For many years, Ladysmith rock band Skellig has emphasized giving back to the community, raising money for the Ladysmith Food Bank in many ways.
And now, that community support is an even bigger focus after the band signed with Mighty Speck Records (MSR), a new Victoria-based record label run by James Kasper, founder of the Vancouver Island Music Awards. The label focuses on positive contributions to the local and global community, and each label artist supports a charity of their choice. As well, MSR focuses on youth mentoring, artist development and accessibility for artists.
Skellig, a rock band influenced by Irish folk, world and rock music features Chris, Lisa and Caleb Burness, Mike O'Shaughnessy and his son Will, and Dylan Wickham. The band was a Canadian National Finalist in Hard Rock Rising 2012 and was nominated for Live Act of the Year at the 2013 Vancouver Island Music Awards.
Signing with MSR was a great fit for the band, according to Lisa Burness.
"From Skelligʼs perspective it is an opportunity to join with other artists to achieve more as a group," she said.
As far as supporting a charity goes, Skelligʼs main focus is the Ladysmith Food Bank and soup kitchen. Each Christmas, Skellig instigates the Celebration of Light fundraiser event with the Rock Christian Fellowship to raise money for the Ladysmith Food Bank. The soup kitchen is a new program that is providing a hot meal and community to people who are not always able to provide that for themselves, explained Burness.
"As always, the Ladysmith Eagles, local churches and a whole host of fabulous volunteers give up their time to enable this to happen," she said. "It seems that the least we can do is try and raise funds for these programs, as we all work full-time and can't volunteer. As such, we have always donated 10 per cent of every gig that we do all year to help with various programs. From this point on, this specific focus will be the soup kitchen program and Food Bank."
Skellig is raising money for the Food Bank this summer during the first MSR tour, which takes nine roster artists to 10 BC cities, showcasing a diverse mix of genres at 15 shows over seven weeks.
Skellig performed its first MSR showcase at the tour kick-off show July 4 in Courtenay.
"It was really fantastic from the perspective that everybody took something along," said Burness. "Everyone was really supportive of everyone and encouraging of the different genres we were playing. It was really amazing to be part of a group effort like that where everyone put their best foot forward."
Burness says it's also a great way to make connections with people who are doing the same things they are in different parts of BC.
"It's nice to have a different audience listening to you in places we've never played," she added.
This weekend, Skellig will perform Saturday, Aug. 2 with MSR at Char's Landing in Port Alberni and Sunday, Aug. 3 at 5p.m. as part of Ladysmith Days.
The MSR 2014 Summer Tour comes to Ladysmith Friday, Aug. 29 at In the Beantime Cafe and will likely include performances by Skellig, James Kasper (with cellist Larry Burke), Chris Andres, PeaK, and Jonny Miller.
- Lindsay Chung, Ladysmith Chronicle, Tuesday, July 29, 2014