The prolonged coronavirus pandemic has not only caused the disruption of the global economy, but also the shutdown of normal cultural and social life. However, the frustratingly dull days of self-quarantine and social distancing are brightening up with a number of concerts and other performances broadcasted and live-streamed with the aid of the Internet.
Many artists all over the world have had their slated performances cancelled in compliance with social distancing policy, but they are now doing what they do best to support healthcare workers and urge people to stay home. Their entertaining performances and message of hope and unity are what we desperately need at a time of fear and uncertainty.
Hong Kong Canto-pop legend Sam Hui Koon-kit put on an hour-long free performance for a worldwide audience on April 12, bypassing social-distancing and self-isolation rules and going into Cantonese homes around the world. Hui took to the roof of the Harbour City shopping complex in Tsim Sha Tsui and performed his all-time hit songs, which are known for their colloquial lyrics and expression of grassroot Hongkonger’s love and hope for the city. Songs like “On the Same Boat” (同舟共濟) and “Under the Lion Rock” (獅子山下) call for all Hongkongers to unit and work hard to strive for their common dream of prosperity together, and were anthems of Hong Kong during the era of uncertainty surrounding the Handover in 1997.
Hui held the free concert to show his support for everyone who had to stay home most of the time and to fundraise for former employees of the concert department of Tomlee Music who were let go due to the sustained period of forced concert cancellation. He urged locals to work together and stay positive, contending that “if we can maintain positive energy, rainy days will go away at last one day”.
(Sam Hui during his concert on April 12. Source: Sam Hui’s official Facebook account)
The concert attracted over 2.5 million people to watch it simultaneously through live-streaming from all over the world. Even the Chief Executive Carrie Lam revealed on her Facebook page that she and her co-workers were among the audience. She expressed gratitude to Hui for bringing positive energy to Hong Kong citizens. Carrie Lam also said she was thankful to Hui for bringing hope to the people through the songs in these tough days.
(The Chief Executive Carrie Lam and her co-workers watching the livestream in a meeting. Source: Carrie Lam’s official Facebook account)
World-famous Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli also held a concert in an empty Duolo Cathedral in Milan on the same Easter Sunday. 2.8 million people came together to livestream the moving performance, making it the most live-streamed classical performance in YouTube’s history. The city is the capital of the Italian region of Lombardy, which is one of the worst-hit areas in the country during the coronavirus outbreak.
(Andrea Bocelli: Music For Hope – Live From Duomo di Milano. Source: YouTube)
“Thanks to music, streamed live, bringing together millions of clasped hands everywhere in the world, we will hug this wounded Earth’s pulsing heart, this wonderful international forge that is reason for Italian pride,” the blind tenor wrote on this performance.
WHO would also be holding an online concert named “One World: Together at Home” in collaboration with Global Citizen on April 18 this Saturday, in an effort to support healthcare workers in the fight against the coronavirus. Curated in collaboration with Lady Gaga, the broadcast would be hosted by Jimmy Fallon, Jimmy Kimmel and Stephen Colbert, and would feature performers including Billie Eilish, FINNEAS, Billie Joe Armstrong of Green Day, Chris Martin, David Beckham, Elton John, Idris and more.
Hundreds of entertainers all over the world have been live-streaming free performances in their homes to provide some entertainment that traverse distance and borders in this lonely time. With the vast majority of entertainment venues remaining closed to prevent the disease from spreading, it is one of the best ways to bring some light in a time of darkness.
(Feature Image Credit: Sam Hui’s official Facebook account)