Evidently, people in isolation in their homes are turning to music during these troubled times for strength and solace, and why not!
Over the past week, there have been videos on social media of people in some housing societies in India singing to each other from their balconies. The Italians and the Spaniards have been doing it for some time now and now balcony concerts are suddenly the rage, thanks to the novel coronavirus.
Evidently, people in isolation in their homes are turning to music during these troubled times for strength and solace, and why not! The pandemic has brought the world economy to its knees, and like many industries, music industry is also set to incur huge losses.
Like a lot many of us working from home currently, music artists too are not sitting idle. If you have been regularly checking social media channels, you would have come across many online performances by musicians in India and abroad, doing sets of 30 minutes or longer, reaching straight out of their living rooms to ours.
Coldplay frontman Chris Martin, singers John Legend and Charlie Puth, and others recently played mini gigs on Instagram with the #TogetherAtHome hashtag. American DJ and EDM artist Diplo has been doing live virtual concerts regularly on Instagram. Veteran artists like Neil Young, heavy metal band Metallica have been doing the same. The list is pretty long and, Indian artists are not far behind.
There has been a surge of virtual music concerts in the online space over the last few weeks. It may have started with a few impromptu gigs, but they are beginning to be more organised. Campaigns with artists who specialise in different music genres have now been put together.
Specifically, in India, Rolling Stone India’s #ArtistsWFH and BookMyShow’s LIVE FROM HQ are some prominent examples. Bacardi NH7 Weekender has begun curating mini online music festivals, called Happy At Home Sessions, starting this week. Popular Indian comedians like Vir Das, Rohan Joshi, Sumukhi Suresh, Supriya Joshi and others are participating, too. Contemporary Fusion music band, Indian Ocean and singer-songwriter Prateek Kuhad went live earlier this week. Many more are to follow suit.
Also, veteran singer-songwriter Elton John is hosting a Coronavirus benefit concert online, which will also feature Billie Eilish, Mariah Carey, Backstreet Boys, Alicia Keys, Tim McGraw and others on March 29. Thought you should know!
Regular virtual concerts and online jam sessions may have been the consequence of a global pandemic, but the rapidly emerging trend is definitely something to take note of. Artists from the commercial space as well as the independent community across the globe are part of this.
There are limited options for an artist in quarantine who has to keep things going and technology comes in handy. But, one cannot rule out the possibility of this trend sustaining even after we return to normalcy, whenever that happens.
Of course, once could debate the economics of that. But, for now, it is a spectacle. As we adjust to the ‘quarantine’ way of life, we know that musical events and gatherings will not be a possibility for the foreseeable future. And whatever it may mean for all the artists heading online, music enthusiasts across the world have a lot to gain.
Isolation can be emotionally challenging, and it does not have to be just an online concert to lift your spirits. Music, in general, is known to keep people going and induce comfort. Your favourite music is just a click away and you can indulge in whatever you like. An Italian musician’s rendition of John Lennon’s Imagine on a saxophone from his balcony has stayed with me as much as with his neighbours. There is so much to explore as a music lover. For now, Simon & Garfunkel are keeping me good company.
We are living in unprecedented times, but we need to hang in there. And as the famous Beatles song goes: “…And when the night is cloudy, there is still a light that shines on me; Shine on until tomorrow, let it be…”
First Published: IST