With the Covid-19 pandemic taking a toll on people of all walks of life, especially those who do not have proper jobs, musicians in the Hills have found online platforms that have been helping them to some extent.

Two such platforms have been provided here by the Angels Production Studio (APS) and Park Studio (PS), where bands and solo artists are given a stage to perform, while the performance is streamed live on social media.

And as people watch and listen to them, they are also depositing cash in the bank accounts of the artists.

“We first started this in April where live performances were streamed from the artist’s homes, but no contribution was taken that time, with more than 90 bands and artists performing. However, we felt that due to this ongoing pandemic, there is no source of income for them, so from this month onwards, we started airing live performances from Buzz in Glenary’s through Facebook. The bank account number of the band is also given and people transfer their contributions there,” said Pragya Lama, the artist management of APS, which has five members.

APS, which is doing this in collaboration with Glenary’s, a popular restaurant here, provides everything free of cost, which includes the stage at Buzz, a professional cameraman and sound system.

The live shows are streamed after 6 in the evening on Wednesdays and Saturdays.

Till now, local bands like Pennytrait, Something Colourful, OV and Parichay Tunes have already performed from Buzz, with them having got a good response from 500 to 1000 viewers.

“The bread and butter of many musicians are live shows, which they have not been able to do now. This situation might persist for a longer period of time, and we feel this will provide some financial relief to them. We are appealing to people to transfer a minimum amount of Rs 50, but we have come to know that some have also transferred a sum as big as Rs 5,000,” said Mr Lama, who is the lead guitarist of popular bands like Mantra and Adam’s Apple.

PS member Deven Gurung, on the other hand, said, “We had started this in May, with the main aim to give musicians a platform to showcase their talent. The first performance was done with members of Forbidden Fruit and Red Sky Pirates. However, no contribution was taken then, with more bands and solo artists performing. The idea of taking contributions for the artists was given to us by APS, which we also started from this month.”

Two bands like Nidhi Konnection and Pennytrait have already performed from PS, where contributions were asked for. The PS, which has about eight members from the music field, does this all free of charge, as they provid space for their performances and drums, amplifiers and a proper public address system.

They go live on Facebook after 6 in the evening every Friday. They also said that they follow the health guidelines who staging the show. Observing World Music Day, that falls today, they will be airing such live programmes the whole week in the evenings.

“There are many musicians that do not have other jobs and are dependent on their performances, and we feel this will provide them with a source of income. We do not know how much they are earning through these live performances as the funds go directly to their bank accounts,” said Mr Gurung, who is also the lead singer of Red Sky Pirates.

Commenting on these initiatives, the drummer of Parichay Tunes, Prashant Lakandri, said, “This is a good initiative as many artists are dependent on programmes, but given the pandemic we are not getting such options and this may go on for a year or two. Moreover, with those in the musical field not getting help from any front, this is a welcome step.”