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Because the fun doesn’t stop!

The state may be on lockdown mode these days. But, turns out Goa still has a lot of exciting events happening. All of it online of course. NT BUZZ tells you what to look out for
CHRISTINE MACHADO
NT BUZZ

Sitting down at a restaurant with some good food and great music to give you company may seem like a distant dream these days. Or listening to some soulful poetry live for that matter. But don’t despair yet. Goan artistes are now bringing the entertainment straight to your home, all at the click of a button.
Together for music
“It started with a simple Instagram story. I uploaded a 10-second video of me playing a portion of a song, inviting viewers to guess the song title. I did a few more of these videos and the response was phenomenal,” says Ethan Mascarenhas (Instagram handle @photo.takeouter). Realising that during this lockdown period especially, people had more time on their hands to listen to some music on Instagram, he decided to upload some song covers. “To my surprise, many friends wanted to collaborate with me on this,” he says. 
And thus, Mascarenhas began working with other young music enthusiasts to bring out videos where each of them worked on a song together from their respective homes, sometimes even from different countries. “Either I contact people I know who sing or some of the viewers suggest names to me. Some who are interested in collaborating direct message me on Instagram,” says Mascarenhas, adding that there is no selection process. 
At the moment, each video fetches an average of 1000 views. The main challenge though in putting the sessions together is to time and sync everything perfectly. Sometimes poor internet connectivity can be a major barrier, he admits. “But with the help of software and metronome, everything becomes pretty easy,” he says. 
But the experience has been amazing, he says. “I have collaborated before with people to do covers, but this has been something different and a whole new experience for me. I have been getting responses from all over the world thanks to the hashtags and shares,” he says. And while nothing can beat live sessions, he hopes to continue these online sessions at least once a week, even post the lockdown period.
An informal living room mehfil
If you’re more of a Facebook kind of person, musician Pralay Bakshi will entertain you daily, live, at 7 p.m. with some groovy covers of Bollywood hits. Make sure you put in your requests beforehand of course. “The announcement of a 21-day lockdown immediately led to the question – what am I going to do with all this time, stuck at home? And, since everyone was in the same situation, what are they going to do?” says Bakshi. Having watched clips of celebrities like Miley Cyrus, Demi Lovato, John Legend, etc, entertaining people from home, he decided he could do something similar. “A home concert was the perfect way to do something productive with my time, keep my singing going and to connect with those who enjoy my music,” he says. 
Having begun on March 24, Bakshi typically gets about 30-40 requests per day, usually sent to him either through Facebook or WhatsApp. “I keep the session interactive and take requests on the fly too. It’s like an informal living room mehfil,” he says, adding that people have come up with requests for songs that he composed even 20 years ago or songs that he sung on a specific occasion with them. “It’s such a fantastic trip down memory lane!” he says.
And the sessions, he says, have also helped him actively reconnect with a lot of friends and family. “Being able to meaningfully reconnect is a huge plus,” he says.
While good audio and video quality out of a bedroom can be a problem, Bakshi admits that he was lucky that he had some equipment that he uses for his band shows (Groove Dakshina). “The other challenge is the availability of steady, good quality internet for streaming. While I did have a bit of internet trouble a few days ago, I managed with a makeshift setup through my phone internet,” he says. And while post the lockdown, he may not have time for long sessions (each daily session is about 90 minutes), he has a couple of ideas to try and keep the momentum going. “The first is a once a week session. The other is a ‘song a day’ project on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube,” he says, adding that the lockdown has demonstrated how social media can help one reach audiences around the world. “This avenue can definitely be used by musicians. In fact, I have been sharing this idea with members of the music community in Goa and encouraging them to do this with English or instrumental music. I, for one, have already discussed doing a live session with my band, maybe once a month,” he says.
Of music and hope
Musician Varun Carvalho and his Rise Nation band have also gotten into the online concert groove. “Since everyone is quarantined at home, we decided to take the concert into peoples’ homes. The idea was to raise the spirits of the people. Many have thanked me for the message of hope that we are delivering through our music,” he says.
Having done their Music for Hope concert live on March 29 where they played tracks from their new album ‘Reloaded’ and some from their unreleased album, they are now planning their next live online concert on April 4 ie today. “This will be a one-and-half-hour acoustic concert and I will be playing all my hit songs. The brand new ‘Let’s fight the Corona’ song will also be part of the lineup,” he says, adding that observing the success so far, they hope to live stream all their concerts so that people all over the world can enjoy their music.
A complete entertainment package
Popular Instagram page Maiche Kazar also hopped onto the live streaming train recently. The page in association with Sainath Uskaikar short films and Aryavrat Malhotra launched ‘MK Lockdown Live’, a platform to provide users with the experience of live events from the comfort of their homes. The first bunch of sessions were held between March 27 and March 31, every day at 8 p.m. featuring popular local independent music, comedy and other performance artistes on their Instagram page, with 10K views in total. A highlight reel of these performances will soon be upon their page. “We’re going to have more artistes live soon and are looking at making it more interactive,” says founder Maiche Kazar, Mitanshu Kawlekar.
Keeping it personal
Goan musician Jairaj Joshi and his band ‘Left Turn’ are doing quarantine concerts too – but with a different take. They take requests from people and then personally video call each of the persons for whom the song is meant for, and perform live. “We were recording our album in the studio when the lockdown happened and so the whole band is quarantined together,” explains Joshi. 
And the experience has been amazing so far, he says, with over 50 calls done already. “Most people request songs for their mothers, fathers, grandparents, or children. We then call these people up. For example, we call the mother up and tell her that her daughter requested a song for her. And then we add the daughter on the video call too,” states Joshi. Since the performances require the person to be available on video call, most people for whom the performance is meant know about it in advance. The band has also done a few surprise acts. Mostly, the requests they get are Hindi songs and romantic numbers requested by partners or kids’ songs for the children, he says. While these requests are from all over India, they have also had one from Finland and one from the USA.
Know the artiste
If you’d like to learn more about the journey and inspiration of music artistes, local, national and international, The Live Music Project (TLMP) is hosting live one-hour TLMP Sunset Sessions which will feature conversations with artistes. Having begun on April 2, their first guest was Goan musician Omar de Loiola Pereira. “The idea is to focus on local, national and international artistes who have performed at TLMP gigs and festivals,” says co-founder TLMP, Vinesh Iyer, adding that this idea had been on his mind for a while now but owing to tight schedules he had not been able to put this into action – until now. “The plan is to keep this going ideally throughout the year,” he says, adding that artistes have been contacting them to get featured. “We will be creating an archive of these sessions too,” says Iyer adding that while the online medium is great for artistes to reach out, the real scene is still live gigs in venues. 
A wider reach
Poet Rochelle D’Silva has been doing online poetry sessions live on Instagram. “The idea arose purely from the need to stay sane and to feel useful and to have some semblance of a normal life. Once I dealt with the panic and the anxiety from the uncertainty of the coronavirus situation, I knew I had to do something that’s out of my comfort zone,” she shares. She holds a live gig on Instagram every Friday and will not be posting the videos on her feed later. “I want to be in the moment and still have it feel like a live gig. It also allows me to be open and vulnerable in the moment,” she says, adding that people have tuned in from different parts of the world.
Besides this, she will also be doing a couple of poetry workshops on April 5. “Writing has been helping me get through what’s going on in the world right now. So, I put a post on Instagram asking if anyone else would like to do a workshop and write together. I’ve even had people in different countries want to join in. I’ve picked two different times that will hopefully suit everyone. I’m still keeping each batch small so we can have more meaningful interactions,” she says, adding that she definitely wants to do more online workshops in the future. “Going online means you can reach out to so many more people. But it’s just slightly harder to connect with strangers over the internet, especially if you’re someone like me who feels awkward looking at themselves on a screen. But it helps that we’re all in this together,” she says.

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