Amid a global pandemic and all the stress that comes with it, an artist and musician based in Victoria, British Columbia, is creating an oasis of calm in the form of an old-fashioned phone line.
By July 2021, anyone across Canada can call the toll-free number 1-877-2BE-CALM, and tune in to a wide variety of soothing sounds, including children’s laughter and happy music.
Victoria’s Artist-in-Residence Kathryn Calder and member of The New Pornographers first took inspiration from the famous mantra of Dr. Bonnie Henry, Provincial Health Officer.
“It started, of course … with Bonnie Henry [saying] to be calm, ”Calder said on CBC All points to the west.
Calder said she was trying to figure out what a community project might look like under pandemic restrictions. A friend sent him a link to a Calgary teacher who set up a hotline where his students recorded jokes and people could call and hear them.
Working with coworker Emily Hamel, Calder said they came up with the idea of having a hotline with different types of soothing sounds that callers could choose from when they call.
“It is a difficult time and we wanted to do something uplifting and positive,” she said.
“I’m an artist and I believe in the power of art to make people feel better in difficult times and to turn people to music and art in general. It’s kind of a fundamental part. of human being. I believe in this project and I hope people will get something out of it and I hope it will bring joy. “
Some of the sounds are unique to the West Coast, including the orcas residing in the north recorded by Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s Pacific Biological Station, a story told by the City of Victoria’s Indigenous artist in residence, Dylan Thomas, in the subject of the old Salish wool dog, and the original music by Calder.
One of the most popular sounds to date, Calder says, is children’s laughter.
“Different things appeal to different people… but the children’s laughter was definitely a big hit. “
All parents who want their child’s laughter to be included in the audio of the future phone line can send recordings with a release form to Calder by February 7, 2021, through the website victoria.ca/becalm .
Although the project ends in July 2021, the content will be refreshed over the next few months to feature works by different artists from the region.
The telephone line is toll-free across Canada. Services are paid for by TELUS.
Listen to the segment on CBC’s All points to the west here:
All points to the west8:40Victoria Artist-in-Residence Kathryn Calder creates a 1-877-2BE-CALM helpline with soothing sounds