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Vocalist/guitarist struggling through the pandemic on virtual concerts, music sales

By David Pendered

Vocalist Sofia Talvik had barely gotten the words out of her mouth – her winter tour begins in a few days – when her adopted homeland locked down again to curb a COVID-19 spread.

Sofia Talvik, halloween effects

Special effects including lightning bolts added to the Halloween theme of Sofia Talvik’s ‘Quarantine Concert No. 23’ on Wednesday. Credit: facebook.com

German officials on Wednesday imposed a partial lockdown in November. Partial it may be, but the lockdown shuts down Talvik’s primary source of income –live concerts, and the income from tickets and merchandise sales.

Talvik is living and working in Berlin now. On Wednesday, Talvik’s Quarantine Concert No. 23 was her latest effort to stay productive and encourage fans to buy items or contribute to help pay her bills.

“All my shows have been canceled since March,” Talvik said. “We are doing these live streams to pay rent, for food, all these things.”

Talvik and Georgia audiences have a relation that dates to at least 2012.

Most recently, in metro Atlanta, Talvik’s performance in Decatur in August was shelved because of the pandemic. So was a show in Chicamauga, which was part of a nationwide tour that included a repeat visit to the SXSW festival – all cancelled due to the pandemic. She’s performed in Athens, Chattahoochee Hills and at Savannah’s Sentient Bean, the later in 2012.

Sofia Talvik presented her ‘Scary and Spooky Halloween Special: Quarantine Concert No. 23’ the day German officials announced another COVID-19 lockdown. Credit: facebook.com

Talvik is one of the countless performers whose life and income and future have been thrown into disarray by the pandemic. Along with the forced hiatus, her friend, Tim Fleming, who played pedal steel guitar with her, died of a heart attack shortly after the cancelled SXSW performance. She memorialized Fleming in the song, Broken (Steel Guitars in Heaven).

The likelihood that any of these performers will resume their work is anything but certain. The fate of the very venues where they perform anything but certain, as Lara Smith, managing director of Dad’s Garage Theatre, observed in a guest column published April 12 in SaportaReport. Smith argued for increased federal pandemic support for arts organizations:

  • “Unfortunately, many smaller and newer arts organizations may not have the cash on hand or financial fortitude to make it. I know theater directors who are having to ask for rent forgiveness from landlords, and still are worried coronavirus will bankrupt their nonprofit organization.”

Talvik is one of many examples of the performing artists whose work is in a precarious position. Here are some comments from her Facebook page:

Following Quarantine Concert No. 23:

Sofia Talvik, camper

The camper Sofia Talvik and her husband use during their regular tours of the United States is parked while live performances are on hiatus. File/ Credit: sofiatalvik.com

  • “We’re almost at the end of October and Germany JUST ANNOUNCED a monthly lock down. So now all my German concert in November are cancelled. As you all know my U.S spring tour also got cancelled and so did my summer and fall tour. All this stuff is KILLING ME!”

On Thursday, Talvik sought to generate enthusiasm for one show still scheduled:

  • “Very sad news in Germany last night. Another lockdown means that all my November concerts from November 2nd are CANCELED.
  • “The only chance to see me before December (if even then) is this weekend when I’m doing 2 shows with my band in Bremen.
  • “I suggest getting your tickets now as we can’t guarantee there will be any left at the door.”

The latest post urges fans and followers to see an upcoming release on her Spotify page, where she’s listed as a verified artist with 12,265 monthly listeners:

  • “Surprise! New release on Spotify tomorrow. Be sure to click pic below to follow me to get it!”

 

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David Pendered

David Pendered, Managing Editor, is an Atlanta journalist with more than 30 years experience reporting on the region’s urban affairs, from Atlanta City Hall to the state Capitol. Since 2008, he has written for print and digital publications, and advised on media and governmental affairs. Previously, he spent more than 26 years with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and won awards for his coverage of schools and urban development. David graduated from North Carolina State University and was a Western Knight Center Fellow.

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