Apr 21 2021.views 393
This week on the buzz I speak to a team of people who have taken the time to give back to society. The Covid lifestyle sure did break us financially, mentally and more than everything our spirit to do more. The creative industry sure did suffer a lot with many losing gigs and with all the downsizing. Today I speak to the team who came forward to help out our talented artistes who are stuck with no jobs during these pressing times with a fundraiser in Aussie. I sat down with them for a quick chat.
How is the situation for the local western music artists in our country? The local Western music artists and the industry as a whole have been decimated by the pandemic, many musicians whose sole means of livelihood were abruptly bereft of their only means of keeping the home fires burning.
What sparked the idea? The idea of lending a helping hand came about from a casual conversation between Sohan Weerasinghe and myself (Imran) while discussing the unfortunate situation many of the people we knew and worked within the industry are in and it was time to give back to an industry which had given us so much.
How are the committees helping the artists during these times? There are many committees that are endeavouring to help artists, and every little bit helps. Some of those who reached out to us we realised, didn’t have connections to these organisations for whatever reason. Both Sohan and I did know them, had worked with them and understood that they had a genuine need hence our decision to lend a helping hand.
Tell me about the upcoming fundraiser in Australia? Since I have been in Melbourne in the past few months, in another one of our chats between Sohan and myself, we realised the funds we had collected in January were almost over but there was still a large number of people who needed our continued support. At the same time, I happened to meet Gerry Melder who owned an art gallery in Melbourne housed in an industrial warehouse, called MULBURY which had a beautiful event space, similar to Park Street Mews in Colombo. Gerry when learning of what we were doing promptly offered his venue for a fundraiser. From this point, it began to snowball with the addition of Sonali Lindsay ex Champagne & Chris Mant ex Heat who are now residing in Melbourne and part of a band called Cloud 9 also in the entertainment line up was Shivantha Wijesinha, another Sri Lankan making his mark on the world stage as singer, actor and musician. Emageia a global tech company with offices in Sri Lanka came on board and we are now all set with more from the community joining in as word got around.
How many artists are in the count? And how can one help? Locally the best way to assist would be to get in touch with Sohan Weerasinghe through his social media pages. as for how many musicians are in the count we have never really looked at the numbers, but almost daily or weekly we hear of people in the industry who need assistance and Sohan then reaches out to see what could be done.
Do you feel the music industry has changed? Has it changed for the better? The music industry has
changed whether it has changed for the better is a matter of opinion. I grew up with musicians who were absolutely brilliant at what they did, performers, entertainers who lived for their music with the stage as their kingdoms, passion for performing was their motivation. There were no auto-tunes, lip-syncing, meaningless dances as props instead there was raw talent and energy that held audiences in their thrall, right now to some its just a business, but having said that we have the Umara & Umaria Sinhawansa, the Randhir Witanas, Corrinne Almeidas and a host of other artists and bands who keep the flag of pure entertainment flying, unfortunately in a minority but hopefully, in a majority with the new artistes we see emerging.