Italian novelist Francesca Melandri is 3 weeks into the Italian lockdown and has penned a letter from Rome to the countries of the world informing us of what to expect. In essence, writing to us from our own future. In her beautiful and provocative piece (full text available here) she has this to say about music:

‘You will play music from your windows and lawns. When you saw us singing opera from our balconies, you thought “ah, those Italians”. But we know you will sing uplifting songs to each other too. And when you blast ‘I Will Survive’ from your windows, we’ll watch you and nod just like the people of Wuhan, who sang from their windows in February, nodded while watching us.’

Johannesburg, South Africa, 26 March 2020 as national lockdown begins. Photo: Gallo Images/ Sharon Seretlo

As I write this I can only reflect in amazement how the world has changed in a short month since penning our last edition. Last month we were still writing with awe about recent live concert events, now we have empty streets.

Music, much like laughter, will bring us necessary relief and comfort during this crazy time. So laugh out loud. Often. Play music loud. Often.


To help distract your mind for a couple of hours, this month we have deviated from our norm of only picking a handful of feature albums to bring you a longer collection of tracks spanning all of the releases we have been listening to in the past month. This is the music that has inspired, amazed and at times shocked us in the last 30 days. Obviously this means a more eclectic bunch of songs than you are used to seeing from us, so you may reach for the skip button from time to time. See this as an opportunity to dive into something you might not normally spend time on and hopefully discover something new. Learning about things outside of our normal zone is another great way to consume hours doing something personally beneficial.


Also, spare a thought for musicians during this time. Yes, music is a medium that can be delivered digitally so the distribution of product remains open. But album and single sales are a much smaller fraction of music revenues in the streaming era; live concerts are where the real money is. Not only is this a huge problem for the artists themselves but think about the support infrastructure that is deeply impacted by this, in particular the live crews and roadies. Increasing your intake of streamed music and purchasing more online content is one way of supplementing the drop in income. So consider this your civic duty!


You can also check out the innovative ways musicians are still reaching their audience. Some are live streaming acoustic sets from home studios (as a great example take a peek at Ben Gibbard, lead singer of Death Cab For Cutie, who is performing 50 minute sets every day. John Legend and Chris Martin have done similar things). In the pre lockdown era some bands pressed-on with live concerts to empty venues, live streaming them for free (such as Dan Mangan’s Show To Nobody). Artists are collaborating online and delivering songs of hope or humour (see this gathering of South African stars as a sample). Or, we see artists using the empty spaces around us to bring us works of stirring beauty (like former banker Stephen Ridley’s rendition of John Lennon’s Imagine recorded in the normally bustling King’s Cross station in London).

You are probably being bombarded with coping advice right now so we’ll leave you with a simple message:

  • take care of your elderly loved ones; they are the most vulnerable. Make sure they aren’t lonely or at undue risk of exposure
  • take care of your children; they are afraid, uncertain and bored. Keep your deepest fears away from them and spend time with them doing silly stuff
  • most of all take care of yourselves; you are the bridge between these two generations

Stay safe, stay home…



You can listen to previews of each track by clicking on the icons next to the song titles below.

If you have iTunes and an Apple Music account, you can listen to the full songs and add the playlist to your library. Simply click on the Apple Music icon.

(RELATED POSTS: See more of our music posts here.)

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