BERLIN (Reuters) – Undeterred by the coronavirus, a Berlin-based swing band has been streaming nightly gigs from the family living room since the start of lockdown and is determined to carry on until the pandemic is over.
Andrej Hermlin finished his last live in-person performance in tears back in March when he realised the crisis would bring an abrupt end to his concerts.
“Never in 35 years of my career has that happened to me – I was in tears. I sat at the piano and played and cried because I knew what was coming,” Hermlin told Reuters Television.
But despair turned into a resolve to keep playing.
“We don’t stop, we play every night, always at 7 pm for as long as the crisis lasts,” he said.
On the first night alone, his band had an audience of 15,000, he said. Ever since, The Swingin’ Hermlins have offered a daily live concert stream called The Music Goes Round ‘N Round, mostly straight from the family living room.
His wife Joyce controls the recording, their children Rachel, 16, and David, 19, are the stars, and the band can generate some revenue by selling CDs or through donations.
The ensemble has already gone on air more than 140 times, and while small outdoor performances are now possible again, Hermlin thinks bands should explore new ways of reaching their audiences during the pandemic.
“I would be happy if more musicians took advantage of this opportunity and understand that the past is not coming back. We are living in new times,” he said.
(Reporting by Reuters Television; Writing by Madeline Chambers; Editing by Giles Elgood)