Musicians Sami Ghawi (left) and Ranj Singh are featured in the next Digital Stage concert presented by Surrey Civic Theatres, on Friday, July 24, starting at 7 p.m. (Photo: surrey.ca)

Musicians Sami Ghawi (left) and Ranj Singh are featured in the next Digital Stage concert presented by Surrey Civic Theatres, on Friday, July 24, starting at 7 p.m. (Photo: surrey.ca)

MUSIC

‘Digital Stage’ gigs embraced by Surrey musicians who’ve gone without during COVID

Next online concert in series is on Friday, July 24

Last year, Ranj Singh performed close to 220 gigs.

“And this year started off fantastic,” the Surrey-based musician said, “but then this (pandemic) came in and closed everything down.”

No question, 2020 has been a bleak year for the city’s performing artists, due to COVID-19 and the resulting lack of events to play.

In response, Surrey Civic Theatres has rolled out a series of “Digital Stage” online concerts that offer local musicians paid gigs at a time when few are available to them.

The next one, set for Friday, July 24, will feature Singh and fellow player Sami Ghawi in an hour-long showcase starting at 7 p.m. on Surrey Civic Theatres’ Facebook page and also the city’s Youtube channel.

Ghawi has performed a few of the Digital Stage concerts in recent weeks, under the banner of his FUSIONpresents brand, but for Singh it’s pretty much a new adventure in the online-gig world.

“I’ve done a few (concerts) from home, trial and error, trying to get the sound right and things working properly,” Singh said of recent attempts to enter the virtual world of concerts. “Then with Sami’s help he got me set up and I got a bit more gear for that, and now it’s pretty good.

“I type with one finger so I’m not a technical guy at all,” he added with a laugh, “so it’s been a good learning experience for me.”

• RELATED STORY, from 2016: Melodic memories for brain-injury survivors in song by Surrey’s Ranj Singh.

On July 24 the duo will perform together in the same room at Surrey Arts Centre, for an online audience only.

“We’ve been rehearsing outdoors in a park over the last month or so, with social distancing and everything, and it will be the same setup that night,” Singh explained. “It will be mostly covers, but when I do covers I usually do them quite different, and as you know Sami is a great musician so he adds a whole new flavour to it as well, so it’s been a lot of fun to play with him. It’s going to be his style mixed with my style, with a couple of originals in there too.”

(Story continues below video)

Singh and Ghawi first met in 2018 at the Surrey Arts and Business Awards, although they’d been Facebook friends prior to that. Ghawi’s FUSIONpresents company later began booking Singh at the Sheraton Vancouver Guildford Hotel’s MIXT Lounge; the upcoming showcase will mark the first time they’ll gig together.

Ghawi, who has hosted the Sunday-night jam at White Rock’s West Beach bar for more than a decade, said he’s thrilled to be a part of the Digital Stage initiative.

“I’m so grateful for this opportunity from the City of Surrey that gives artists the chance to perform and entertain the public,” he said. “Being offered a platform to perform and get paid when all our scheduled shows have been cancelled overnight is a huge blessing.”

• RELATED STORY: B.C.’s virtual ‘SoundON’ concerts kick off with sounds of Surrey festival.

Singh is currently performing five or six gigs a month, mostly outdoors.

“I’m at Krause Berry Farms (in Langley) every weekend, booked there until September, which is nice of them,” Singh explained. “And I have a few weddings to do, which have been scaled down to 20 or 30 people, pretty much, and those were booked last year. And I’ve been offered other gigs where I’m like, “nope,” where I’m just not comfortable doing them. Like, when we’re singing, you’re spitting 20 feet in front of you, so you have to have nobody near you. We have to be careful.”

Looking ahead, in a show called “Write the Future,” the Digital Stage concert on Aug. 7 will feature Devon More and her “humble, humorous and harmonious take on the human condition in 2020,” according to an event post on surrey.ca. “Building musical arrangements for her indie rock/pop tunes from scratch, she uses a loop pedal to live-mix the electric guitar, flute, glockenspiel, and whatever else is in her long arm’s reach.”

• RELATED STORY: Plastic screen separates band and audience at Surrey gig.



tom.zillich@surreynowleader.com

Like us on Facebook Follow us on Instagram and follow Tom on Twitter

Live music

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Surrey RCMP is investigating after a serious three-vehicle crash at the intersection of King George Boulevard and 128th Street Thursday afternoon (May 6, 2021). (Photo: Shane MacKichan)
Police watchdog investigating serious collision in Surrey

Incident happend May 6 at King George Boulevard and 128th Street

Surrey Fire Service firefighters quickly contained a fire on 75A Avenue. (Shane MacKichan photos)
PHOTOS: Surrey firefighters extinguish second house fire in Newton

Second fire incident reported in Newton Sunday morning

Police tape is shown in Toronto Tuesday, May 2, 2017. Statistics Canada says the country's crime rate ticked up again in 2018, for a fourth year in a row, though it was still lower than it was a decade ago. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graeme Roy
CRIME STOPPERS: ‘Most wanted’ for the week of May 9

Crime Stoppers’ weekly list based on information provided by police investigators

(The Canadian Press)
Trudeau won’t say whether Canada supports patent waiver for COVID-19 vaccines

‘Canada is at the table to help find a solution’

Pieces of nephrite jade are shown at a mine site in northwestern B.C. in July 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Tahltan Central Government MANDATORY CREDIT
Indigenous nation opposes jade mining in northwestern B.C.

B.C.’s Mines Act requires operators to prepare a plan to protect cultural heritage resources

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Vancouver Giants celebrated a Justin Sourdif goal Saturday night in Kamloops. Giants dropped a 3-1 decision to Kamloops, a game that clinched the 2020-21 B.C. Division banner for the Blazers. (Allen Douglas/special to Langley Advance Times)
VIDEO: Vancouver Giants drop 3-1 decision to Kamloops

Third-period rally should have come sooner, said coach of Langley-based team

Police tape is shown in Toronto Tuesday, May 2, 2017. Statistics Canada says the country’s crime rate ticked up again in 2018, for a fourth year in a row, though it was still lower than it was a decade ago. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graeme Roy
IHIT investigating after man killed in Burnaby shooting

Police looking for more information on fatal shooting

After Bobby Henderson apologized online for his comments to a Toronto reporter, the Langley Rivermen announced that he was no longer team coach and general manager and in fact, had ‘parted ways’ with the franchise in March. (file/Twitter)
Former Langley Rivermen coach and GM apologizes for comments to Toronto reporter

Bobby Henderson blames stress due to the pandemic for his ‘disparaging’ remarks

The body of Brenda Ware, 35, was found along Highway 93 in Kootenay National Park on Thursday, May 6, 2021. (RCMP handout)
RCMP ask for tips after woman’s body found in Kootenay National Park

Brenda Ware was found along Highway 93 in the park, 54 kilometres north of the town of Radium

Most Read