Singing a successful tune in troubled times

When P. Jayachandran went to the recording studio near his home in Thrissur on the evening of July 2, he was stepping out for the first time in over three months. A little later, he began his first ever live show on social media.

For two hours, accompanied just by a harmonium, flute and tabla, the acclaimed playback singer entertained music fans logging into their Facebook accounts from across the globe.

Seventy-six-year-old Jayachandran, a favourite of composers of different generations, from G. Devarajan to A.R. Rahman, was performing in a series of live shows by SAMAM, an association of Malayalam playback singers, to raise funds of struggling musicians rendered jobless by the COVID-19.

For 72 days

The series, which has featured almost all contemporary playback singers in Malayalam cinema, concludes on Tuesday, the 72nd day of live shows. And it promises quite a finale – as many as 65 singers will perform. The show will be on from 8 p.m. Videos of all the shows are available there.

K.S. Chithra’s show has proved the most popular, with nearly 3.5 lakh views. Rimi Tomy is a big hit; the show has been watched 1.5 lakh times within a week.

“I opened a new Facebook account just for this show and though I was apprehensive about the idea, I enjoyed it thoroughly,” Rimi tells The Hindu over phone. “It was great interacting with music fans in real time and singing the songs requested by them.”

Donation of ₹20 lakh

The grateful music fans have paid back, too. “We have been able to collect about ₹20 lakh so far through donations,” says Sudeep Kumar, president, SAMAM. “We never imagined the programme would become such a big success.”

There is more to come. Next month, SAMAM will do live shows on YouTube; it would go on for the next six months.

The online show has also opened up a new avenue for the musicians, all of whom are dealt a heavy blow by the coronavirus, with chances of returning to the stage in the near future looking increasingly dim.

“I have received an offer to perform online for an organisation in Canada,” says Devanand. “Some singers have already conducted online live shows. It is a relief for us in these difficult times.”

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Printable version | Aug 15, 2020 6:29:52 PM |

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