Rooting for a good time

Updated: May 22, 2020, 11:14 IST | Sukanya Datta | Mumbai

An online music festival-cum-fundraiser will see over 20 artistes from India, USA and Hong Kong perform live this Saturday.

An earlier session of the festival
An earlier session of the festival

Music has been a vital part of the lives of Bengaluru-based marketing professionals and business partners Bonny Fernandes and Mustafa Parvez. "I have found that music has this ability to unite people," says Parvez. This is probably the reason that the duo put their years of industry experience to use to kick off an online music festival in an effort to "bring joy and happiness during these difficult times". Titled Common Roots, the festival-cum-fundraiser, which takes place on Saturdays, has attracted musicians from across 11 countries, with big names like the Grammy award-winning Ricky Kej, Raghu Dixit and Ustad Chhote Rahimat Khan playing 60 live sessions over the course of two Saturdays.

Unlike other online festivals, artistes can play from their own social media handles at Common Roots. Moreover, the duo has tied up with three NGOs — Give India, Indian Foundation for the Arts and Voice of Stray Dogs — and the audience can pitch in whatever they like towards their efforts while watching the shows. This is what makes it a "win-win situation" for all, says Fernandes. "Common Roots, as the name suggests, is an idea that we are one, despite our differences. For the audience, it brings respite from the anxiety and grimness. For musicians, it's a way to come together and get visibility; and for the NGOs, the festival brings support, beyond just one-time charity."

Bonny Fernandes (sitting) and Mustafa Parvez
Bonny Fernandes (sitting) and Mustafa Parvez

The coming Saturday has an eclectic line-up. "There's Jerry Joseph, who travelled to Kabul in the Taliban era to teach music in an underground rock school. There's also Rewben Mashangva, a folk singer from Manipur; Priya Darshani, who's based out of the US; Deborah Mannas from Hong Kong; flautist Rajeev Raja from Mumbai; and blues and jazz artiste Rajni Shivram from Bengaluru, among several others," adds Fernandes. Do they plan to turn this into a physical event? Certainly, says Parvez, adding, "We'd love to continue this beyond May and see this as an on-ground event." But, we will have to wait for that one.

On May 23
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