Mon, 19 Aug, 2019

A fusion of music & mystery

At times, the fast pace and mechanical routine that extracts the life out of you, leaving no space for pure, original and musical moments. To heal this boredom, Sofar Sounds seeks to injects that magic of raw, live experiences into everyday lives!

16th May 2019, 02:29 Hrs

BHARATI PAWASKAR


They are intimate, live and original music sessions of national and international artists exclusively meant for curated audiences ranging from 30 to 140 music lovers, at a venue not declared when the date of the show is announced. The location is undisclosed until about 36 hours before the gig, even the names of the performing artists is a big secret, which is spilled only after the audience enters the venue and takes to their seats. The address is emailed a day before the show. And the audience may be taken by a surprise to see their favourite artist performing that evening. This is a purely curated event, designed to give a unique experience to those who attend it. And the organizers have maintained it in each of their shows so far. ‘Sofar Sounds’ is re-imagining the live event experience through curated intimate performances in 431 cities around the world.

“In Goa, ‘Sofar Sounds’ is just 18 months old. We began our journey in this state in October 2017, and since then, we have had 18 curated music shows in Goa, one each in a month. However, worldwide, ‘Sofar Sounds’ has been in existence since 2009,” briefs Chintan Shet, a marketing manager by profession who volunteers for ‘Sofar Sounds’ in Goa.

“Sofar Sounds is globally celebrating its 10th anniversary from May 12-18 and on this occasion we are meeting on May 18 at an undisclosed venue in Terekhol for a special show at 5 pm that’s already sold out,” smiles Chintan. By ‘sold out’ he means that all the seats for this show are already booked, because ‘Sofar Sounds’ is not a commercially run music company that sells tickets. “The concept on which we run is different from the common commercial music events. Our audiences don’t have to buy tickets, or make compulsory contributions for a fixed amount. So any audience member can contribute nothing or even as low as Rs: 50. Of course we can do better shows, rent better sound equipment and pay artists more if we get generous contributions,” quips Chintan. 

Sofar offers curated music experiences. It could be a small get-together in a house or a show in a heritage fort. The show is not publicized on the names of the artists. Sofar is about building a community of music lovers and musicians that get to interact on a more personal level with each other. “We want audiences to come just for the love of discovering fresh, new artists and their sounds, poetry or music, instead of wanting to be there to see a specific or famous band. That’s the speciality of our gig,” smiles Chintan.

The team, that runs the show, comprises entirely of volunteers, all of whom put in their sincere efforts to make the show a reality, month after month. Chintan admits, “Sofar Sounds, for the team, is a passion project and we aim to recreate the magic of live music in Goa by giving our audience an intimate gig experience like they have never ever experienced before. Between them and the music, nothing stands in the middle.”   

It’s an ensemble that comes together for the pure love of music. It was in October 2017 that ‘Sofar Sounds’ became active in Goa and the nine-member team began performing in places such as Panaji, Taleigao, Saligao, Porvorim, Baga, Anjuna, Siolim among others in North Goa. 

The location changes every month, the gigs happen at new venues each time. Till date, ‘Sofar Sounds’ has staged 18 shows in Goa - with each one offering a unique experience to both, the artists as well as the audience.

‘Sofar Sounds’, a platform for artists, encourages only original music. Goan singers and songwriters like Neil Fernandes, Prashant Edwin, Valerie D’Silva, Aviv Pereira, Konkani poet Omkar Naik and Rochelle D’Silva who pens poetry in English have performed so far. Shree Sai Damodar Ghumat Aarti Mandal performed for their first year anniversary gig in October 2018, with some 10 ghumat performers, an instrument a lot of the audience members had not even heard of before. The Goa team comprises of nine - Nupura Hautamaki (city leader), Chintan Shet (marketing manager), Alric Periera (sound engineer), Aldrina Cabral (deco designer), Waman Pednekar (photographer), Chetan Trived (videographer), Tammanna Aurora (venue coordinator), Nerine Fernandes (social media) and Hannu Hautamaki (video-co-ordinator). 

Some of the international artists who have performed on the Sofar stage in Goa are, Madame Gandhi (US), Scott Hildebrand (Chicago), Larry T Hill (Australia/Sri Lanka), Riell (Canada) and Quentin Moore (US), as well as well-known National artists like Valentine Shipley from Silk Route (dooba dooba fame) and bands like Parikrama, Chidakasha, One By Two, Jugali, Old Highway etc.

Sofar Sounds supports a lot of charities too and its city chapters get to help out in their own ways in various causes. They undertake large scale charity events with Amnesty International, some of which Sofar Goa participated in. Sofar transforms everyday spaces - such as a living room or retail shop - and turns it into a captivating venue for secret, live shows, creating an immersive experience that brings guests and artists together to share their love for music. 

(Sofar Sounds Goa - a voluntary driven music community will be celebrating the global anniversary show on May 18 at Terekhol)

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