There are two sides to every coin. Yes, the pandemic has been a massive cog in the wheel of the music business. Audiences are pining for a gig like a person lost in a desert thirsts for water. Online concerts are a mere shadow of the real thing. But at the same time, the virtual medium has also opened the doors for international artistes like never before. It’s made live global music more accessible. And the organisers of Mumbai Piano Day — an annual celebration of the instrument in the city — are reaping that benefit this year with a power-packed line-up of musicians all the way from Australia to the US.
Neil Banks, whose events firm Gigatainment hosts it, tells us that premier keyboards company Roland had a big hand to play in it. “It’s a niche event, so getting sponsors would always be difficult earlier. That’s why we mainly had Indian artistes performing. But it was much easier to get international artistes this year because we didn’t have to worry about air fare and other overheads, since the event has moved online,” he says.
It means that fans of the instrument can now watch the likes of Myron McKinley from the comfort of their homes. He’s an American who’s been the keyboard player for Stevie Wonder, Chaka Khan, Backstreet Boys and Whitney Houston. Then there’s UK-based Gary Husband, who’s played with stalwarts including John McLaughlin. Lachy Doley — who’s been dubbed as the Jimi Hendrix of the whammy clavinet — will fly the Australian flag, while the Indians on the line-up include piano whiz kid Lydian Nadhaswaram and Louiz Banks, the instrument’s godfather in Mumbai.
There was even a competition that preceded the event, and Banks tells us that while that will remain online next year, the actual event will move back to a physical space like the NCPA when the world opens up again. But that would also mean that the doors would be at least partially closed to international artistes. So, make hay while the sun shines this year, and soak in the music of these big names while you can.
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