A melody for a malady | Daily News


 

A melody for a malady

Music has provided unity in times of division throughout history. Now these music enthusiasts are showing the world that, if only for a moment, it can also help them transcend the anxiety brought by a pandemic.

In recent weeks, more and more artistes in other countries badly affected by the virus outbreak - including Spain, China and South Korea - have also turned to virtual concerts to connect with fans and keep their spirits up.

With hundreds of deaths reported on a daily basis and thousands of new Corona Virus cases surging each passing day, Italy and Spain are the worst-hit countries besides China by the Coronavirus epidemic. However, even during a nationwide lockdown, Italians and Spaniards lean on music as a form of therapy to keep their stress at bay.

True to virtuosic opera composer Gioachino Rossini’s words, the world has proven that the language of music is common to all generations and nations and that it is understood by everybody, since it is understood with the heart.

In recent weeks, we witnessed Italians embracing the language of music as a means to communicate with their neighbors and endure the ravages of covid-19 as a collective. At a time when the most important music halls in the country, from La Scala to La Fenice, have closed their doors to the public, citizens of all ages have used their own instruments, and their voices, to fill the silence of seclusion.

A flash mob with pots and pans in Italy, virtual concerts and singing police officers  in Spain help soften the blow of the devastation to many souls facing deepening isolation and economic pain. A part of a growing trend to boost the morale of the penned-in citizens, Italians have been taking to balconies, courtyards and open windows as part of the “Sound Flash Mob,” a call to music meant to alleviate the frustrations of a country-wide concert ban and subsequent lockdown on movement by citizens.

According to a flash mob organizer the event “helped break the eerie silence that had begun to creep over the cities and it helped fight other viruses, such as loneliness.”

The flash mob seemed to light a fire. The following day at noon, people from all over Italy gathered on their balconies to clap their hands for five minutes to show their appreciation for the nation’s beleaguered doctors and nurses. Then at 6 pm that evening they came out again to sing “Azzurro,” the 1968 hit by Adriano Celentano, then a teen heartthrob. Italians recently belted out their national anthem to lift the spirits of the people as well as to show the world that - despite the worst outbreak of the coronavirus outside of China - they remain strong.

In Spain, another country that is reeling from the impact of the epidemic - Franchejo Blázquez, an artist manager and promoter who works for management agency Must Productions - organized #YoMeQuedoenCasa (“I’m Staying Home”). The virtual festival featured some 40 artistes playing live sets on Instagram, including Rozalén, David Otero and Diana Navarro. An hour after it kicked off, some 60,000 people had logged on. The artists, some of whom had been forced to cancel concerts at major venues, performed for free. Another virtual event, Cuarentenafest (Quarantine Fest), dubbed a “streaming music festival in difficult times,” is also offering sets on Instagram on March 27, featuring music by independent artistes.

Music has provided unity in times of division throughout history. Now these music enthusiasts are showing the world that, if only for a moment, it can also help them transcend the anxiety brought by a pandemic.

In recent weeks, more and more artistes in other countries badly affected by the virus outbreak - including Spain, China and South Korea - have also turned to virtual concerts to connect with fans and keep their spirits up.

In February, as the virus was surging in China, DJ-producer CORSAK hosted a 40-minute livestream show on his TikTok page from his bedroom in Shanghai, where he played keyboards and sung. That same month the DJ joined a group of more than 20 artistes of different genres from China, Hong Kong and Taiwan for a “sofa concert” on TikTok, with most performing live from their homes.

In South Korea, 13-year-old Dongwon Jeong, a finalist on a popular audition programme, ‘Mr. Trot’ uploaded a video of him singing a medley of songs, which he dedicated to "those in self-isolation and getting treatment" for COVID-19.

According to experts, music as a form of therapy has far-reaching benefits in  a variety of settings. Used in conjunction with traditional therapies, positive psychology, and even as a stand-alone intervention, music therapy offers a variety of advantages.

Music therapy reduces anxiety and the physical effects of stress. It improves healing, reduces depression and other symptoms in the elderly. Music therapy also improves self-expression by expressing emotions verbally and communication.

With schools and offices closed, less well-known musicians too got an opportunity to shine during this era. Music student Marta Cinelli, 15, stood at a window in the Alpine village of Campodolcino, Italy, and played a selection of pieces on her viola which went viral. In Cisternino, a small town in southern Italy, 3D graphic artist Alfonso Miceli and his five-year-old daughter Nina banged pots and pans from their balcony.

More countries are turning to song to fight Coronavirus.  Vietnam’s “Ghen Co Vy,” based on the melody of a V-pop hit, was written by Vietnamese record producer Khac Hung in collaboration with the country’s National Institute of Occupational and Environmental Health. The song has since become a global hit, with late night television show host John Oliver dancing along to it in a recent episode of his HBO show.

Thailand has a song too, a track named “COVID-19: Dance Against The Virus.” Singapore has a music video titled “Wash Yo Hands” by comedian Gurmit Singh, who famously released “The Sar-vivor Rap” during the 2003 SARS epidemic. Mexican singer Mister Cumbia released a song “La Cumbia Del Coronavirus” in late January, during the peak of the disease in Wuhan.

Celebrities who are either in quarantine or in self-isolation at home are giving social media updates to fans these days. From setting examples like taking part in the 20 seconds hand washing challenge to singing songs based on CROVID-19, these public figures create awareness as well as use social media as a means of coping with isolation.

Idris Elba, who wears another hat as a world-famous DJ, is the latest celebrity to join the scene with a song/ music video called “The Long Road 2”. The lyric content is about his diagnosis and the fact that his illness is very real compared to his acting day job.


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