With new normal back in town, Hyderabadi musicians, bands breathe easy

“It was a hard time during the lockdown with zero gigs and no real source of income. But post lockdown, going back on stage felt great," said a memeber of a Hyderabad-based band.

Hyderabad: Pre-lockdown, the live music scene in Hyderabad was booming, and just when the industry was growing from strength-to-strength, a sudden nationwide lockdown imposed due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic literally brought everything to a grinding halt. Since March 2020, all performances and shows were called-off, and musicians lost their gigs over night. 

However, with the COVID-19 situation now getting better, and a post-COVID life becoming the norm, artists are once again getting back on their feet. Live performances are once again becoming a norm. Bands that saw their weekly cheques getting slashed by less than half, are now getting paid properly as well!  

Hyderabad-based Saleha & Joshua, one such band was hit hard as life came to a halt with the lockdown kicking in. Beginning their journey in 2018, they have been an active part of the booming live music scene in the city. With over 200 performances in a variety of places across the city, both the artists now are back to what they love doing: singing.

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“The lockdown did give us a panic initially, but as months passed it gave us time and space to explore indie music. We created a lot more original content,” Saleha Paatwala, who is one half of the band, told siasat.com.

The duo spent their time creating original content and music throughout the lockdown. The post-lockdown months also slowly witnessed a growing demand for performances in private shows and private parties as well. All worked out even better for bands like hers. Places like Air Live, Heart Cup Cafe, Over The Moon, etc are some of the go-to places for those who like listening to live music in the city. 

Saleha & Joshua performing at Fat Pigeon. (Photo: Special arrangement)

“It was an amazing feeling to go back and perform live and receive reactions from the audience. It is something that was missing from our lives, and it is great that things are getting back to normal,” Saleha said, talking about her first live performance post lockdown.

While many establishments that faced financial losses during the lockdown are still not keen on having live performances, there are some places in Hyderabad that are now having shows almost every day of the week in order to attract more crowds, said artists.

“It was a hard time during the lockdown with zero gigs and no real source of income. But post lockdown, going back on stage felt great. I am most comfortable on stage, and it was a great feeling to get back and perform live,” said Vijay a band member of Urban Hermit. 

Vijay performing live for his band, Urban Hermit. (Photo: Special arrangement)

Saleha also pointed out that now the competition has grown among artists, with many new bands coming in and charging lesser for performances. But the effort she and her partner put in creating original music has given them an edge over others. A former musician, who did not want to be quoted, said that once clubs reopened, they were offering as low as Rs.2000 a night, putting many artists out of business.

With things getting back to normal, let’s hope the situation only gets better from here on. 

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