One positive fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic is that has pushed musicians to express what the masses are feeling.
Tamil Nadu has no dearth of musicians, especially those who write about and perform on current situations. In fact, there has been a boom of Tamil rappers and R&B musicians after the Jallikattu movement.
Arivu is a rapper from the Casteless Collective, an arts initiative started by director Pa Ranjith, to provide a platform for gaana (Tamil urban folk), Tamil rap and Tamil street art among other forms. He has written and performed a rap song on the novel coronavirus, which has resonated with the masses, titled 'Vanakkam Virus'. As is usual for his style, Arivu brings in a subaltern spin to the fight against the virus and infuses it with slap-on-the-face realism, as well as quixotic hope.
On the other end of the musical spectrum are Jayakrishnan Unni and Ranjith Varrier, who have composed and performed a song on how to stay safe, in the Thiruppugazh style (devotional hymn). It is part status update, part warning, part instruction manual on how to stay safe.
Both styles have their places in the musical world. And at a time when everyone is a captive audience, these two songs send out their messages loud and clear, and in perfect pitch.
The song, written and performed by Arivu, was shot on his One Plus phone. It speaks of fighting the disease, and the ‘virus of stupidity’. Here's what its YouTube description reads:
“The Pandemic has taught and is still teaching us a lot of lessons about Science, Life, Unity & most importantly “Humanity”. Let’s fight this war on COVID & Stupidity together. Spread love, strength & positivity to everyone around us. We have bigger battles among st humans than with the Virus. Hope life gets back to normal routine soon. Kindly share you thoughts & comments but most importantly STAY SAFE (sic).”
Corona Anthem In these difficult times, music is not just for entertainment. It also needs to inspire and contribute to...Posted by Jayakrishnan Unni on Sunday, April 5, 2020
With the Corona Anthem, Jayakrishnan and Ranjith give a positive message of coming together in the fight, washing hands with soap, and staying safe. They say:
“In these difficult times, music is not just for entertainment. It also needs to inspire and contribute to the fight. In this light, a corona anthem from us. Penned by myself in simple tamil (in the sandham of the tiruppugazh, muthaitharu) and set to tune by Kottakkal Ranjith Varier ettan (sic).”
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