Book: Maldito Coronavirus!
Chapter: This Sick Beat: Pandemic Music Cultures and Historical Responses to Disease, Trauma, and Death
This chapter is a concise global history of community music experiences in times of pandemic and other widespread health catastrophes, with an emphasis on responses to the modern era of newly emergent viruses. This chapter provides a history of community and artistic responses to crises of health and wellbeing as well as to the challenges of isolation and quarantine when faced with dangerous communicable diseases such as avian and swine influenza, malaria, HIV/AIDS, ebola, zika, dengue, chikungunya, and coronavirus. This chapter engages the historical scholarship on cultural and musical responses to disease and other traumatic experiences particularly in Latin America to contextualize the lineages of the musical responses to coronavirus as well as to highlight the novelty of the moment. It considers the development and applicability of conceptual frameworks from medical ethnomusicology and music therapy about the ways music and music-making can mitigate health impacts on individual and community scales. It considers the history of cultural production during global pandemics of the historical and recent pasts, emphasizing the rise of popular and vernacular musics as the main expressive route for artistic response to disaster and disease. Finally, this chapter provides a brief history of the rise and transformation of social technologies such as music and video streaming services like Soundcloud, Bandcamp, and YouTube, social media like Facebook and Instagram, live internet chatrooms, and livestreams and their relevance to the musical cultures of the covid pandemic and to music-making during the period of mass-isolation.