Music Adapts to Pandemic Contexts

When the going gets pandemic, the live shows get virtual. There have been a number of shows in Cameroon with performances by popular artists. Those singers, rappers, and musicians have been taking their stage performances into the virtual space. It’s all part of an adaptation to the evolving circumstances of the current COVID-19 pandemic. And why wouldn’t conscientious artists decide to take their concerts and performances onto virtual platforms?

It’s a win-win on all sides. Public health is respected. Their income can remain steady with ongoing performances, or the public can have charity concert events online as well. Unless, someone’s true sense of music is only in live form. Then, of course, there can be a respect for the mourning of the loss of live event.

Nonetheless, these virtual concerts have been happening. Locko, Salatiel, Stanley Enow, Tenor, and others got together on May 30th of this year to create some Cameroonian-styled entertainment. It’s truly impressive stuff. Get this, they performed from home, coordinated the performances, and then streamed them live on Facebook. Enow took the time to reveal his foundation to the public, the Stanley Enow Foundation.

On its Facebook page, the Stanley Enow Foundation is billed as “a non profit organisation aimed catering” for underprivileged kids “with the intention of providing them” with free education. Enow was working on a sensitization campaign about the distribution of sanitary kits in Limbe markets.

Salatiel was promoting barrier measures in the midst of the pandemic. He talked ed about the collaboration with Beyonce and second part of the release of the song, “Anita,” according to Journal du Cameroun. Not only with Locko, Salatiel, Stanley Enow, Tenor, UNESCO organized the “ResiliArt Concert” in Yaounde.

As a celebration of International Jazz Day, on May 10, the show was 40-minutes long and performed live virtually. The entirety of the performances for 40 minutes were celebrating, as well, the life of Manu Dibango, who is a former UNESCO Artist for Peace in addition to an important historical figure amongst saxophonists.

“The current health crisis has enormous global ramifications for the creative and cultural sector. It has affected the entire creative value chain — creation, production, distribution and access — and considerably weakened the professional, social and economic status of artists and cultural professionals. Entrepreneurs and small- and medium-sized enterprises, which often lack the necessary resources to respond to an emergency of this magnitude, are especially vulnerable,” UNESCO stated.

Throughout the “ResiliArt Concert,” there were more than 28,800 viewers. It was part of an effort to support the creative sector and raise awareness about aspects of the coronavirus pandemic. In particular, the aspects of COVID-19 measures taken by many places in the form of containment measures in the cultural sector.

In fact, ResiliArt is part of a larger global move to support virtual debates for raising awareness about the financial and policy mechanisms required to withstand the onslaught of the COVID-19 pandemic. Happily, Cameroon is taking its role within the international community as a supporter of host of such efforts; and, artists around Cameroon have been engaging in adaptations to the needs of the early 21st century pandemic with virtual conference, though live.

Photo by Edouard TAMBA on Unsplash

Scott Douglas Jacobsen is the Founder of In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal and In-Sight Publishing. Jacobsen supports science and human rights.

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