Calming the nerves

Calming the nerves

Performance ritual

Calming the nerves

Did you know the members of ‘Foo Fighters’ dance to Michael Jackson songs and have Jager bombs before going on stage? Frontman Dave Grohl has explained that this is done for ‘good luck’ and they won’t perform otherwise. They aren’t the only musicians who have pre-performance rituals; many local artistes and musicians who perform in the city have their own ‘rituals’ to prep for a gig.

Chandrima Choudhury, vocalist of Bengaluru-based band ‘One Fret Away’, says that she has some routines before going on stage. “I don’t know if this is a ritual but I spend a few minutes humming in the washroom to check how my voice feels before every performance. I would rather do this in private than in front of the crowd, with a mic,” she says. This, for her, is a way to make sure she is ready for a performance and it helps pump her excitement even more.

There are various reasons why such rituals are practiced. While some do it to level their nerves and the pre-show stress, others do it to contain their excitement and stabilise their voice. Whenever Chandrima has a sore throat or a cold, she makes sure she drinks 2 glasses of warm water. “I don’t know if everyone does this or it’s just me but it helps a lot. I also find that breathing a lot covers up a sore throat,” she says.

Shubhangi Joshi, a solo performer, adds that when she messes up on stage, improvisation helps her stay calm and get through it. As she isn’t someone who gets nervous before a performance, she takes some time to read before hitting the stage. “I always look forward to a performance as I’m prepared. But if I’m playing something completely new, I take time to calm myself. I make sure I carry a book with me because the sound check takes a lot of time and I’d rather read than do nothing.”

Nathanael Bianconi, who plays the accordion for ‘La Fanfare Couch-Tard’, a Balkan swing band that will perform in the city, says that he and his band mates do different things before a performance. “I do a physical warm-up and go to the toilet at least 5 times before going on stage, while Patrice (Komlanz), the brass player, takes pictures of himself and Robin (Veyssière), the percussionist, drinks a cup of tea,” he says. But the most important thing, for them, is to have fun — before, during and after a performance. 

There are thousands of bands and musicians in Bengaluru alone and many of them are college students or youngsters. As their journey is just starting, their stomachs are filled with butterflies. Even if they don’t have any particular ritual, these musicians say that with experience, comes a mastery over this nervousness.

Rishii Rohra, a bassist for ‘Crazy’, remembers how he was initially terrified of going on stage but he overcame this with time. “My first big performance was at Mount Carmel College and it was a high-pressure situation for me. But as I started performing more often, I got less nervous. Now, when I’m playing with my band, we do basic physical warm ups — stretchs, jogging and push ups — to get pumped!” he says.

They might not have elaborate rituals like the ‘Foo Fighters’ but these musicians do take time to prepare for a show and this ends up becoming their comfort zone.

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