The bustling streets and busy lives around us saw an abrupt cessation with the novel coronavirus outbreak. Musicians in Mexico are back on the streets, entertaining people stuck at home, to make ends meet. The shutting down of public places and restaurants in Mexico has forced musicians, that regularly relied on income from live performances, out of work.
As per reports, the sounds of marimbas, trumpets, and güiros booming in the streets of Mexico have once again become a common sight since bars, cantinas (a type of bar common in Latin America and Spain), and events with live-performances are currently non-existent in the country. Musicians who previously performed in bars and live-events are now out on the streets serenading the public to make up for the monetary losses they face while the lockdown persists.
In Mexico City, the pandemic sounds like street musicians playing Hey Jude, trying to survive.
— Natalie Kitroeff (@Nataliekitro) May 12, 2020
Speaking with the press, one of the musicians mentions that street serenading has become their way of adapting to the system set in place by mandatory lockdown regulations. “To realize that people are at home, so I say, you have to bring them music, right? You have to bring them joy,” he said in a video. People are seen enjoying the live performances from their balconies, singing along and dancing as the band plays traditional Mexican songs such as Cielito Lindo and Bésame Mucho. Pedestrians requested their favorite songs, tipping them on their way. In another part of the city, an instrumentalist is seen playing ‘Hey Jude’ by The Beatles standing on the sidewalk. “This is the city’s quarantine soundtrack”, said journalist Paulina Villegas in a New York Times Report. Moreover, Twitter users did their part to disseminate information about an online emergency relief fund set up for the Mazatlan Musicians and their families during this financial crisis.
Watch Mexican street musicians bring melodies to people stuck at home via Reuters on YouTube
The enforced lockdown leaves behind a legion of musicians who don’t categorize as essential workers, and are thereby stripped of their occupation and income. According to the report, these musicians used to earn USD 9 and USD 14 for an eight-hour shift on weekends and holidays during their pre-pandemic gigs. Reportedly, the reopening of hotels and restaurants are yet to be planned and discussed by the state.
Many independent musicians are severely affected by the lockdown. Their revival after the country unlocks its stay-at-home is also questionable as it solely depends on the monetary fluctuation incurred by the employers. “I hope to resume the pace we had. If the restaurants where we were working aren’t affected or don’t close forever, we’ll continue doing the same,” they said.
Mexico City is the worst-affected area in the country. The city halted its reopening plan after witnessing a surge in COVID-19 cases. As per the official government count, the city of Mexico has 191,410 infected cases and 23,377 deaths. According to Mexico’s restaurant chamber (CANIRAC), at least 10% of Mexico’s estimated two million restaurants will not survive the COVID-19 pandemic after the lockdown eases and social distancing norms are lifted.
Featured Image Via Indian Express.