Without almost any warning, our everyday lives have become dictated by a soulless microorganism. Though this virus may be eons away from harming many of us, the notoriety it wears is all too worrisome. This has caused many to be consumed by uncertainty and heightened anxiety due to this unforeseeable mess. I don’t know about you, but it sometimes feels as though this unchanging reality is made up of lost scenes from “Groundhog Day.” Yet, all hope hasn’t completely been diminished. The sense of community is starting to become more pronounced than ever.
Now that we are living in a digital age, it is easier to spread messages and to be impacted by something that may be miles away from us. This hasn’t gone unnoticed by those who stand on notable platforms. Musicians, for instance, have started to use their virtual stage to aid in comforting people during these troubling times. As a way to lift people’s spirits up, musicians have started to create their own virtual concerts or online concerts. Artists such as Monsieur Periné, Juanes, Alejandro Sanz, and many others have already graced the interwebs with their participation in these exciting events.
The famed Spanish musician, Alejandro Sanz, had been scheduled to perform for his most recent tour, La Gira Tour, at several different cities. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 ordeal forced him and any guest artist to cease their original activities for his tour. Despite how inconvenient this must’ve been to many, Sanz moved forward with his performance. The only thing was that it wasn’t going to be conventional. Thus, in an attempt to encourage people to stay home, he organized a virtual concert via Youtube Live alongside many artists, including Juanes, a few days ago. Using #LaGiraSeQuedaEnCasa (#TheTourStaysHome), Sanz and other artists gave their fans much-needed musical therapy. Thousands tuned in. The best part was that it was all free.
This is increasingly becoming the norm. A lot of musicians have been using their ample social media platforms to start interacting with their audience in an organic manner. They are giving mini concerts, speaking directly to fans, and letting the world know that this quarantine can be enjoyable. This has been greatly appreciated by many around the world as it’s making us seem more connected than ever. There are a few musicians, however, who have consistently given virtual shows to their people prior to the situation at hand. Monsieur Periné is one of them.
Monsieur Periné is a Latin Grammy winning band that is filled with a potent and vibrant cocktail of delectable notes. Their music is habitually laced with the influence of European and Afro-Colombian sounds. Catalina García, the band’s lead singer, is gifted in the art of language, hence allowing her to sing in Spanish, French, English, and in Portuguese. There’s no question that their music is extraordinary as well as their mission as artists.
They proved their uniformity a few days ago when they performed in yet another virtual concert or as they called it, #ConciertoCasero.
Considering that their online performance was infused with an unmatched liveliness, BELatina News reached out to the band about this experience and their thoughts on the situation at hand. In turn, we were provided with the opportunity to chat with Catalina García. Here’s what she had to say:
So, tell us a bit more about the band, Monsieur Periné.
The band has seven musicians that perform on stage. We have Miguel (percussionist), Darwin (drums), Eva, Peroni (bassist), Abstin (trombone and bugle), Jairo (saxophone and clarinet), Santiago (guitar and other string instruments), and well, I’m the voice. The project was directed by Santiago Prieto and I in Bogotá, Colombia. As for the founders of the band, Jairo and I are the only two that remain. We basically directed the aesthetical part of the project which includes the compositions and musical arrangements. The complete band provides live sounds. We have worked to have this project be one that focuses on us being a large band. We strive to have many artists on stage, it’s really a project whose live energy is always plentiful. We enjoy having a lot of artists and musicians on stage because it adds to the energy and creativity. Regarding Santiago and I, we met in 2007 and around the end of that year we began to play music. We mainly did covers and in due time we began to create our own songs. The rest is history.
I noticed that you gave a mini virtual concert not so long ago (#ConciertoCasero). What was your experience like, as performers who are typically feeding off the energy of the crowd?
The #ConciertoCaserito (virtual concert) is something that we have generally always done. But of course, let’s say that considering the world’s critical situation, many artists [like ourselves] and people have seen themselves in the obligation to stay at home. We have had to cancel our tours and our jobs. Many people at home are sad and anguished without knowing very well what’s going to happen. They are filling themselves with so much information that is difficult to digest, there’s a lot of panic, uncertainty, and so many people are far away from their homes and family. These circumstances made us decide to do this new concert as a demonstration of our solidarity, support, care, and gratitude — a union with our audience and any person who heard it and had the chance to view it. I believe that music has the power to heal, unite, and well, provide the chance to share moments in a pleasant way, while we all confront this bitter situation.
By using social media, was it easy to feel like you were actually performing for a crowd of people?
The sensation was very different because we were in our living room and not looking at the people [audience]. We were simply looking at a counter of numbers that continued to grow and, of course, receiving messages. That was the beautiful part of it — knowing that people were there. We asked people to take their own instruments out, and to try to follow our rhythm with their hands. The band asked them to move; to dance, stand up, and to sing. It was also an excuse to incite people to have a party in their own home. That way they would have a space of self-love. We weren’t looking at each other’s faces, we were just connected, sharing good energy. That’s what was important.
What are your thoughts on this adapted format beyond the pandemic?
We have always used digital platforms and have used them for concerts, with or without a pandemic. I believe that it has always been used to have contact with others. They have been essential tools to always be near people.
Are digital concerts the future, even after we are able to move past social distancing — especially for bands, such as yours, who want to reach an international audience but are not able, or are choosing not to travel across continents?
Virtual concerts are the present. Hopefully, this situation deviates its course and we can all find some tranquility. This would allow us to reunite and perform in live concerts again for the people who have always been our essence of our performances.
Is there anything else you’d like to tell our audience?
I would like to send the people of BELatina a grand hug of solidarity. I’d also like to ask you to please be extremely careful. In this moment we must all be extremists to try to avoid at all costs the contagion and the multiplication of this complex virus. Just have a lot of patience.