Inspired by videos of Italians singing to or playing music for each other, I am starting a new feature on this blog: #PlagueSongs
Each Tuesday, I will post a video of me performing a “plague-themed” song, very broadly defined. It is my way of standing on my balcony and singing to you. Since I do not have a balcony and you may be anywhere in the world, I am doing this via YouTube, and will be sharing via this blog, Twitter (@philnel) and Instagram (@thephilnel). I will be tagging them all #PlagueSongs.
I am also inviting you to sing and post yourself singing whatever songs are keeping you going these days. I’ve deliberately defined “plague-themed” very broadly — this can truly be any song that is sustaining you. Sing with those you’re quarantining with. (Do NOT go and find people to sing with.) Sing a cappella. Or sing with instrumentation. But do sing.
When we sing to each other, we offer hope. We have fun. We come together, even though we cannot be with one another. We affirm our bond to each other. Because we will need each other to get through these many months of quarantine, overwhelmed health care systems (such as in Italy and the U.S.), a collapsing global economy, and whatever other challenges we face.
So. Here I am, singing to you. Will you sing to me?
As the above makes evident, I am not a professional musician. Indeed, I chose Gloria Gaynor’s disco classic in part because it must be sung with enthusiasm, and in part because it was definitely not written to be performed on acoustic guitar. I knew I would look a little ridiculous.
Indeed, I hope I look a little ridiculous. I figure that you could probably use a laugh right now.
So, pull out your trombone, sidle up to the piano, pick up the banjo, dust off your flute, or just open your mouth in song.
Looking for suggestions of what to sing or play? Perhaps I can help. I’ve been assembling COVID-19: A Coronavirus Pandemic Playlist 🎵💃🦠🕺🎶
Because, yes, we are in a plague year — an older term for what we might now call a time of pandemic (or, to borrow a hashtag from Twitter yesterday, #coronapocalypse). And, in a plague year, daily life is different. But remember that humankind has faced plague years before. As people have done in the past, we too will persist. We will carry on. We will do the best we can. Because that is what we do.
And, to sustain our spirits during this plague year, let us make music together — even if we must be physically apart. We will survive! (Sing it! We will survive!)