Musicians have been hitting all the right notes during the lockdown to contain the spread of COVID-19. Social media is flooded with singles and music videos that express gratitude or celebrate the spirit of all those in the line of duty.
‘Dhanyvadam’ (Thank you), released last month, is a song of gratitude composed and sung by Harish Sivaramakrishnan, lead vocalist of Agam. “It is for us Malayalis who conformed to the lockdown restrictions and stayed at home to keep the virus at bay,” says Rajesh Kadamba, director of the video. “It was the barren premises of Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple, which is usually crowded with tourists and pilgrims, which gave me the idea for the song. So I felt that we should thank each other for making social distancing work,” says Rajesh. Written by lyricist and former bureaucrat K Jayakumar, it has been filmed by cinematographer Vipinchandran. The camera captures the mood of the lockdown as it pans the emptied roads, market places, railway station, parks and beaches.
Playback singer-violinist Kavya Ajit exhorts people to not take our lives for granted through her English track, ‘Lucky One’. “I believe that we are lucky to be even alive in this unpredictable world and that every day is a blessing. This is the idea that the song stands for,” says the singer. It marks her début as a lyricist and composer. “I also dedicate this to all those people working day and night to keep the situation under control,” she adds. In the video, Kavya is on the violin and Abin Sagar plays the guitar. Her husband, Vidhyasagar Venkatesan, has shot the video at their home in Chennai.
During the lockdown, several composers, singers, instrumentalists, technicians and actors also collaborated via virtual platforms to bring out new productions. Composer Arun Gopan has come out with two such videos — ‘Enthappo cheyya’ and ‘Kaayangal Nooru’.
The former has 90 artistes, which include actors of the big and small screen, singers and television anchors. A light-hearted take on the lockdown, the track, sung by Arun, shows how the artistes keep themselves occupied at their homes. “ Enthappo cheyya? (What to do now) was a question that all of us asked ourselves and each other when the lockdown was announced. Since everyone could easily relate to that thought, director Saheer Abbas ikka and I worked around it. We both had to stall our first film project because of the lockdown,” says Arun.
It was the success of this video that encouraged him to launch the second one, a Tamil song, ‘Kaayangal nooru’ (100 wounds), which has leading singers from Malayalam crooning the number. “Nature is telling us how she is being exploited and the wounds that we keep inflicting upon her,” says Arun. Among the singers are KS Chitra, Madhu Balakrishnan, Sayanora Philip, Sithara Krishnakumar, Harish Sivaramakrishnan, Mridula Varrier, Abhirami Suresh and Amrutha Suresh. Actor Suresh Gopi has rendered some of the lines in the songs in his trademark style. Both songs have been written by Vishnu Raj.
Another multi-singer track is ‘Nenjoducherthu vachidam’, composed by flautist Josy Alappuzha. “This is a thanksgiving for all those people who are guarding and protecting us during this pandemic,” he says. Written by Rajeev Alunkal, the track has Stephen Devassy on the piano. Besides composers Bijibal and Gopi Sunder, Swetha Mohan, Afsal, Najim Arshad, Sayanora, Sithara, Divya S Menon, veteran sound engineer Tennyson and Josy have sung in the project.
Mejo Joseph’s ‘Kavalai Karuthalai’ is another track that got noticed during the lockdown. Sung by playback singer KK Nishad, it lauds the role played by the media during the viral outbreak.
Meanwhile, ‘Jannat-e-Khas’ composed by Shabin brings alive the magic of qawwali. Seventeen artistes from six cities come together in this high-energy track that is about “an ideal world filled with love, harmony and peace.”
Hindustani musicians Krishna Bongane and Nila Madhav Mohapatra are the lead vocalists. According to Shabin, the recording was finished in four sessions. While vocals and percussion were recorded in Mumbai, string section was done in Kochi, bass in Kottayam and the rest in Bengaluru.
Looks like the playlist during the lockdown is getting enriched every day!