While every single individual was affected by the Covid-19 lockdowns in different parts of the world, one of the hardest hit groups was performing artistes. With bans on the assembly of people in public spaces, live performances came to a standstill and the recourse for artistes to practice their muse for their audiences was through online platforms.
Mohan Nadkarni Foundation rose to the occasion and organised a series of 12 online performances during the lockdown period in New Zealand, India and parts of the United States besides other parts of the world under a new series called MehfiLive.
The series was instantly successful with people watching live and recorded videos around the world. Artistes featured were from India, New Zealand, Australia and the United States.
Starting off with senior Kirana vocalist Milind Chittal, who also was the inaugural artiste for MNF's first annual Mohan Nadkarni Memorial Concert in 2015, MehfiLive went on to feature (not necessarily in this order): Kiwi sitarist Lester Silver; vocalists Geeta Gulvady, Dev Koppikar, Usha Kallianpurkar, Padmini rao, Sveta Hattangdi-Kilpady, Kasturi Datar Atrawalkar, M K Seetha, Mahalaxmi Shenoy and Ranjitha Suresh besides Aswin Narayanan on violin who played both Hindustani and Carnatic.
The online concerts took place on Saturdays and Sundays at times that were fairly convenient to New Zealand-Australia and India but was a challenge for the United States owing to time zones. However, patronage from the US was considerable since fans watched recorded versions.
The feedback received from listeners was by and large positive with some very valuable suggestions especially around camera placement and sound optimisation. These will be taken aboard in Season Two, which is planned for September 2020.