A pride concert for a cause, by Chennai’s indie musicians

Chennai musician Yogi

Chennai musician Yogi   | Photo Credit: special arrangement

Rainbow Renaissance, a three-day online concert by Period Chennai, brings together musicians such as Mr Kev and Shilpa Natarajan

“In times like these, if there is anything at all we can do to help someone, why not just do it?” says 17-year-old singer-songwriter based in Chennai, Yogi. A vocal member of the LGBTQIA+ community, Yogi (who identifies as he/him), has been a part of the city’s indie music circuit for about two years now. This weekend, he joins other artistes from the community — as well as a number of allies — in a series of online performances for a cause.

Rainbow Renaissance is a three-day concert by Period Chennai, the city chapter of an international organisation that works for menstrual hygiene and awareness. Says Manasa Sanjai, another 17-year-old musician who started the Chennai chapter just a month ago, “There are so many organisations that are working hard through the lockdown to provide people with basic necessities; menstrual products would be one of them. We thought it would be a good idea to bring together a community of artistes who can celebrate Pride Month together while being able to raise money for these causes.”

She adds, “Period [the organisation] functions on the basis of three main pillars — service, education and advocacy. This is our first service project.” For a maiden event, it is pretty ambitious: the line-up comprises a total of 18 artistes, six each on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The team members helming it range mostly between the ages of 18 to 20 years. “Most of us are still in school; some us have just finished school and are starting college,” adds Manasa.

The line-up, however, is varied: featuring long-familiar city names like Mr Kev, whose sounds range from funk to softly instrumental, as well as newer voices like the operatic Vishwa R Shankar. Playback and indie singer Shilpa Natarajan is also part of the line-up, which is otherwise dominated by up-and-coming teenage voices of the city. Expect a range of sounds including rock, Carnatic blends, some joyous ukulele solos and maybe even a few Bollywood mashups.

Proceeds go to a number of NGOs working not only against period poverty, but also for LGBTQIA+ rights and providing related support. Notable among them are Chennai-based Orinam that is one of the long-standing organisations behind Chennai Pride and the city’s LGBTQIA+ rights activities, and Delhi-based Goonj.

Says Aira, a singer-songwriter who prefers to be known only by her stage name, and is also part of Period Chennai, “International Foundation for Crime Prevention and Victim Care (PCVC) is based in Chennai, and works to rescue victims of domestic abuse,” while other NGOs benefiting from the concert include All India Democratic Women’s Association and Noble Cause, both of which have pan-India operations.

Social distancing at home, there isn’t a lot we can physically do to help these initiatives. But Pride Month is also about showing love and support, and it looks like the city’s musicians are ready to show us the way, with Gen Z taking the wheel.

Rainbow Renaissance will be held on June 19, 20 and 21, on Zoom. To buy passes or to donate, click on the link provided on the @period.chennai Instagram page.

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Printable version | Jul 16, 2020 11:56:25 PM |

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