As borders, schools and businesses close across the world, there is now no denying the severity of Covid-19.
Amidst this climate of fear and uncertainty about the threat that coronavirus poses to our lives and livelihoods, artists are rallying online to provide a much-needed musical antidote. The likes of Yungblud, Coldplay and John Legend have all delivered virtual gigs this week in the wake of concert and festival cancellations, starting a new trend of intimate performances for self-isolating fans.
Elsewhere online, musicians are documenting their quarantine challenges and creativity in varying ways. Stefflon Don took to Instagram in toilet-roll form, D Double E is fervently reminding us all to “sanitize!”, and Lana Del Ray has been teasing us with some fabulously existential voice-notes, such as "if this is the end... I want a boyfriend".
Here are some of the best musical responses to help ease the corona-crazies…
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Juste comme ça, vers 18 heures, parce que c’est assez joli de se donner un rendez-vous ensemble chaque jour pour tromper l’ennui. Concepts douteux et invités mystère sont à prévoir dans les jours qui viennent. Courage et prenez soin de vous #ensembleàlamaison Let’s meet everyday around 6pm CET on my Instagram. I’ll find a way to deal with the ENNUI. Guests and weird concepts included. Today : @bastien__d @_melissambre_ @vincent.taurelle
Who better to spend your quarantine with than French left-field pop icon Christine and the Queens?
In order to deal with corona lock-down measures in France, Christine is delivering an exclusive gig every night around 6pm CET on her Instagram. Expect 20 minutes’ worth of stripped-backed renditions from her Dante-inspired new EP ‘La Vita Nuova’, interspersed with her eccentric commentary and the odd sets of push-ups.
Christine and the Queens has also been teaming up with fellow alternative pop-star royalty, Charli XCX to overcome the difficulties of social-distancing. The pair hosted an ‘emo-talk’ on Charli’s live-stream yesterday – the first in a series of online conversations with musicians.
Next up for your viewing pleasure is a work-out session with Diplo, and then chats with Rita Ora on Friday, Kim Petras on Saturday and Clairo on Sunday.
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These are tense times that we are living in – and tense times call for soothing music. Thankfully, lo-fi UK rapper Barney Artist has launched a ‘Bars At Home’ series on Insta. The formula is pretty simple – Barney asks his followers for a backing track and then free-styles over it; “it feels lonely at home” he acknowledges, but Barney is definitely giving us all life with his interpretation of classics like Q-Tip’s ‘Let’s Ride’.
When he’s not documenting his wandering, self-isolation thoughts on Twitter, Barney’s morning barring looks set to continue with an R&B special today.
In other news, Barney’s frequent collaborator and fellow mellow-hip hop lover Tom Misch has gifted us all with some relaxing guitar jams and beats via a YouTube ‘Quarantine Sessions’.
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Other than obviously keeping us entertained, musicians have also had a role to play in spreading awareness online to young people about the seriousness of Covid-19. Both Taylor Swift and Ariana Grande used their platforms to reprimand others for disregarding the pandemic and have stressed the need to act now to protect the most vulnerable members of our society from the virus.
As some people are still defiantly going to lock-down parties despite the growing risk of Covid-19 spreading, it’s definitely a message fans need to hear. And for anyone still in denial about the whole corona-virus situation, cue a public service announcement from Californian group MUNA.
Posting a corona-version of their electro-pop anthem ‘I Know A Place’ on Insta, lead-singer Katie is pretty clear: "If you would like to go out dancing / even if you’re a-symptomatic / you could still have it / there’s a fucking curve that we’re trying to flatten / so too bad!"
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Quarantine, as musicians worldwide are proving, is conducive to creativity. So if you’re sitting in your room wondering how on earth you’re going to while away your time self-isolating, maybe now is the time to discover or re-discover your own musical abilities.
Should you have an abandoned, dusty guitar eyeing you longingly at home, Spanish indie-group Hinds are on hand with Instagram tutorials to play along to their songs ‘Come Back and Love Me <3’ and ‘Linda’.
Who knows, maybe corona-virus will turn you into the next Jimi Hendrix...?
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It was only going to be a matter of time until a, excuse the pun, viral song emerged from present-day corona-panic.
Thanks to the gift that is Cardi B proclaiming ‘corona-virus: shit is getting real!’ on the socials, Brooklyn hip hop producer iMarkkeyz has turned her cackling response to the pandemic into a song called…‘Coronavirus’.
It’s currently charting pretty well on iTunes and has also been remixed by French producer DJ Snake.
Meanwhile, US rappers Dee-1 and GMAC have given Covid-19 the trap treatment, whilst UK Drill new-comer Psychs has put out a more thoughtful reflection on life under corona with ‘Spreadin’ (Coronavirus)’.
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Musicians from Bono to Beabadoobee have been sharing corona-inspired numbers online this week. Of note was Raye’s vocal-run version of ‘All By Myself’ – a fitting way to get us all in our self-isolation feels.
But the best reaction so far has to be from song-writer extraordinaire MNEK with his corona-virus EP. To date, MNEK has shared three black and white, home-made videos of him harmonising with typical melodic flair; never has the all-too relatable "I’m so bored out of my mind / I’m too scared to go outside / because of corona-virus" sounded so good.
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Words: Caitlin O'Reilly
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