It goes without saying that we’re living in strange, unpredictable and unprecedented times right now. While social distancing measures are extremely important, the emphasis on staying indoors has meant that musicians, many of whom rely on live gigs to pay their bills, are amongst those who have been hit the hardest by this crisis.
However, despite the fear and uncertainty, something incredible has begun to emerge in the Australian music scene: the rise of virtual performances. These virtual gigs allow musicians to continue sharing music with their audiences and are a testament to music’s ability to survive and bring people together during challenging times.
Last week, we shared two videos from our friends at WASO (or WASDO, short for West Australian Social Distancing Orchestra!) on our Facebook page: a stunning piano and violin duet performed by CEO Mark Coughlan and Concert Master Laurence Jackson and a beautiful arrangement of Ravel’s Bolero performed by over 50 WASO musicians from their homes.
This Friday, Perth Concert Hall’s very own Dharshini (Dee) Muru will be playing a set of her original music from her couch as a part of Toasty Tunes’ Couch Concert series! Dee is our hardworking marketing whiz by day and a fabulous guitar-playing singer-songwriter by night. Head over to Dee’s Instagram page and watch her live video at 6:30pm AWST to tune in.
Pictured: Dharshini (Dee) Muru
Good question! It started out as a weekly live music guide in the form of a Spotify playlist. However, it’s recently evolved into something even more exciting! Last week, Toasty Tunes hosted its first virtual event in its Couch Concert series, which allows listeners to watch live sets played by local musicians in their homes. Because the whole thing takes place on Instagram live videos, it’s easy and totally free to watch.
We were lucky enough to interview Keeley Connolly, a talented local musician and the creator of Toasty Tunes, about the new series.
You’re the creator of Toasty Tunes! Can you tell us a bit about what it is and how it got started?
Normally Toasty Tunes is a weekly gig guide and playlist. The playlist allows you to listen to what's happening in Perth each week and discover local music a bit easier.
Three months in we expanded to reviews, news and interviews. I wanted to create a platform that really dove into the local artist scene, covering all of the support acts and emerging artists and not just the surface of incredible talent we have here.
How did you come up with the idea for Couch Concerts?
I guess I was just forced to think outside of the box with everything going on. I didn't want the blog to lose its momentum because I believed it could be really valuable to our music scene and one year in it was finally starting to prove that.
It's great because there have been bigger platforms that came up with the same idea like 'Isol-Aid' and 'Together Fest' who are covering national and international artists as well.
We all needed our live music fix!
Why are virtual performances so important during this strange time?
I think music and connecting with people is always important, not just for the listeners but for the artists. Last Friday sitting at home with the family watching the first run of Couch Concerts we forgot about everything and it made us feel connected to the community again which was a nice feeling. Being able to share what we do and still connect is quite special, we are all going through this together and being isolated can be difficult at times.
In your opinion, what is the most special thing about the Perth music scene?
The diversity. I am constantly amazed when building the weekly gig guide playlist, I discover these artists completely doing their own thing.
I have lived in other cities and you can sometimes sense a main theme that sits through the local music scene but here it really is a little bit of everything.
What is the best way for musicians to get in touch with you about being a part of Couch Concerts?
On our website is a contact form. Otherwise, message me through our Instagram if that's easier.
Couch Concerts will take place every Friday on Instagram live video, starting at 6pm – just tune into each artist’s Instagram page to watch! Check out the tags on Toasty Tunes’ Instagram photos to find all artists’ pages. This week, check out:
6pm Death by Denim | @deathbydenim
6:30pm Dharshini Dee Muru | @darshini_dee_muru
7pm Angie Colman | @angiecolmanmusic
7:30pm Chloe Schofield | chlo_pho__
8pm Michael Day | @mikedaymusic
8:30pm Mt Cleverest | @mtcleverestmusic
9pm Siobhan Cotchin | @siobhancotchinmusic
To keep up to date with this awesome project, follow Toasty Tunes and Keeley Connolly on social media.
Here at Perth Concert Hall, we advocate music from all around the world, especially home-grown music. In times like these when you can’t come to us for music, arts and creativity, we will bring the music to you.
Music has a healing power that can whisk your mind away when times are tough – so stay home, stay safe, and join us on this exciting journey!’