Art unlocked: Artistes on virtual stage to connect with audience | India News – Times of India

* On Michael Jackson’s death anniversary, Bengaluru band Joel Jacob Collective did a ‘tribute concert’ for the King of Pops. As coloured lights and smoke set the mood, the musicians entertained their audience — all of them sitting at home. Comments throughout the show kept the singers motivated.
* When lockdown kept his fans away from theatres, ‘dastango’ (raconteur) from Lucknow Himanshu Bajpai connected with a virtual audience to perform his ‘Dastangoi’ (story-telling). “It is important for us to keep the art alive,” said Bajpai.

Artistes – from classical singers and dancers to theatre groups and Indie bands – are going online as live audiences are out of bounds, to remain connected with their admirers. And, many are earning too.
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While many Bengali plays, like Arun Mukhopadhyay’s iconic Mareech Sangbad, are being streamed as films on OTT platforms, Sutradhar, a theatre group in Hyderabad, screened a pre-recorded play Biryani Aur Haleem selling tickets online for Rs 200.
Indian classical musicians are uploading content to boost their brand. Many like Ustad Rashid Khan and Pandit Bickram Ghosh in Kolkata are doing paid shows online. “Our careers have shifted online for now. I see it as a good thing. I’m getting a decent fee,” said Ghosh.
Pune-based Swara Zankar created its own platform to facilitate paid virtual concerts to unlock classical music. Prominent vocalists participated in the Bhaktiranga fest last month and the ongoing annual Swara Malhar festival.

In Odisha, Odissi danseuse Aruna Mohanty conducted an online dance festival – Udayaraga (ushering in a new dawn) — recently. Videos were uploaded on Orissa Dance Academy’s online platforms.
Not just in Bengaluru, Indie bands are going live online in Kolkata too, many of which are ticketed shows. Some singers, including Bangla band Fossils’ frontman Rupam Islam, are doing solo shows.
And, the Goa University choir was invited to represent Asia to be a part of a virtual rendition of Amazing Grace with legendary American singer-songwriter Judy Collins.
Folk artistes across the country too are going online. In Rajasthan, Ustad Anwar Khan, Mangainar artiste from Jaisalmer, was asked by various international and national groups to perform live on social networking platforms. “When there is no other source of income, online performances have ensured us our daily bread,” said Khan.
Known as king of ‘Nati’ (Himachali folk songs), Thakur Dass Rathi, whose live shows remain in high demand across Himachal Pradesh, released songs on virtual platforms during the lockdown.
Jeevay Punjab, a group of aspiring artistes promoting Punjabi folk music, has opted for social media and online platforms to showcase their talent and raise funds. It has 51,000 YouTube subscribers and 8,000 followers on Facebook. The group is using its online presence to raise funds to launch their first album.
Telugu litterateurs have adapted to the new normal through online Avadhanam, a literary feat unique to Telugu and Kannada culture. About 330 scholars participated online during the lockdown in the grand event, which otherwise is a Herculean task to perform even on stage.
(With inputs from Lucknow, Kolkata, Pune, Bengaluru, Goa, Ahmedabad, Bhubaneshwar, Jaipur, Ludhiana, Bhopal, Shimla & Hyderabad)
(This story is part of a series in association with Facebook. Facebook has no editorial role in this story.)

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