SASKATOON — Indigenous music artists Falynn Baptiste and Yvonne St. Germain chose to look on the bright side of things once health restrictions were put in place by the Saskatchewan Health Authority that prevented them from performing indoors and to large audiences. They remained positive despite the almost two-year challenging .
In an interview with SASKTODAY.ca, Baptiste said she was also on a maternity leave when the pandemic hit after giving birth to her daughter, who is now 20 months old. Despite being safely tucked away at her home, the lockdown was mentally and emotionally exhausting as the thought of her child’s wellbeing was her top priority.
“Luckily, I've always enjoyed the simplicity and solitude of being home. This combined with my natural inclination to ‘look on the bright side’ and gravitate to positive thoughts made for an easy transition during restrictions. I did however miss family and hugs the most,” said Baptiste.
St. Germain, the multi-awarded Gospel singer, said like most of the people around the world she did not expect the impact that the pandemic would make.
“It was a huge lifestyle turnaround. I know I was not prepared for the hit of COVID. Again, a huge adjustment coming from a lifestyle of freedom to being trapped in my home.”
“As an Independent artist I live off my honorariums and CD sales so, yes, it was a big hit I was not prepared for. On the positive note, it was nice to unwind and gather my thoughts. It was and still is an opportunity to write music and connect with fans on a different level of media.”
Baptiste also had the chance to work on releasing her second album during the height of the pandemic, a follow-up to her first professionally-record album last December of 2020 that became successful after having sold to listeners all over North America. She also concentrated on her first calling, that is teaching.
“Most of my efforts have been applied to my vocation as a high school teacher here in Saskatoon. The pandemic not only took me away from performing opportunities, it also brought many challenges to my life as a teacher and a new mom to a 20-month-old daughter,” said Baptiste.
She added that COVID had put on hold performing engagements of professional singers and entertainers like her and she, like others, resorted to new platforms just to reach out to music fans. “It was only toward the end of the pandemic, spring of 2021, that I began singing to audiences via live stream.”
“I found this to be challenging as I realized a large part of sharing music and singing depends on the energy of your audience. Music is nothing without its listeners,” said Baptiste, who started singing since she was in the first grade and performed in various events in the province.
Baptiste is also preparing for school opening.
“I am gearing up for back to school with work beginning in a couple of weeks. I tend to take life as it comes, keeping an open mind and an open heart for what the Creator and life has in store.”
St. Germaine, meanwhile, was also pleased that an artist like her can again perform in front of a crowd.
“Bookings are coming back slowly as I feel organizers are getting adjusted as well. I was gone day one when the green flag was given. I do not make my booking my bookings come to me. I have had my vaccinations but still proceeded with caution. I don’t feel at ease yet just because the mask mandate is gone. How I encourage all too still be cautious.”
She already had a couple of shows lined up for next month. “It’s hard to say if I will be doing any shows here in Saskatoon. So far, my closest would be at Batoche on September 5 and at Prince Albert on September 6 at the exhibition grounds to help with a fundraiser for a homeless shelter. Most of my travels are to Northern Indigenous communities which I absolutely love.”