South African bassist Shane Cooper's 'Quarantine Collaborations'

accreditation
Shane Cooper onstage (Photo: Isabel Janssen/Supplied)
Shane Cooper onstage (Photo: Isabel Janssen/Supplied)
Isabel Janssen

The national lockdown announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa on 26 March 2020 has thrown the arts sector and its participants for a loop.

While door-to-door testing and close surveillance provide some statistical analysis, the extended effects of this viral contagion are as yet unquantifiable. In a matter of days, months of planning, work and income have been brought to a standstill.

A privilege number is using this as an opportunity to ask bigger questions about meaning-making and how to respond to a pandemic, the kind of enquiries that are distilled from stillness and silence. However, for many many the questions have become more urgent. More immediate. What will I eat? How will I pay rent? When will I work again? 

It is to these anxieties that Johannesburg-based bassist, musician and composer Shane Cooper was responding when he launched his digital series of online collaborations. 

"When the pandemic hit, every project of mine for the next 6 months got cancelled within a few days. That 6 months was a year of intense prior planning and work gone down the drain. Needless to say that's a massive blow financially, emotionally and psychologically. I decided to do the collaborations to help myself stay positive and creatively active, and connect with people from other disciplines who have also been affected," explains Cooper.

"Personally, if I stay creative, it helps my mental and physical health, and I need to stay sharp to survive. Hundreds of my friends around the world are in the same situation, so this is a way to reach out over the social distancing and create together. I've played shows with different musicians several nights a week for almost 20 years, now i don't know when next we will be able to. Collaboration is a fundamental part of my DNA."

Learn to Levitate, off the album Small Songs for Big Times dropped two days before the announcement of the lockdown, and is described as a story "about self-isolation, created in self-isolation". Produced in collaboration with filmmaker Julia Ramsey, this video depicts a house-bound Cooper, mindlessly occupying his time whilst dreaming of things to do when this is all over.

WATCH THE VIDEO HERE: 


Other quarantine collaborations have seen the musician work in interdisciplinary ways.

Cooper has team up with dancers and choreographers who responded to a call made by him on social media.

SEE THAT TWEET HERE: 

Since then, the bass player has bassist has published a number of Quarantine Collaborations on youtube, working with everyone from dancers to fellow musicians such Bokani Dyer

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24