What we're doing during lockdown.
I just realized I missed my March blog post, you'd think with lockdown that I have more time than ever, but sheesh, we are actually busier than ever. We've been collaborating in a bunch of projects, so far, one of my favorites has been Lockdown Lit a great idea for a video anthology dreamed up by the wonderful creative collective Nothing in the Rulebook, who also reviewed NoteSpeak...Then we've been collaborating with other musicians for fundraising videos including NoteSpeak's lockdown video, (pajamas & slippers!) 'Returning from Pluto'.
Side note! Speaking of fundraising for every donation of 15 Euros or more to EMERGENCY, we will send you a download code for our new album. EMERGENCY, one of our favorite nonprofits, have been and continue to do incredible work, currently for those remarkable people who are fighting the virus up close. Hospitals are in dire need of EMERGENCY ’s experience in every capacity. You can read more about exactly what EMERGENCY is doing in response to the Coronavirus outbreak on their website.
I've also been so lucky to have had a bunch of interviews for the album release on March 13, perhaps my favorite was with Chris Slawecki from All About Jazz. and one in Italian - I was so happy to be asked to make a video for Sara Centenari at Brescia Oggi. Then, of course, we've been scrambling to see if any of the gigs we'd booked for our UK tour in July were still viable, alas, finally got the news from the last holdout The Edinburgh Jazz and Blues Festival, which we were SO looking forward to, just this last Friday that they are canceling along with everyone else. Promoting, writing, recording and here we are and more than a month's gone by.
Where were we when Italy accepted the inevitable?
We are (were?!) lucky enough to have two resident gigs, one weekly and one monthly, and gorgeous Lake Garda enjoys a large tourist trade during the summer months so we don’t have to go too far afield to pay our bills with music. We were at our resident weekly gig on March 7th, outside of the province where we live when we got the announcement that Lombardia was going to be on lockdown as of midnight. As the New York Times reported, “Mr. Conte had just decreed a series of measures that amounted to the largest clampdown against the coronavirus outbreak in the Western world, restricting the movement of about a quarter of Italy's population and jeopardizing its economy.”
The bartender came up between songs and wide-eyed showed me his phone, we had to decide if it was better to head out immediately or wait for morning as planned. We focused on the show and then anxiously watched news reports after our last set. We found out that people who live in the area could still enter so we slept and got an early start the next morning. As a precaution, Marco and I shopped for a week’s supply before entering Lombardia. There was no checkpoint as we crossed over and we thought, “Okay it hasn’t gotten too bad just yet.” That thought was short-lived, when we got home I found that my good friend Karen had posted a photo on Facebook showing our local supermarket’s empty shelves and recounting how people had lost their minds. She watched as several customers superstitiously slipped items like masks and gloves into their bags, and after she snagged the last tin of tuna someone reached into her cart and removed it when her back was turned. After another five minutes, there was again a woman reaching in for her polenta. Side note, this mob mentality, and mass panic is different in each country. No toilet paper in America? In that first panic rush here it was all about the polenta flour, then, it was yeast that was hard to find. Everyone was baking comfort foods. Currently, exercise videos and book sales have skyrocketed as the deadline for lockdown here in Italy approaches and we realize that we did an awful lot of pasta making and wine drinking!
I still held out hope for a week or so that I wouldn’t have to cancel my promotional tour to Philadelphia where I was to meet with Ropeadope CEO Louis Marks for the first time. I ended up canceling two days before the 14-day quarantine was imposed on entry to the States as I reasoned I might be a healthy carrier and didn’t want to put anyone at risk. Then, shortly after, all of Italy was suddenly locked down.
Oooooooo and look what arrived last week!
Future? Crystal ball anyone?
We’ve settled into it now, and fear seems to be receding despite the horrific number of contagions and deaths as well as the toll it’s taken on Italy’s stellar health system. Italy has reached its peak it seems and we are now looking at phase two, that is, restrictions slowly being lifted beginning May 3rd.
Marco and I are hunkered down in our home studio and feeling lucky that we have alternate sources of income. Marco has a pretty steady stream of online remote session work with Airgigs and Soundbetter, and I have a few online teaching sessions keeping us afloat, but really for how long? Most of our revenue comes from live performances. We worry about our bandmates and other colleagues who are scrambling for ways to bring in some cash to make the rent. Live shows will be one of the last things to return and we like every other musician on the planet are posting videos and learning about live streaming.
Whatever the future holds, we'll continue to write and do our best to throw light.