During lockdown, reaching out to artistes in distress

Vocalist and author T.M. Krishna and writer Lalitharam, have stepped in to help artistes who have been deprived of their livelihood, by mobilising funds for them

April 17, 2020 04:41 pm | Updated April 18, 2020 11:37 am IST - CHENNAI

Carnatic singer T.M. Krishna

Carnatic singer T.M. Krishna

Summer corresponds with the Tamil months—Panguni, Chithirai and Vaikasi—and has always been a productive season for musicians and folk artistes as many weddings and temple festivals, particularly in temples of folk deities in the southern districts, take place during this period.

The COVID-19 pandemic, however, came in the way this year. As cancellations of weddings and temples festivals deprived the artistes of their livelihood, vocalist and author T.M. Krishna and writer Lalitharam, the founder of Parivaidhini, which promotes nagaswaram and thavil music, stepped in to help them by mobilising funds.

“To date we have distributed over ₹23 lakh to around 700 artistes and we still have a lot of requests for help,” said Mr. Krishna, who has set up the COVID-19 Artists Fund.

The money is distributed through Sumanasa Foundation and Bhuvana Foundation. “I started with an online concert and donors have come forward to make a contribution. We directly transfer money to the accounts of the artistes. We give each artiste ₹3,500,” Mr. Krishna, a Magsaysay Award winner said.

Artistes performing nagaswaram and thavil, devotional music, instrument makers, karagattam, koothu, light and sound technicians, make-up artists, naiyandimelam, pambai, parai, poikalkuthirai, regional theatre artistes, silambam and tholpavaikoothu artistes are given assistance by Mr. Krishna.

“We consulted artistes and experts in the field for identifying the deserving candidates and credited money in their bank accounts. We give the money to individuals or to the troupe. We are very transparent in our transactions,” Mr. Krishna explained.

Mr. Lalitharam said Parivadhini was only playing the role of facilitator in linking the donors and the artistes.

“We have confined ourselves to nagaswaram and thavil players and we have selected artistes who are above 60 years old. Donors directly transfer the money to their accounts,” Mr. Lalitharam said.

So far, Parivadhini has helped 155 nagaswaram and thavil players. “We request the donors to give ₹5,000 to each artiste. So far, we have distributed ₹77,500,” he said.

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