Music in time of Covid-19: indie artistes bring healing originals to virtual fundraising gig

Featuring Mahesh, Aman Jagwani and Anubha Kaul, Second Sight, Meera Desai, Mansi Multani and Echoes of Cadence, Concerts for Covid Relief’ is going live this weekend

By Reema Gowalla

In the past few weeks, theatre director Tanvi Shah has been anything but an artiste. She is at the heart of her father, Dr Tushar Shah’s, crowdfunding initiative to support Covid-19 relief work in Mumbai, one of India’s worst-affected cities in the second wave. From arranging for medical packages for cemetery and crematorium workers to urging people to double mask, she has been fronting relief work day in, day out.

In tune with her efforts to raise more funds, Tanvi has now collaborated with vocalist Anusha Ramasubramoney to curate a special three-day music concert that is bringing together an intriguing line-up of independent artistes from Bengaluru, New Delhi, Mumbai and Ahmedabad, who’ll be presenting a rich oeuvre of original tracks and a few covers. Kickstarting tonight, ‘Concerts for Covid Relief’ will feature Mahesh, Aman Jagwani and Anubha Kaul, Second Sight, Meera Desai, Mansi Multani and Echoes of Cadence. To be streamed on SkillBox, the online event is slated to take place on May 28, 29 and 30, from 9 pm to 10.30 pm. In total, it will feature six acts by nine artistes over three nights.

Cognizant creators with a voice

“We are currently living from one day to the next. Given the country’s grim Covid situation, it’s difficult to say how things will unfold by the end of the year. At this juncture, I am proud to join hands with this diverse, independent community of artistes that is politically and ethically cognizant. They are creators with a voice, who are driving the much-needed impetus and helping to raise funds through their music in these difficult times,” says Tanvi.

For Anusha, who will be performing on May 28 with guitarist Pushkar Srivatsal, this virtual gig is “a great confluence of original music by indie artistes”. “At a time when auditoriums and performance spaces remain shut, we are coming online to entertain music lovers and raise some money,” she adds.

Spreading the message of hope through music

“I’ll be presenting a pure acoustic set that will include some original music and lyrics, two covers and a special number that my grandmother used to sing,” says film and theatre actor and musician Mansi, who’ll be performing live from New Delhi on May 29. These songs, the artiste adds, give a glimpse to her new EP that she plans to launch later this year.

According to Mansi, although not much is spoken about them, India’s ‘non-essential’ artiste community has been the resilient, selfless and hardworking lot through the pandemic. “Be it theatrewallahs, musicians or other indie artistes, they have come forward to help each other and support relief initiatives ever since the viral outbreak began in 2020. I have been working with Tanvi and Anusha for a long time now, and it only feels heartening to collaborate with them on a Covid fundraiser. As artistes, we have long been away from the stage, so what better way to get back to our art and spread awareness. It’s a gesture to reconnect and heal together,” she elaborates.

Echoing similar sentiments, Ahmedabad’s folk and Jazz artiste Meera Desai says, “It’s a rewarding experience to be part of this Covid relief initiative. Dr Tushar Shah is doing a noble job, and I am happy to be contributing to this cause through my songs of ‘hope and healing’. This online concert will allow us to reach a larger group of audience and encourage them to help those in need.”

Each ticket is a festival pass for the weekend. It has a pay-what-you-can policy, and goes directly towards the relief work in public and peripheral hospitals, among frontline workers, at vaccination centres and crematoriums, within informal bastis, at-risk communities and more. To know more about the relief work, visit Tanvi’s Instagram page; if you would like to volunteer, write to her at



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