Musician showcase brings ladies to the front

Ladies of the Okanagan will feature 5 songstresses of the Okanagan

A special show will raise the voices of the songstresses in Kelowna.

Five musicians will take the stage to not only share their music with an audience, but also the stories behind the songs and about their lives.

Organized by Megan Freedman, a local musician was inspired to feature exclusively female voices in the show after playing a show where she was the only woman on the bill a week before BreakOut West in October. She then attended a panel that discussed how to promote and support women in the music industry and Freedman decided to take action.

“I could name way more male lead bands than female,” said Freedman.

“I wanted to celebrate the (female) talent that I know is here and meet other women, make connections and put on a show…. I really just want talented women to be celebrated.”

Freedman will be sharing herself on stage and revealing how the songs stemmed from her lived experience.

READ MORE: The ultimate music fan, owner of Milkcrate Records an artery of Kelowna’s music scene

“I describe the places I grew up, different scenes I grew up, hanging out with friends and things that we actually did,” said Freedman who plans on hosting multiple showcases throughout the year.

One of the women stepping onto the stage, is Crowd the Joanna’s own Sarah Bee. The front woman describes the band as a pirate bluegrass punk-folk band that feeds off the audience. But her solo project is more personal and therefore doesn’t fit into the rhythms of the party band.

She will take the stage with her ukulele and promises to entertain the crowd.

“I don’t like sitting on a stool and standing still,” said Bee.

“I learned how to play the ukulele because I want my vocals to be heard. I don’t want to hide behind my instrument physically or musically… I was sick of having to depend on my band in order to express myself. It’s one of those things I need to do, and it’s so different then what we do.”

READ MORE: ‘They have children they are trying to feed with art’: musicians ask for city’s help as venues close down

The musician normally keeps a low profile, but will be revealing much of her history and plans on highlighting her struggles with the skin condition, psoriasis.

“I will be talking about self image and telling the audience that they can’t rely on it and to not let stupid things like that and effect their talent and keep them from standing up on that stage,” said Bee.

The dynamic musician also mentors women in the industry on her own time and guides them to pursue their passion without apologies.

“Someone’s got to do it,” said Bee.

READ MORE: Okanagan Music Rundown: From Kansas Lee to Ancient Engines, your week will be filled with great music

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Also featured in the show is Natalie Ingram who has been tirelessly pounding the pavement to make her dreams come true. This showcase will be the first show Ingram plays in Kelowna since her move from Vernon.

Ingram is also one piece of 20 piece big band, Okanagan Valley Big Band, and said that the duality allows her to express herself fully.

“There is a joy of flexibility when being a solo artist and being able to adapt to what the audience is hearing and respond to it. I am able to change individual shows easily and it’s rewarding to play something that you have written and respond to it,” said Ingram.

READ MORE: Kelowna’s Ancient Engines fueling up to release new music video

In the show she has something special planned for when she plays her song Beautiful Girls, things are getting political.

“There is this idea that in very common pop songs and other genres as well, but especially ones done by male artists that what makes a woman attractive is that she doesn’t know how beautiful she is. I took that idea and I flipped it around a bit to actually say it’s okay to be confident and know how beautiful you are and how good you are at something and that doesn’t make you any less of a woman,” said Ingram.

With that song, Ingram will be challenging the audience to look deeper into the popular music and to analyze what it says about Western culture.

The Ladies of the Okanagan Showcase will take place Tuesday, April 16 at 6 p.m. tickets are available on the Facebook event page.

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@sydneyrmorton
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