In its COVID-19 alert, the World Health Organisation has now highlighted that the number of people who have tested positive for the virus has reached above 37 million all over the world. This indeed is alarming. To bring down the state of concern, artistes, from different parts of the world have come up with innovative ways to communicate with their audience through digital platforms and online virtual concerts.
Even though the sector has faced many challenges affecting the music industry, performers ‘income and musical events have been cancelled all over the world, and these challenges did not prevent performers’ activities, artists have risen to the challenge. Many artists are currently at the forefront of providing art and music through positive messages on the social media.
Professional musicians have played and sung through several online virtual concerts. They promoted some slogans such as “stay at home”, “Together against Corona”, “Music to your door”, “one world, together at home”. The aim is to call on people to stay at home, stay safe and healthy and protect others. The idea is to keep the people entertained and cheerful in the times of corona and quarantine.
Music represents the means of escaping the restriction of the lockdown while at the same time it sends a message of hope in the middle of the pandemic. That is not to say that music and art is only therapeutic during stress. It is something that transcends emotions and reminds us that our shared humanity is universal
In the UAE, “Bait Al Oud” has published on a series of virtual concerts under the name “Your Guest Bait Al Oud”. The UAE Department of Culture and Tourism has also organised several concerts. Abu Dhabi cultural foundation too has organised some concerts on its own channel. Many countries in the Middle East have organised concerts in Egypt, Lebanon, Jordon etc. These concerts have their own bright side where it represented an opportunity for everyone to watch it on the web.
In these unusual circumstances, Europe has been one of the continents worst affected by infection. Again the artists have risen to the occasion when it comes to coming up with innovative means to alleviate the health consequences. For example, the Italians (artists and ordinary people, including homeless) played music in the streets, on the roofs and balconies on many instances. Entire neighbourhoods indulged and interacted with them by singing and dancing.
This represents a novel human initiative to advocate and demonstrate their sympathy with the victims of the virus. Afterwards, the balcony concerts caught up and several European countries followed suit. Another attempt to show compassion with pandemic victims was seen when Andrea Bocelli delivered a powerful Easter concert from an empty cathedral in coronavirus-ravaged Italy, singing songs in a show viewed by millions. It was dubbed “Andrea Bocelli: Music for Hope.”
Overcoming the stress
Hospitals have also turned to music to provide emotional support and as a way to overcome the stress of patients. Europa Press and some Spanish newspapers got into the act and crowd sourced for the victims. The idea was to raise money to fund hospitals and purchase medical equipment.
One of the most innovative ways was in Barcelona, according to CNN, on June 22, as Barcelona Opera House reopened its doors not for people to attend a concert but for 2,292 plants to filled the Opera seats. This is an innovation. It is poignant and strong, and it reminds people have adversity teaches us the value of art.
Music represents the means of escaping restrictions of the lockdown while at the same time it sends a message of hope in the middle of the pandemic. That is not to say that music and art is only therapeutic during stress. It is something that transcends emotions and reminds us that our shared humanity is universal.
Dr Noura S. Al Mazrouei is a writer, academic, international tolerance expert and artist