Rachelle VanZanten graces the South Cariboo
The South Cariboo was blessed to host acclaimed songwriter and recording artist Rachelle VanZanten for an entire weekend of intimate engagement as she hit the local stages to share her soulful music with the people!
Huge thanks to Peter and Gail of Slapback Music Production for hosting Rachelle and her standup bassist Bryn from PG at three of our outdoor venues.
Rachelle is well known from her multi-decade performance career. On stage and in real life she aims straight from the heart and creates an intimate down to Earth experience. Originally from Francois Lake, she currently farms not far from her origins near the town of Burns Lake. For those unacquainted with the vastness of “Northern BC” we are talking about places which are roughly an hour west of what is the geographical Center of BC a.k.a. the town of Vanderhoof.
The Omineca Region is vast and for all of its immense, pristine waterways and valleys it is also wrought with 100+ years of unchecked resource extraction. Exploitation of the villages & valleys in the region continues. Rachelle’s most powerfully haunting songs like “The Canoe Song” or “My Country” tell stories about maintaining a way of life in the face of larger forces. Songs leave one flooded with the truth of the mega projects, one which flooded the Nechako River Valley for the Alcan project and another which almost destroyed the Headwaters of the Stikine, Nass and Skeena Rivers. Feelings of what it would be like to witness villages burned and bones washing up on shore in the 1950’s at the time of construction of the Kenney Dam brings listeners into the fold of reality that the legacy of extraction for profit has left in its wake.
In Centennial Park on Friday, in a bit of fun banter between Peter (running sound stage) and Rachelle, the topic of merchandise came up. In that banter, Rachelle let the listeners in on the new reality of being a gig artist in BC. Simply put making money on the road, selling merch has become more hassle than it’s worth. In the brave new world of streaming, the reality is : artists are at the mercy of streaming platforms, where they are earning less than pennies, roughly $0.003 per stream.
Translation, even if a band smashes a home run hit that say pulls a million streams - that’s $3000 bucks. That barely even covers the recording and production time never-mind the writing, arrangement and creative intellectual property. Currently, most producing artists in Canada are reliant on Government Grants.
Rachelle is a powerfully talented musician and a wealth of wisdom, an incredible mentor for the next generation of Canadian Musicians and artist activists. She reminds us all that on the road of life, the most important destination is the path to peace in your heart. -A Wildflower Thank-you Rachelle for gracing us with your presence here in the South Cariboo!
Stay tuned to Cameo Radio for her appearance on an episode entitled “Peace on the Path with Rachelle VanZanten”.