At some point early this week, the COVID -19 Relief Fund will be healthier by P6K, thanks to Sereetsi & the Natives who raised the money from a benefit concert that they staged live online
After hosting a resoundingly successful online concert styled Serubing Live Session 2 online last week, Tomeletso Sereetsi, founder of contemporary folk band Sereetsi & the Natives, will be donating the show’s proceeds to the COVID-19 Relief Fund. “The Natives,” as he fondly refers to his legion of supporters, fans and audience, made monetary contributions to the concert while they enjoyed a front-row seat to his unplugged live session online.
“Sereetsi & the Natives managed to raise about P6000 and I am donating all of it to the COVID-19 Relief Fund,” he told Time Out in an interview. “There are Batswana who need the money more than I do. I will be making the humble deposit from the online concert early this week. The result is very encouraging and it shows that if there wasn’t a crisis where everyone is worried about the immediate future, we could have raised more.”
The COVID-19 lockdown means that artists cannot earn a living the traditional way and Sereetsi’s online concert is part of an effort to respond to the government’s appeal for donations towards the COVID-19 Relief Fund. The celebrated folk music artist believes it was high time artists explored opportunities to create music and strategize for the post-COVID-19 environment. While the old way of doing things will probably still be most important, the silver lining in the dark cloud of the Coronavirus is that creatives are forced to realise the potential of the Internet and to make it work economically for them.
“Views from the online concert are sitting at 28K. I am not sure how many people were viewing the show in real-time because we were broadcasting on several pages at the same time. I am glad that other artists are organising the similar COVID-19 benefit concerts. It is time we did something for our country too. Batswana need us,” said Sereetsi.
Sereetsi is currently exploring other online platforms and the band is scheduled for another online concert on Wednesday this week (29 April) on Stageit. Stageit is a web-based performance venue headquartered in Hollywood, USA that hosts virtual concerts by music artists who perform live via webcam. However, this concert is not for the COVID-19 fund but will be staged to grow the band’s international footprint. “I will be gigging quite a bit online from now onwards,” Sereetsi affirmed. “Those who want to see this performance may be required to pay a minimal fee on Stageit,” he said.