Whether you’re in Juneau or anywhere else on the planet, everyone is getting a chance to catch the livestream concert series the Amplify Alaska Showcase.
The Crystal Saloon will be hosting the Amplify Alaska Showcase on Saturday from 5-9 p.m. featuring performances by Qacung Blanchett, Witty Youngman, Marian Call, Annie Bartholomew and Taylor Vidic, who have each been featured on the latest season of Amplify Alaska Podcast at Frostline Studios in Anchorage. Anchorage artist Finesstor will also perform on Saturday, though has not been interviewed on the podcast.
The Amplify Alaska Showcase highlights the artists who have been featured in the Amplify Alaska podcasts during the 2023 season, which also happens to be in its third season. This particular showcase will raise funds for the Áak’w Rock Indigenous Music Festival taking place Sept. 21-23 in Juneau, and is billed as the only Indigenous music festival in the country.
“Music has the power to transcend boundaries and unite communities, and through our performances at Amplify Alaska supporting Aak’w Rock, we not only showcase our talent but also contribute to the honoring and celebration of Indigenous music,” Blanchett said.
Host and co-creator Yngvil Vatn Guttu explained that Amplify Alaska is an evolving conversation and event series that features conversations with Alaska musicians who are passionate about investing in their community to raise funds for causes that improve the quality of life for all Alaskans.
“What we wanted to do was elevate the voice of the musician with a social consciousness and civic mindset and allow the musician to say what causes they believe in while being at the heart of these events and can take ownership over raising funds for their cause,” Vatn Guttu said.
Saturday’s Showcase will be accessible both virtually and in-person and tickets can be purchased through crystalsaloon.com. According to Vatn Guttu, Saturday’s show will feature musical performances interspersed with portions of interviews with the artists from the podcast that will be displayed on screen throughout the evening.
“These fundraisers are always hybrid, so we stream them and they are live in a real location, so we’re bringing down three cameras, a streaming unit and a sound person separate from the room sound,” Vatn Guttu said. “We send a high quality stream to YouTube and maybe Facebook. We then edit that podcast and put it on Anchor through Spotify. So, people can watch it live from our own Youtube channel that we stream to.”
Vatn Guttu is the founder and CEO of the nonprofit Northern Culture Exchange and through her nonprofit she created the annual Spenard Jazz Fest in Anchorage, which Vatn Guttu has been the executive director of since 2008. Vatn Guttu explained that the nonprofit was giving out COVID-19 grants in 2021 to musicians with community-based ideas during the festival and through that experience, Amplify Alaska was born.
“During COVID we did nonstop, we went online and I think we were possibly the first festival in Alaska that figured out that we could do our concerts online,” Vatn Guttu said. “I have a background in television and presenting, so I was ecstatic, I love being in front of the cameras. We took what’s normally on a long weekend of shows at multiple venues and just spread it out as pre-recorded concerts of 45 minutes to an hour, including interviews with people in isolation and stuff like that.”
Additionally, Vatn Guttu will be performing at the Crystal Saloon on Friday with the Anchorage-based Alaska Electronic Orchestra from 8-10 p.m. and tickets can be purchased crystalsaloon.com/shows/alaska-electronic-orchestra.
Alaska Electronic Orchestra is the brainchild of Rick Zelinsky in partnership with Vatn Guttu. Friday’s iteration of AEO is an orchestra-of-two featuring Zelinsky on saxophones, wind controller and electronics and Vatn Guttu on trumpet, guitars, synthesizers, willow flute and vocals plus multiple sound effects.
“As players, we are seeking complete musical freedom,” Vatn Guttu said. “The music is somewhat prepared, but what we will actually play in the moment is not prescribed or rehearsed at all, each concert is a special and unique moment in time. We are listening, open to the feelings and sounds of the moment.”
• Contact reporter Jonson Kuhn at firstname.lastname@example.org.