Individual musicians and bands are reaching out to the public through online gigs

Members of the Oorali band had a packed schedule of performances across the State lined up for them when the COVID-19 outbreak happened. Forced to cancel it all, they have been performing live every night to an audience from across the globe for the past 17 days through their Facebook page.

With concerts cancelled, musicians and bands are reaching out to the public, and even gaining newer audience, through online gigs.

“When the initial controls of movement came in, we began these online concerts of 1.5 hours each. The aim was not to just entertain, but also to engage with an audience. We play all our songs and we play according to the song requests from people. In between, we talk about the prevailing situation, and at times we bust fake news on the virus. It has been a beautiful experience for us. There are people from Gulf countries who tell us that this is something they wait for after remaining cooped up in a room all day,” says Martin, Oorali’s vocalist.

Live session

Popular singer Sithara Krishnakumar had to cancel a series of concerts lined up in the U.S. and in South East Asia. With all members of her band Project Malabaricus stuck at their respective homes, they composed Song of Valour, a rousing tribute to the health workers. The music video was stitched together from mobile videos of their respective performances. On Friday night, the Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI) hosted her on their official page for a live session. The 81,000 listener comments under the live video is a testament to the effectiveness of the medium.

“Though such programmes are meant to ease the mental stress of the listeners, it equally benefits us artistes too, to interact with people from various places,” says Sithara.

Abhishek Gopurathinkal and his bandmate Sujith, of the Kochi band Mr. Ago, now in self-quarantine, have been composing music all day long and performing on their Instagram page.

“We have been ideating and composing songs for our album during this time. For the online performances, we have been choosing covers of other Indian bands. We see this as an opportunity to build a new audience, as well as to maintain the connect. We also performed as part of the Bengaluru-based open jam session, which feature one band every week, as well as for Chennai-based ‘House of T’ online session,” says Abhishek.

Musician Bijibal and his two children have been performing Malayalam songs of yesteryear, while many upcoming bands have also been doing live sessions. But, for many of the independent musicians, who depend on their music for survival, what lies ahead are uncertain times, as the live circuit might not become active anytime soon.

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