawson also teaches creative writing workshops and offers Shapes and Sounds, a yoga class with live music. 

For her August 9 performance Dawson will support two organizations, including The Hogan’s Alley Society, which advocates for Black Vancouverites who have endured the legacies of urban renewal and their erasure from the official historical narrative. “As a queer, mixed-race, Black-identifying woman growing up in mostly non-Black spaces, I have come to realize the flaws in cities that do not leave space for marginalized communities to have their life experiences and opinions heard and valued,” says Dawson. “The initiatives that Hogan’s Alley Society supports are for the healing, safety, growth, and abundance for the Black community and every Vancouverite. There is so much we can learn from one another if we are willing to listen and learn.”


August 13: Khari Wendell McClelland - ArtsStarts in Schools

Khari Wendell McClelland is an ever-evolving artist. Originally from Detroit, Khari has become a darling on the Canadian music scene with reviewers lauding his performances as a clever mix of soul and gospel. Khari’s songwriting crosses genres and generations, joyfully invoking the spirit of his ancestors who straddled the US-Canadian border in efforts to escape slavery and discrimination. His music draws from this rich history, integrating the rhythms and folklore of early African-Americans with contemporary sounds and stories of struggle. Recently, Khari received critical acclaim for his Freedom Singer project, recreating the music fugitive slaves carried on their journey north into Canada. Khari also performs with the Roots Gospel group The Sojourners. Whether on stage or in the studio, Khari's passion for community, equality and justice is palpable, as is his belief in the redemptive power of music.

Khari Wendell McClelland is supporting ArtStarts in Schools, a charitable organization that expands the role of art in education to activate learning and nurture creativity in British Columbia's young people.


August 16: Tariq - Alzheimer’s Society of BC  

Tariq is a Juno nominated songwriter and recording artist with a music career that spans over two decades. He is also a member of the critically acclaimed Vancouver band, Brasstronaut.

This show is in support of the Alzheimer’s Society of BC, a charity I chose to support as I lost my mother to Alzheimer’s last spring. Frankly, I don’t think I’d even be playing music if it wasn’t for her. I’ll just say this: in elementary school, she built me my first guitar out of a dish soap bottle (the body) and a sawed off broomstick (the neck), and I won a contest. First ten bucks I ever made, holding a guitar.


August 20: Krystle Dos Santos - Black Lives Matter Vancouver

Krystle Dos Santos is a blues, jazz and soul singer based out of Vancouver, Canada. With a voice that is commanding, powerful and rich with talent, her music, inspired by classic and neo-soul combined with contemporary hip-hop and R&B elements is executed brilliantly; It’s simultaneously elegant, bold and sensual similar to modern legends Erykah Badu and Ms. Lauryn Hill. Her performances are mesmerizing; She sings with sheer heart wrenching dominion about falling in love, heartbreak and struggle.

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August 23: Gordon Grdina - Black Lives Matter Vancouver

Gordon Grdina is a JUNO Award (Canadian Grammy) winning oud/guitarist whose career has spanned continents, decades and constant genre exploration throughout avant-garde jazz, free form improvisation, contemporary indie rock and Arabic. His singular approach to the instruments has earned him recognition from the highest ranks of the jazz/improv world. Grdina has performed and collaborated with a wide array of field-leading artists including Gary Peacock, Paul Motion, Marc Ribot, Mark Helias, Mats Gustafsson, Hank Roberts, Mark Feldman, Eyvind Kang, Colin Stetson, Mat Maneri, Christian Lilinger, Matt Mitchell, & Jim Black.


August 27: Amanda Sum with Jamie Lee - National Congress of Black Women Foundation - BC

Amanda Sum is a performer and creator based in Vancouver, on the unceded territories of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh Nations. She dances between music and theatre, and values rigour and rhythm across all disciplines she works in.

Jamie Lee is an emerging drummer, composer, and arranger based in Vancouver. Jamie is one of the rising jazz artists in Vancouver's jazz scene, known for her expressive and sensitive approach on the drums and her unique compositions.