With the nationwide lockdown in force, a popular band here is performing live on social media to raise funds from fans across the world in support of people whose livelihood has been affected by the shutdown and also to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.
With weekly markets shut and inter district movement shut, the livelihood of several farmers have been hit, Rudy Wallang of the city-based Soulmate band, told PTI. The Soulmate earlier this week performed live on their Facebook page to raise funds from their fans across the world in support for Rural 7trep aid COVID19.
We performed live from our living room. Our fans across the country and abroad loved it. I think a lot of people donated for the cause, the soulmate frontman told PTI. He said that the goal is to raise ₹7 lakh and after they performed, an additional ₹1 lakh plus was found raised by the next morning.
He said COVID-19 and the lockdown has also hit the musicians and the performing artists in Meghalaya as their earnings have stopped and they are contemplating to write to the state government to consider some financial package for them.
Meghalaya is among the few states in the country which has zero COVID-19 positive case till date. “Financially, this lockdown hasnt been good. Musicians and performing artists are hit the hardest since their income is wholly dependent on people coming together to shows, concerts and festival,” Rudy told PTI.
Since lockdown, many musicians and performing artists have nowhere to go and other means to earn livelihood is scarce and tough, he said. “Suddenly musicians across the world have no other way to earn. We are similar to the daily wage earners. We fall in the same category. We perform for shows mostly outside the state ranging from 2 to 4 shows a month,” Rudy said.
Another famous performing artist from Meghalaya, Lou Majaw, shared a different story of his lockdown experiences. “Mostly I do my chores, listen to music and play some guitar during the lockdown period. I also attend to my kitchen garden,” Lou, who is often referred to as Bob Dylan of India, told PTI.
Asked about lockdown and how it has impacted musicians across the world, Lou, 73, said, “Aren’t we grateful for this life? Why complain? Let us take one day at a time and deal with the situation at hand.”
Lou even reached out for a firm handshake and played his guitar like no pandemic happened in the world (at least in Meghalaya it is still safe). Lou has been playing his guitar for several decades now. He began his career by singing in bars and pubs for various groups such as the Dynamite Boys, Vanguards, Supersound Factory, and Blood and Thunder in Kolkata.
In 1966, Lou was introduced to Bob Dylan’s work and was also instrumental in organising every year the Bob Dylans concert here since 1972.