It seems that we managed to make it through the year 2020. It was amiss of us to predict that we would not be active for a while during this pandemic. We had an amazing festive again at Amillafushi and we are currently based as the resident band in Finolhu Maldives, and it feels nostalgic to be back here for what may be the 5th year. We owe our busy schedule to amazing luck and our preference to be a resident band in this industry as this has helped us get contracts during the pandemic.
We are going to take this opportunity to talk about the perks and benefits as well as the sacrifices and struggles we face as a #residentband working in the #resorts of #Maldives. Hopefully, this will benefit and/or inspire our fellow Maldivian #musicians.
We would like to start with the Cons and get that out of our way:
1. All four of us would agree in saying our major sacrifice would be to live away from our family and friends back in Male' city. It would only be fair to say that we do not have any spouses or children yet, but our immediate families and our close friends are still back home. And to any of them reading this, we can't wait to see your lovely faces again :)
2. Some products and services are simply hard to get/buy when you're on a separate island. Buying products from shops and getting services like medical attention is limited.
Onto the Perks:
1. Practicing. Practice rooms/studios are very limited back home and getting everyone on the same schedule would be a bit of a hassle since everyone is occupied with their separate social lives. We perceive practice time at the resort as our training ground to make our #band sound tighter and more pronounced, to constantly have that hunger for better #sound through research, trial, and error, and to learn more #songs and build our #repertoire. Playing mostly 5 days a week, about 15 sets of 45 mins a week, about 150-170 songs (average 4 mins per song) per week, gives you the chance to be flexible and not sound like a CD. We started with 40 songs in our repertoire, we now have over 350.
2. People. They say if you want to open your eyes to the world, #travel. We do visit other countries on our breaks but we somewhat feel like we are constantly doing it. Even though we are working in our own country, we still meet many amazing people and become friends with most of them. Hello :) The thought of this is magnificent - People from all over the world with different languages, cultures, and ideas uniting over the universal language that is #music. And it should not go without mentioning the good friends we made who are colleagues, both local and foreign. You are the main reason word gets around about us, good and bad, in the resort industry without having to go on national TV.
3. Food and accommodation. Anyone who lives in #Male' city would know the citizens are overpaying for everything! Rent, utility bills, internet, buying groceries, and food are way overpriced for such a small place. A 3 bedroom apartment roughly costs about $2000 a month. Electricity bills might be around $200 even if we don't use them that much. An average internet package that has a speed of 25Mbps with an allowance of 200GB costs about $65 per month in this day and age - you get the idea. Even though some of us are still paying rent and bills while away at work, we eliminate most of that cost by staying at a resort. And you simply cannot compare the food from the city to the fresh produce and food we get to eat both at the staff and guest area (except for your mum/dad/partner’s cooking). But imagine all that for free!
4. Family and friends packages. Contrary to the point mentioned above under cons, some resorts do allow us to bring family and friends for a discounted price to stay as a paying guest at the property. This mostly depends on the #season and occupancy of the resort but you and your invitee can still #experience and enjoy the resort.
5. Sports and leisure. Some might think staying at a resort would be very boring since a Musician/band plays for about 3 hours a day. One might wonder what we are up to the rest of the day. We do lots of activities, we learn new skills and take up hobbies for our individual improvements and satisfaction. We go diving and snorkelling (if you're not a certified diver, resorts are the best place to start with as some just charge for insurance and course fee only), what better way to discover the Maldivian waters and its wildlife? We go swimming almost every day, and we do watersports. We join the staff on picnics and fishing trips too. You can’t actually keep a Maldivian away from the sea. We are learning some performance arts like poi, juggling, and slacklining. We play sports like futsal, volley, basketball, badminton, pool, table tennis, and table football. We stay active and go to the gym, but we also relax and unwind at the spa. And most of these activities are available for free and/or at discounted staff rates.
Royalty vs Discrimination. This factor varies from resort to resort. Guest vs staff accommodation (staff has different levels), food and beverage, recreation activities, and freedom are important factors to not overlook when making deals with the resort. These are the points to look into in detail if we want our contract to be awesome as just merely working and staying in our rooms would drain us mentally. We need to be free to a limit, and happy to project that energy to the audience when we are performing. To ask for this freedom and land solid contracts, we need to be professional, be respected and disciplined, and constantly grow and adapt as musicians. The perks of our contracts along with the support we receive from our guests are what motivates us to do our best. It is why we love what we do - to show up to work and finish the show without feeling that we did any work.
We are going to wrap it up and to anyone who read this up until this point, thank you for your patience! Please do not hesitate to comment/contact us for inquiries regarding this post.
Exciting Easter updates coming soon. Until then, stay safe and take good care!