Mangaluru-based artists’ collective The Urban Weaver gives budding performers an opportunity to showcase their talents
The term ‘kingmaker’ might prove too premature, but Arvind R Shenoy and The Urban Weaver certainly help make things happen for creative souls.
“My passion is event management — usually not considered an art, but more of a business,” Arvind says. “My goal was to change that, because I felt in that arena, people behind the scenes are far more creative than many realise.”
It began when he was a BBA student in Manipal in 2016, and he realised there weren’t many avenues for musicians to perform. “I felt something had to be done to build the cultural community there,” he says.
In October 2017, he started organising open mic nights every Friday in Manipal, encouraging musicians to perform. and at the same time hone their talents or mentor a novice. The initiative quickly caught on and having hosted 63 events by the end of 2019, Arvind felt he had pretty much aced that goal.
A moment of clairvoyance in November 2019 made him feel he had to be prepared to change tack in 2020. Along came the lockdown and put a spanner in the works of everyone, everywhere.
“The community of musicians kept up a steady pace of work and once they realised the lockdown was going to be a long-term affair, they began putting their work online. However, unless you feel like you’re a part of a whole community, an individual might lose interest in what they do,” says Arvind.
Using his expertise gleaned from open mic nights, Arvind thought it would be a good idea to combine the various talents and strengths of those creatively inclined, to help them reach individual goals.online
Smaran Alva, a childhood friend and architect, joined him to handle creative content and visuals, while Akshay Baliga, an entrepreneur was brought on as production head. And so, The Urban Weavers (TUW) as an artistes’ collective came into being.
TUW works both ways, with artistes approaching the collective and vice versa. Arvind talks about being introduced to Frizzell D’Souza, a singerwith an amazing voice. “She was great, but was singing covers. I told her to get back to us with an original number and we’d help her get it out.”
Frizzell got back to him seven months later with an original song. TUW produced her début song complete with video, photos, cover etc in September 2020. It garnered over 15K hits on YouTube and TUW went on to release her second single, two weeks ago. ONLINE
“The whole idea behind the collective was to give people the push they needed to keep growing,” says Arvind. TUW not only gives musicians a platform to showcase their music, but also helps with audio and video productions as well as conduct select travel getaways.
”I do not do weddings, because I feel it’s too client driven,” laughs Arvind, adding, “I want to do events where you can create something; you might as well inspire people with your work. By the end of the show you have to set a standard.”
TUW’s team of 11 comprises an engineer, architects, a self-taught musician as well as a business and a music graduates.