With the coronavirus-induced lockdown still putting a lid on cultural events, several Telugu regional music bands have now launched virtual concerts and live streamings on social media to connect with their audience.
“We wanted to do something to reach out to our audience and entertain them. We tried various video-conferencing applications, but that did not work out. That is when, one fine day, I and Abhyuday came up with the idea of live in-sync concerts and set up Echoes Project,” says Sai Teja, the percussionist of all-boys band Band Capricio. The band — which also includes Dinker Kalvala, Eknath Kiran, Shravan Pakalapati, Sam and Anirudh (Kaali) — performed on June 27 performed with Echoes Project, a platform that broadcasts live in-sync concerts and is founded by Teja and friend Abhyuday Chowdary.
“We set up this project to make sure we provide the best audio and video quality to our audience because people will not be able to visit cafes and auditoriums for a long time. I would describe this as a one-stop music solution for the people,” Teja explained. Echoes Project recently teamed up with playback singer Chinmayi Sripada for a virtual, but ticketed, concert too.
Capricio’s lead vocalist Eknath Kiran desired the experience: “It was very new and exciting. We did not expect to pull it off, but for a first time thing, we did it very well. We could check the requests and comments in front of our screens, and the audience also reacted very well.” Kiran added that the were planning more.
“We also faced some difficulties when the concert was about to start. We had done the sound-checks properly, but once we started, the audience started commenting that they could not hear us. So we had to turn off the whole system and then turn it on again,” added Teja.
Meanwhile, Band Merakee has started performing live streaming sessions on social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook. Lead vocalist Ganesh Krovvidi said they had a great Instagram live session because the audience is now “habitual to these kinds of virtual concerts and live sessions.” But they too faced certain hiccups. “Like when we play in front of them, we can sense their mood after two-three songs. But while doing Instagram live, we could only rely on the comments to know how the audience was feeling or what feedback it wanted to give,” he added.
Band Merakee’s manager Vidya Sivalenka, who has also worked as a radio jockey, said all this is how no help when it comes to earnings. “Unless we ticket the event, it will not be helpful financially. The whole idea behind live streaming is to entertain the audience who used to attend our shows. So live streaming is something we cannot make money out of, but it is to stay relevant so that people just remember.” Vidya added that their band is also planning to do a virtual live in-sync concert soon, where they will be taking requests from the audience as well.
Continuing the trend, the Affair With Music (AWM) band, a contemporary and fusion group, also performed several Instagram live sessions initially, but then switched to pre-recorded music videos. Speaking about their live streaming sessions, lead vocalist Akshay Nanduri said: “We faced difficulties in network connection, so we opted for pre-recorded videos.”
“We need to use some software for Instagram live. But there is a lag of a couple of seconds between the instruments, so we decided to go for pre-recorded videos. In the case of playing live in front of the audience, the sync within the band members and instruments is fine. But when it comes to performing virtually, that sync is lost,” Akshay added.
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