Songs From A Room’s Secret Living Room Show Comes To Mumbai
First Sofar show to be held this Sunday
The latest venue for a gig in Mumbai is the living room. It can be just about anyone’s house, so long as they are willing to accommodate about 30 people to watch hand-picked artists perform an intimate show.
Songs from a Room (Sofar), which organizes secret shows in living rooms in major cities across the world, will host its inaugural Mumbai show this Sunday at a location only disclosed to invitees. Previous Sofar shows held in India took place in Delhi in June 2011 and in Pune in February 2011. Rafe Offer, co-founder of the concert series, who kicked off the shows in 2009 in London, says the point of Sofar is about “connecting a global community of people who love music and want something different out of the live experience”. The month of October will see Sofar hosting 28 gigs in households worldwide, with Mumbai being one of the host cities.
The intimate atmosphere for performers is something Offer is passionate about, which is why he set up Sofar. “The space is critical ”“ by doing it in someone’s living room people feel immediately together and connected. Â They quickly meet their ”˜neighbors’ on the floor, drop the ”˜guard’ they have at venues, and bond over music. Â Plus people respect the music and the space because it’s someone’s home,” he explains.
Sofar is a concert series that is a free, but runs on optional donations provided by attendees, which goes towards filming and editing of videos taken at every show. Laying down the etiquette for a Sofar show, Offer says, “We do ask invited guests to be silent (no talking or texting) during performances ”“ it’s all about the music, and we ask them to come on time and stay for all the music so that all performers get the same sized audience.”
Vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Sidd Coutto, who will be one of the artists playing at the show says, “It’s cool to see something on a scale like this. It’s all good, because I have many new albums coming out so I’m playing some songs from them.” Mumbai’s acoustic folk/blues band Dischordian will also be performing a few songs at Sofar Mumbai, which makes it their first gig in three months. Howard Pereira, guitarist of the band, says, “Garreth [vocalist] just came back from the UK, so Sunday’s performance is going to be mostly our music. The other thing you guys can expect is Garreth’s shiny new guitar, which he picked up from the UK. It’s silver in color and is completely made of metal. You can also expect the same kind of Dischordian stage charm which Garreth throws in.”
Playing to a select audience is not an alien concept to either Coutto or Pereira. When asked about the last time he played an intimate show for a small audience, Coutto laughs, “About a month ago.” He adds: “I’ve been playing gigs long enough for that kind of thing. To me it doesn’t matter whether there’s an audience watching. Whether it’s two people, or 2,000 or 20,000, you have got to perform the show.”
Dischordian’s Pereira adds that Sofar is a “very nice idea”, but feels that there need to be artists who “fit into that kind of atmosphere”. He adds: “We’ve played at everything from a christening to somebody’s wedding; we’ve been invited to perform at birthday parties quite a few times as well, for friends and family. It was always a short performance, very similar to what Sofar is doing.”
Offer hopes that Mumbai’s music enthusiasts will help make Sofar as regular as it is in cities such as London, New York City, Los Angeles, Berlin, Toronto, Paris and Sydney, among several others. London and New York City have gained so much demand that Sofar organizes about three shows in the same month, as opposed to the regular monthly series in other cities.
“We are very keen for Mumbai Sofar to be a monthly event ”“ so anyone who’d like to host in their house, play their music, or attend it should get in touch,” Offer says.
To know more about Sofar shows, sign up for their mailing list on Sofarsounds.com
The first Sofar show will be held in Mumbai on October 7th