On Sunday, June 28th, I got to be Seth Rudetsky’s featured vocalist as part of his concert series. However, as wonderful as the evening went, that’s not exactly what I’ll be writing about today.
The concert serves as a springboard for what I really want to share with you. (Thank you again, Seth, and producer Mark Cortale, for having me, and thanks to your two wonderful tech gurus, David Katz and Kiran Edwards for all the help!)
Due to the invitation to be part of the concert series, I was introduced to a piece of software called JamKazam, which would enable Seth and me to play together live. Existing teleconferencing software doesn’t quite cut it, what with significant delays (or latency) being the biggest hurdle.
On Sunday night, latency was cut down, thanks to the software itself and me reminding myself to stay a little bit ahead of the accompaniment.
JamKazam isn’t perfect by any means, if our dress rehearsals are any indication. Connecting our respective pieces of gear via the app would be hit or miss (at our first rehearsal, things seemed fine; with our second attempt, we weren’t able to rehearse at all despite rebooting everything; and at attempt No. 3, it didn’t take very long to link up. We thought all things would be fine for the Sunday night show.
Our show was scheduled at 9 p.m. Manila time, so we all logged on at around 8 p.m. just to make sure everything was working. However, nothing. I couldn’t connect to Seth, and Seth couldn’t connect to me.
Minutes ticked by as we got closer and closer to showtime, and still nothing was working. Reboot … reboot again … Seth’s assistant Kiran rebooted Seth’s computer … and rebooted it again. I got on the phone with David to see what I could do.
At 9:02 p.m., it looked like things were starting to work, so the show was underway on StreamYard. My opening song was “True Colors,” one of the songs specially picked for Pride Weekend. It all seemed to be going well, and then all of a sudden, my microphone was muted and disconnected from everything. WHAT ON EARTH?!?
I had to stop and figure out what was going on. Via StreamYard’s private chat window, I told Kiran that I would be restarting the app. Seth remained online to speak to the audience (I couldn’t hear what he was saying, though) and waited for me to return.
A few minutes later, after deleting my audio gear profile and creating a new one, I went back online—and everything held together! With each song, I prayed, hoping that all the connections would hold fast and true.
After starting “True Colors” over and completing it, the rest of the show went as intended. Our internet connection held, and it felt good. It was just great to do a night like this one.
When I awoke the following day, I started telling a few musician friends about JamKazam, and the possibilities it offers. In short, it allows musicians and vocalists of any ilk to jam together, play together, make music together. Something that was once seemingly impossible can now take place, pandemic be damned.
Sure, the software can be temperamental and at times can test one’s patience during setup, but once everything is connected and settings tweaked to fit the jamming party just right, everyone can play to his/her heart’s content.
It does require connecting your Mac or Windows computer via Ethernet (Wi-Fi just won’t cut it) to reduce delays. JamKazam itself is free, but there’s a GoFundMe for its setup to encourage its further development.
So, if jamming with your band mates and friends is something you miss as this pandemic continues to rage on, check JamKazam out. Here’s hoping you’re able to make beautiful music together, even while physically distanced apart.