Coronavirus: Live-streamed performances rise as musicians, singers focus on 'together at home'
As the world adjusts to self-isolation and life in quarantine, singers and musicians across the world, including Chris Martin, John Legend, and Miley Cyrus, are taking their art online to spread the joy of music.
Recently, after watching Oscar-nominated movie Jojo Rabbit, Musician and Singer Omkar Potdar realised something.
“When the Jewish girl is asked what she would do when the war gets over, she said she would dance. Out of so many things that she could possibly do, considering she had lost all her family, she chose to dance when the British flags were doing the rounds of the city, celebrating their victory in war. It was such a wonderful sight that it brought tears to my eyes. It was also coupled with the wonderful David Bowie song Heroes, which has been used to depict independence and freedom in many films,” Omkar says.
An upcoming singer based out of Pune, Omi (as he is popularly known among his friends and colleagues) was supposed to launch his debut EP Paperboats on March 7, followed by a music video screening and launch show on March 17 at Levi’s Lounge in Mumbai.
However, by the time it was time for the launch, India had started reporting several coronavirus cases. Following this, several states issued curfews, shutting down crowded places, and cancelling events that would attract a large crowd.
It wasn't good news for Omi and his company, flying shoe.
“We were having a lot of discussions with event organisers since March 7 about COVID-19. We were thinking of keeping sanitisers and face masks for all attendees. On March 12, we finally had to pull the plug on the show; we had to release the music video through social media. I was really sad as we had been planning this show for two-three months. But it was not fair to put either us or our friends and fans in danger,” he says.
He says engaging in art is the only way one can deal with such difficult times, adding that artistes enjoy the privilege of being able to reach out to many people. It gives people hope and inspiration to push through these tough times, and makes them feel like they are not alone.
Like many singers and musicians, Omi also performed at Midnight Lockdown with Kommune, an Instagram live event organised by Kommune on March 23 to keep fans and friends engaged during these difficult times.
He even participated in the Take Cover initiative by Little Sounds on Instagram where indie musicians were covering their favourite songs. “It's just a way of getting the community together,” says Omi.
Here are a few musicians and singers who played live home concerts for their fans and urged them to stay at home amid the worldwide lockdown:
The lead singer of the famous British rock band Coldplay started the home concert concept called the At Home Together series while doing an Instagram live video for his fans, during which he played several of the band's hits and spoke to viewers, who are in isolation during the coronavirus outbreak.
The series was started by Global Citizen, an organisation that focuses on combating global poverty. Now, every Tuesday, one concert is live-streamed on social media.
Following the Coldplay frontman was John Legend. The singer of All of Me took to Twitter to announce his home concert. He wrote,
"My friend Chris Martin did a lovely little concert from home today. I'll be doing one tomorrow at 1 pm Pacific time. See you soon. We'll try to get through this together! #TogetherAtHome."
He also asked his fans to let him know which other artists he should "pass the torch to".
American singer Pink also took to the Facebook-owned photo-sharing platform to announce that she too would perform from the comfort of her home for her fans during the pandemic.
The 40-year-old singer shared a video of her singing and wrote, "Free concert slash piano lessons from my heart to yours to make you feel my love rehearsals."
Composer and the music supervisor on Gully Boy Ankur Tewari also held an online jam for his followers.
"It is essential for people to stay indoors and as much as possible, and try and avoid being in social gatherings. I wanted to encourage that. I thought I'll do a gig so they don't feel that there's fun happening in the outside world and there's nothing for them," Tewari told PTI.
"Everything is so uncertain, we don't know how long it''s going to go on, what's happening. But music is always a good healer so I thought it'd be good to sing songs to people." Taking to music in times of distress was natural, he said.
American country singer Miley Cyrus also launched a social media show, Bright Minded: Live with Miley, which will air "live on Instagram every weekday at 2:30 p.m. ET/11:30 a.m. PT”, the singer said.
The singer of Disney’s Hannah Montana fame also said that her next guest would be a big one, announcing later that Demi Lovato would be joining her for a conversation.
Apart from these singers, Charlie Puth, Ellie Goulding, John Legend, Rita Ora, and other artistes also performed at Twitch Stream Aid 2020 on Saturday to benefit the World Health Organisation's COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund.