With the current lockdown, South Africa’s artists have been forced to come up with innovative ways to bring their music to their audience.
Many artists are live-streaming performances via already popular online platforms such as YouTube and Instagram. Live-streamed performances aren’t restricted because of physical space.
American rapper Swae Lee had a stage built for his live performance and even stage dove into an imaginary crowd. As amusing as that was for his fans, it showed even the entertainment industry has been affected by the current coronavirus pandemic.
Streamed performances unite the world, bring the artists into the fans’ homes and are more intimate than a packed stadium.
Zolani Mahola of the group Freshlyground invites fans to tune in on her Instagram page, YouTube or Facebook every weekday from 6pm to 6.30pm, when she will be singing and chatting, sharing her thoughts about life, love, family, isolation, lockdown and Covid-19 with fans and music lovers.
“I want to connect to my fellow humans around the world and share my gifts, while encouraging people to not always focus on being in isolation,” she said.
Mahola is known for sharing many of her personal experiences while performing, at times with short stories.
“I always share about my own experience so, yes, people get to hear about the inspiration behind certain songs and get a glimpse into my perspective on life,” she says.
“Music has been a source of strength, a form of expression and release for humans since … forever. Since dancing around a fire in a cave as the earliest homo sapiens on the continent. Since our mothers sang us to sleep for the first time. It is a blessing that we cannot do without.
“I am fortunate to have chosen to channel this gift and it is fun and important for me to share it.”
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I will be here listening for your heartbeat and connecting one to another. 6pm this eve and tomorrow eve and most likely the next. From the tip of Africa to all of the world. With love #TheOneWhoSings ???? @antoniasteyn Creative direction @angelanemov ???? @zakiyya_bham ✨✨✨✨
She encourages keen fans to interact and participate with her online.
“Social media allows for lots of engagement, which is why I love the Instagram format … people communicate with me in real-time and can request that I play my new material or from the Freshlyground catalogue.
“I have even sung the South African anthem on request, which was lovely. But it is a time to share breath and find some comfort together.”
Mahola has a list of favourite tunes she’d like her fans to hear. She released a video to a song called Here is a Thing on YouTube.
For her, the song feels like a message of peace and calm. She wishes that all who hear it find a sense of stillness in nature, an emotion she would like to share with everyone. The song is subtitled, ideal for a sing-along.
Fans will be excited to learn she’s “already released a song on my blog, the link of which is on my website.
“I invited people to respond to it creatively: film themselves doing a little dance or writing their own song or poem, planting a tree, drawing a picture … anything. I will post my favourites.”
Meditation is her current coping mechanism and as she explains helps to keep her connected with her soul, a form of interacting too much with the uncertainty of the time.
Other artists who live-streamed performances:
- Black Coffee
- DJ Maphorisa & Kabza De Small
- Black Motion
- DJ Zinhle