A creative space located at YAP Friends is inviting young people to jam to a new tune.
Project M.A.Y.H.E.M. a weekly open stage for young people who want to come play or listen to live music in a safe, drug and alcohol-free environment is providing that alternative.
“In order to have successful youth services you need to offer food, fun and structure,” said Nathan Ghostkeeper, supervisor of Future Sense, the government-funded body that runs M.A.Y.H.E.M. every Monday night out of YAP, which is located at 1148 7th Avenue.
“Let’s provide alternatives to getting high and drunk.”
Project M.A.Y.H.E.M. Me And You Helping Expand Music is held in a venue fully equipped with house instruments including drums, guitars, amps, a stage P.A. system and lights. All people have to do is show up and jam, said Ghostkeeper.
“Anyone who comes to M.A.Y.H.E.M. can say their piece on stage. We’re all styles, so whether you play the harmonica, saxophone, guitar, rap, reggae or scream, we are open to anything creative.”
In the last year and a half the project has collaborated with local bands like Floored, Lucas Blind, Forced and Vedanta to hold fundraising concerts for YAP and Future Sense. Last year YAP was the hot spot for a demonstration by world renowned guitarist Jennifer Baton, who has performed with Michael Jackson and Jeff Beck.
Project M.A.Y.H.E.M. is also strongly supported by last year’s Juno award nominee aboriginal singer/songwriter Marcel Gagnon.
“We go Monday, 6 to 9 p.m., rain or shine, holiday or not,” said Ghostkeeper.
On Monday nights, every second week, Future Sense runs a graffiti program so people can draw in-house and spare the walls around the city. There is also a computer C.A.P. site open for people to surf the net or burn CDs. Starting next Monday the centre will also offer free vocal instruction with singer and Future Sense member Lindsay Sarrizen.
“Everything we do is free, except for the concerts which are $5 a head or $4 with a donation of a non-perishable, and the food always goes to the kitchen for the kids,” said Ghostkeeper. He estimates that YAP offers about 900 to 1,500 direct services to youth in the community every month.
“That’s a couple of hundred youth who regularly access our services, whether it be for food, showers, laundry, resources or to be in a safe, supportive environment,” he said.
Project M.A.Y.H.E.M. is open to all ages and styles. Youth under 14 should be accompanied by a parent.
“We invite anyone with a musical inkling to come on down. We are also always willing to take old instruments off people’s hands who don’t want them.”