A collection of female Hamilton musicians getting national and international attention have been gathered together for a benefit for the Sexual Assault Centre of Hamilton (SACHA). While organizer Jasmine Dong has grown up on Hamilton indie rock, she may frequent the same circles as many an indie rocker but remained out of the spotlight — that is until recently being one of the stars in a recently released video for Ellis’ new song “Something Blue”.
“Making the video was tons of fun,” says Dong. “The hardest part was trying not to look cold... It’s special to my heart because I actually listened to ‘Something Blue” on repeat for months when it came out, and it got me through a sad time. The video is also beautifully shot and will always remind me of a fun day in Hamilton with two of my best friends.”
While you can see her in that Ellis video, it’s Dong’s work with SACHA and this weekend’s benefit concert that is the current focus.
“I’ve been volunteering at SACHA for about three years now,” says Dong. “I was always interested in feminism and wanted to participate more in that part of the community. I personaly have a history of sexual assault and domestic violence so that personally propelled me in that direction. I wanted to help other women get help and volunteering for SACHA seemed like the best way to do it. It’s a rewarding thing to do.”
For over 40 years, the Sexual Assault Centre of Hamilton (SACHA) has been working to support survivors and end sexual violence but provincial funds are not what they were. Dong decided to use her influence and create a fundraiser.
“I'’m friends with a lot of people in the music scene although I don’t know how it happened,” says Dong. “I volunteer for SACHA and I have a lot of musical friends so why not combine the two for a fun event and raise some money? First, I asked Linnea Siggelkow, who is Ellis. She’s one of my best friends and she’s gaining a lot of popularity right now. She also cares about what I do with SACHA. I asked her and she said yes. Then I started thinking of other people to join and I’ve been friends with Jessy Lanza for a while. She’s a Hamilton sweetheart and I think everyone knows her. She lives in New York now and I just visited her in June but she’s coming back to DJ this show. And I met up meeting Jasmyn Burke from art–pop act Weaves at a barbecue that a mutual friend was holding and she’s recently moved to Hamilton last summer so she’s going to be playing solo. Ken Inouye introduced me to Shanika Maria and she’s behind what we’re doing as well.”
Dong has just completed her Masters Degree in Gastrointestinal Immunology at McMaster University and heading to law school come the fall, but this weekend, she offers a special show with special friends for a special cause as a somewhat of a going away party.
“I’ve met a lot of great people doing this and while it’s been a lot of hard work, putting this show on has been a lot of fun for me as well,” says Dong. “We’ll have some information from SACHA at the show. There have been a lot of good vibes for this and it is also shaping up to be somewhat of a good bye present from me for SACHA. Being a part of that organization — they’ve been so supportive of me and I’ve grown a lot and learned so much from everyone there. I have a real personal love for the work they do there.
“I hope everyone joins us for a cute and fun night to raise much–needed funds for the Sexual Assault Centre of Hamilton complete with treats, prizes, dancing, and more. We have a seriously incredible talent lined up,” adds Dong. “There will also be a raffle featuring a large variety of over 30 prizes ranging from gift cards, Wonderland tickets to a one night stay at a local bed and breakfast. I’m elated to have this incredible line-up of four of the best female artists from Hamilton.” V
The SACHA Benefit featuring Ellis, Jessy Lanza, Jasmyn Burke, Shanika Maria and more happens this Saturday August 17 at This Ain’t Hollywood. Doors open at 8pm and tickets are $15 in advance or $20 at the door. Click on sacha.ca