“Music does a lot of things for a lot of people. It’s transporting, for sure. It can take you right back, years back, to the very moment certain things happened in your life. It’s uplifting, it’s encouraging, it’s strengthening.” – The late, great singer Aretha Franklin
For me, day 4 of Italy’s nationwide quarantine started like every other day since the news that the Coronavirus outbreak was going to cause a perpetual limbo in everyone’s life. Normally after waking up, the sounds that I normally am faced with include motorini furiously revving their engines, the echo of voices fading slowly up through my window and the comforting click of heels on cobblestones as people hurry to their work.
Instead, because we were all asked remain inside, I heard something I almost never do after living so many years in the center – silence and well, a bit of birdsong.
If we were in the countryside this would be welcome, but here in the city, it is a reminder of the reality of just what is this new normal. The one where many of its residents have no work to go to, livelihoods at serious risk, and others in hospital emergency wards. Many of us wait until the dreaded hour of 6pm to see when the numbers are updated – the number of infected, deceased and those fully recovered. With the incubation period lasting so long – there is no expectation that just after a few days’ things can drastically change, but you can’t help but hope. But, we need to be more patient. I’m reminded constantly and take the time to remind myself that this too shall pass and we all must do our part despite the heavy limitations.
At home, our routine is as such. Coffee is made and Nico heads to our tiny second bedroom to begin his day of smart-working and I duly turn on my computer to do the same. Right now, the goal is to try to establish as normal as a routine as humanly possible. Lunch and dinner hour are respected, this plus of having nowhere to go is that it gives me motivation to cook, and we only leave the house to shop for groceries (one at a time) or on a (very quick) walk with the dog for bathroom breaks.
I try to share as much as I can on social media, this blog, and Italy Magazine in regards to helping local businesses stay afloat from a distance. In my opinion the true power of “influence” in a time like this is best utilized to help people who want to know how to help. Equally as important is raising one’s spirits while at the same time acknowledging that this is very, very real and not sugar-coating the effects it is having on a massive portion of the population.
That being said, to me, the current reality is far from chaos. There is a sense of peace knowing that everyone else is doing this too. A community banding together and trusting that the government has stepped up and made these difficult decisions based on behalf of the health of its citizens.
Staying home and listening to the news, there is a quiet acceptance that these enormous sacrifices are for the health of all. Consequentially, it has also brought about a sort of patriotism that I’ve really never seen here, with the exception of the 2006 World Cup win (that was pretty cool). It certainly feels as if we are living within a moment of history.
People are encouraging one another to do the right thing, the message being stay at home, and at the same time many are eager to help – whether it be volunteer for the red cross to deliver those in need (our large elderly population and those who have existing health problems) food and medicine or help a small businesses survive by buying their books/wine, Made-in-Products. I appreciate the quarantine diaries that keep it real like this one of Eva on Medium and Michelle in Milan.
There are GoFundMe efforts for hospitals all over the country and volunteer efforts. Friends are arranging digital aperitivi (happy hours) on video chat providing a refreshing grid of laughter and comfort during a time when keeping each other company seems more important than anything else. Friends have started youtube channels and kids have created banners to hang outside of their windows with rainbows with the slogan ““Andrà tutto bene” everything will be all right.
In addition to those efforts, I was delighted to see the news from a friend that there was talk of a movement regarding a musical flashmob that evening around Italy.
— Yemi Adeyeye (@yemi_adeyeye) March 13, 2020
At 6pm on Friday the 13th, Italians were invited to go to their windows, balconies and terraces in a show of solidarity and play music (whatever they like) for 15 minutes. At 6pm, if you were in Italy, you could have heard the national anthem, traditional music from Puglia, The song Shallow played to the Duomo, a one man band by my friend Scott, or the piano tunes a la Nico (which you can see on my Facebook Page).
The concept that music can be healing is nothing new, more than 400 years ago William Shakespeare said that “music can raze out the written troubles of the brain” Elton John has said “Music has healing power. It has the ability to take people out of themselves for a few hours.”
He couldn’t have been more right.
I was truly touched to see/hear all of the music that came from all over Italy and hence decided that this was something everyone needs to feel right now. In honour of that, here are some of the videos and links of what emerged from the musical cacophony that made this Friday the 13th one to remember.
— nina peći ?️?? (@npeci) March 13, 2020
People of my hometown #Siena sing a popular song from their houses along an empty street to warm their hearts during the Italian #Covid_19 #lockdown.#coronavirusitalia #COVID19 #coronavirus pic.twitter.com/7EKKMIdXov
— valemercurii ? (@valemercurii) March 12, 2020
My neighbours in Rome singing Bella Ciao ❤️?? pic.twitter.com/gu1NqNjlHQ
— Jessica Phelan (@JessicaLPhelan) March 13, 2020
A whole Roman neighborhood singing a popular Italian song “Volare” from their balconies and waving at each other. An amazing flash mob to lift the spirit in these crazy times ❤️ #Italy #coronavirus #forzaitalia #roma #flashmob #love pic.twitter.com/xjeZTeO0GO
— Jenna Vehviläinen (@jennavehvi) March 13, 2020
my favorite video from today
— ORIETTA BERTI STAN ACCOUNT ?? (@ohyeahyeahfire) March 13, 2020