English News

  • youtube
  • facebook
  • twitter

Covid fails to kill Chennai brothers’ passion for music

The passion for music in brothers Deepan and Rajan could not be killed despite the hardships of Covid-19 lockdown restrictions (Pics: Courtesy in.news.yahoo.com)

So ingrained is the love for music in these two brothers that despite obstacles due to the two waves of Covid-19 pandemic, they continue to keep up their passion!

Located in Chennai, the siblings – Deepan and Rajan – are by passion and profession parai artists but they are now working as social workers for the Chennai Corporation to eke out a livelihood, which was disrupted due to the lockdown restrictions because of Coronavirus.

The instrument they play that is parai is a hollow drum played by two sticks. These sticks are of different thickness and length. The brothers have been fond of Tamil folk arts and chose to make it their life. In the past, their appointment calendar used to be full as they played at different functions held at different venues. Their last show was in January 2020 during Pongal.

From then on, with no shows coming their way due to the pandemic, they struggled as musicians and music was not allowed at weddings, funerals and of course political gatherings.

Living in North Chennai in a single-storey house, with his wife, mother and brother Rajan, Deepan and his family found it difficult when events were stopped from taking place.

In a report which appeared on in.news.yahoo.com, he is quoted as telling The Quint: "We were eating three meals a day, but due to Covid we could afford only two meals a day. We had to borrow money, mortgaged our jewels, and sell our 'parai' raw materials to manage the lockdown.”

Also read: Overcoming treacherous paths, snakes and leeches, Meghalaya’s women health workers vaccinate remote area residents

His brother, Rajan added: "The government had instructed landlords not to take rent from us during the pandemic. But landowners ask us to pay it completely at the end of the year. So, we had to give up all our savings to pay that off," said Rajan.

The brothers then managed to get jobs as Covid volunteers with the Chennai Corporation. They go from door to door, spreading awareness about the pandemic and stressing on the importance of vaccination urging people to get the jabs.

In order to earn a little more, Deepan also doubles up as an autorickshaw driver earning between Rs.300 and 500 a day.

Yet, while balancing between these jobs, the siblings have kept their love for art intact. They were inventive and used the local Tamil folk art in their awareness drive. Wearing costumes that look like coronavirus, the two composed a number of songs that urge people to stick to quarantine rules and norms.

Besides this, Deepan and Rajan have created a Facebook page. Through that social media platform they offer lessons and also sell parai. They even managed to sell 10 parais.

As parai means to tell or speak, the instrument was an effective means to disperse news and messages while also being used in weddings, functions related to child birth and funerals.

Also read: Persuasion and persistence convinces Mallampodur tribals to get vaccinated

The brothers are looking forward to the authorities to help the folk art artists to face the adverse circumstances and loss of livelihood due to the Coronavirus. Deepan told The Quint: "Many artists have quit this due to Covid and if the pandemic continues, these folk arts will be erased from everyone’s memory.