Live streaming Music

A digital hope in the times of lockdown

Live-streaming concerts could be a way out during lockdown

Live-streaming concerts could be a way out during lockdown   | Photo Credit: By arrangement

Has the Hyderabadi classical music fraternity opened up to the idea of live streaming one’s concerts directly from home yet?

“If people resort to live-streaming a classical concert in the same city as they live and can’t spend two hours in their weekend to attend it, it truly speaks of the love that they have for their country’s roots,” claimed a well-known cultural organiser in Hyderabad in the pre-COVID-19 era.

Hyderabad, unlike many of its Indian counterparts, took time to move towards live streaming its classical concerts. The reasons have been straightforward, at least from what the sabhas have got to say: “There are no audiences to concerts already. Won’t they also diminish if we begin live-streaming?”

But, the situation has changed over the last year or so and the sabhas have thankfully not limited themselves — many cultural groups in the city like Vignana Samithi, Sujanaranjani, Sangeetha Ksheera Sagaram, Kalasagaram and Sri Karthikeya Gana Sabha have consistently streamed their concerts and events live on YouTube and Facebook, witnessing impressive view count on the platforms. While the number of people attending a concert hasn’t come down (or increased either), the scope of the events and concerts have widened as a result.

COVID-19, without a doubt, been harsh on the local artistes with most shows in the next few months standing cancelled, postponed and being uncertain. Yet, it’s important to understand every crisis presents a ray of hope and new opportunities too. A series of pre-recorded videos, that have been timely and healing at this hour, by musicians such as Sweta Prasad, Ranjani-Gayathri have generated impressive traction on Facebook.

T M Krishna reached out to his audience through a live-streamed concert

T M Krishna reached out to his audience through a live-streamed concert   | Photo Credit: Shankar Ramachandran (Facebook page of T M Krishna)

Sudha Ragunathan had already gone live for an interaction with her followers where she presented a brief concert. T M Krishna has organised a ticketed virtual concert, for which the responsehas been huge. In a first of its kind initiative, Hyderabad-based performers, researchers Carthik Shankar and Ajeesh Menon came together for a series of lec-dems under ‘Ekadantam Bhajeham’, where they celebrate the genius of Muthuswamy Dikshitar commemorating his 245th birth anniversary.

“We’ve regularly streamed the concerts organised by our sabha on YouTube/Facebook. In fact, we were to organise a concert in April, which is unlikely to happen in the current scenario. Streaming in the current scenario will certainly have increased significance because of the larger audience we have, but the organic quality of a live experience is something else. Live-streaming concerts from their homes is something that artistes can consider — it’ll give them fame and reach yes. I, however, see this as a stop-gap initiative which will helpful for the artist yet it won’t provide them with the satisfaction of a regular concert,” Ganapathi Murthy of Sri Karthikeya Gana Sabha shares.

Tumburu Music Academy, a brainchild of musician Sridhar Thoopurani, which has regularly maintained its digital presence for its events, was to host its monthly concert in this weekend (by Vaidyanathan Balasubramania), which now stands cancelled. Sridhar is, however, open to newer horizons at the hour. “While all the musicians remain at home, I am open to the possibility of organising concerts i.e. ensure a digital collaboration where one can club the sounds of the instruments and the voice of the vocalist together. Though I am not sure of the specifics and the technical snags that may occur, I would be open to the idea,” he states.

One doesn’t need to reinstate the fact that a vocal music concert need not always be held amid the presence of instrumentalists (they can instead live-stream their own solo concerts from home too and could give the Italian balconies a tough fight). Tambura is a home-grown option that a vocalist could consider, adds dancer, musician Geetha Ganesan. “Live-streaming can be a feasible option as long as it’s a single artiste who’s performing, otherwise syncing from different locations can be an issue. We need concerts and similar attempts by Hyderabad-based artistes because performances are a two-way exercise for an artiste — it enriches their soul and that of the audience too. And that people have come to appreciate the value of our art is a sign of hope,” she feels.

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Printable version | May 25, 2020 5:48:45 PM |

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