This van will bring you music on the streets of Chennai – The Hindu

Chennai News

Coming to a park near you, as part of On The Streets of Chennai’s 50-show weekend, is a Maruti Omni that promises to kidnap you into a world of soulful beats

On December 26 and 27, if you are at the right place and the right time, you might spot ‘The Little Boy’. This van of colour and music will be travelling across public places as part of On The Streets of Chennai’s ‘Awe50me Weekend’.

Last year, this busking group (@onthestreetsofchennai on Instagram) had organised its first ‘Awe50me Weekend’ to celebrate bringing live film music to the city’s streets for 50 straight weekends. This year too, they have collaborated with upcoming bands as well as Chennai Smart City Limited to host the second edition — featuring 50 live shows by eight bands held over two days — at undisclosed locations to keep the element of surprise.

“One of the new things we are introducing this year is our Little Boy,” says Senthil Raj, co-founder of On The Streets. “It is a Maruti Omni van, hand-painted by artistes Durga Devi and Krutika Raju who were also part of the Kannagi Nagar St+art initiative. The bands will take turns travelling in the van with their instruments and speakers to different locations.”

Keeping the locations and timings of the show discreet is even more necessary this year so as to avoid crowding in public spaces. “The show will primarily be online and streamed on our YouTube, Facebook and Instagram handles,” says Raj, adding, “We will also ask passers-by to socially distance while singing along.”

It has not been a great year for busking considering we stayed indoors for the most of it. Yet, On The Streets, which prides itself on encouraging real life connections, moved to the digital realm and continued hosting a live show every weekend. “That is actually how we met a lot of new musicians this year; so that was a plus,” says Rashmi Nanda, co-founder of On The Streets.

Rashmi, who also started PH Cafe — a place tailored for outdoor open mics and live gigs — in Egmore last year, adds: “Busking outdoors is still the safest way to play live music gigs. We will make sure that every musician except the vocalist is wearing a mask, and we will keep sanitising the mics.”

“This is a good way to reach out to the public who have had a sad year, and bring them music, life and energy,” she remarks. Playing a small part in bringing that positivity is ‘The Little Boy’, which is still in a workshop getting its final touch-up. “Once we are done with this show, we will be using it to travel to exotic locations and shoot cover songs. It will be a permanent part of the team,” says Raj.