Tofino-based Haida loop poet Ms.PAN!K will be creating dynamic soundscapes with her guitar, voice and loop station at Char’s Landing in Port Alberni this month.
Ms.PAN!K is Vira Danyk, originally from the unceded territory of the Xaayda (Haida) Nation and a member of the K̲aayahl ‘Laanaas Clan. Raised in the Village of Skidegate on the remote island archipelago of Haida Gwaii, Danyk is now a long-term resident on unceded Tla-o-qui-aht territory in Tofino on Vancouver Island’s west coast.
“I moved here in the fall of 2008,” Danyk explained in a telephone interview. “I was born in Port Hardy and I always wanted to come back out here [to Vancouver Island].”
She originally visited the Island’s West Coast for kayak guide training and quickly “fell in love” with Clayoquot Sound. Her show at Char’s Landing on Thursday, Dec. 5 will be her first time performing in Port Alberni.
“Right now I’m trying to tour locally on the Island and Lower Mainland,” she said. “I’m trying to build the base. I’ve been doing a lot of festivals. I wanted to learn how to book shows, get good at gigging, get out there and perform in different spaces. It’s going to grow my skill as a performer.”
The name Ms.PAN!K comes from a nickname she received when she was young. Danyk also previously worked as a paramedic, and Panic Danyk was a moniker she adopted on the job.
“My aunt called me Panic Danyk,” she laughed. “I had kind of a quirky, strong-minded attitude.”
Danyk started to create and write music in her 20s, and started performing professionally around three years ago. She describes her music as femme-powered, loop pedal-driven alt-indie, hip-hop, neo-folk and soul-influenced.
“I start with a more traditional singer/songwriter set,” she explained. “With guitar, vocals. Then I make hip-hop soul music with my loop station. I like to swap up genres, and I like to blend different elements in. We’ll go on a journey.”
As Ms.PAN!K, she weaves poetic verses into dynamic loop-crafted melodies, often improvised and tailored for the energy of each audience. Her music, she says, is meant to drop some healing wisdom to inspire and entertain. She has a love for hip-hop and especially the way hip-hop and Indigenous culture influence one another.
“I wanted to tell stories and connect with people,” she said. “I found that I really couldn’t express myself fully with guitar and vocals. The loop station allows me to do a full production.”
A Western Canadian Music Awards 2019 Nominee for “Spiritual Artist of the Year,” Ms.PAN!K will be at Char’s Landing on Thursday, Dec. 5. The show starts at 7:30 p.m. (doors open at 7 p.m.).
Tickets are $20 and on sale now. Buy them by phone (778-421-2427), at the Rollin Art Centre or Gayle’s Fashions (cash only) or online at brownpapertickets.com.