Puerto Rican singer, activist and creator of the band Hurray for the Riff Raff, Alynda Segarra, has taken to Instagram to post short performances and cover songs as the worlds copes with the coronavirus pandemic and increasing calls to isolate and stay inside. Segarra has performed covers of popular songs like “This Must Be The Place” by Talking Heads, and Bob Dylan’s version of “Corrina, Corrina.”
“I started doing songs on Instagram because I miss my audience. I know people are scared, I am too and I think there’s power in being vulnerable and present with each other however we can,” she told Latino Rebels. “I have always used music as a tool for my activism and now that it is unsafe for us to gather I felt confused,” she added. In 2018, the band released “PA’LANTE” a powerful visual about Puerto Rico post-Hurricane María.
Like Segarra, dozens of other artists have taken to Instagram to do the same, some hosting live concerts. One DJ, D-Nice, has had over 100,000 people join his hours-long livestream, including presidential candidates and a slew of celebrities.
Segarra is currently in New Orleans, which Reuters says is becoming another epicenter of the crisis.
“We are a very social city, and just had Mardi Gras three weeks ago where over a million people participated… so it makes sense. I’m proud of how the city has been responding, people, for the most part, are really taking it seriously,” she said. “My partner is a primary care doctor and he has begun testing people for the virus at the community clinic he works at. I feel like it’s helped me to be there to support him in this crazy time like he has always supported me.”
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One of the last shows I went to before the pandemic shut down began was @americanutopia i feel so lucky for that. I cried multiple times, it filled me up with so much inspiration. I love this song and though it might be disgraceful to play it without the synths Idk ya’ll I’m making it work over here!! 🦋 In other news please go check out my interview with @livinginthisqueerbody 🦋 continue to support my friends by donating to Venmo: Maydaymutualaid . We must all practice mutual aid now more than ever! 🦋 Care for your neighbor, and remember to say GTFOH to any racist rhetoric against Asian folks (FOR REAL) I LOVE YOU. STAY HOME.
The videos she has posted are intimate, showing her directly in front of the camera, as she performs some of her favorite tunes.
Here’s more from her on what she’s doing to cope as a creative, and the meaning of music at a time like this:
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This took me a whole day to learn. I’ve been reeling from the pain New York City is going through. I’ve been thinking about the city that made me. New Yorkers are a special breed, we are way more friendly than we get credit for, we got a witty comeback at the ready. We are tough but we are tender, and we fucking love our city though it feels impossible sometimes. It’s still with me. My best friend’s mother told me when I left home: “Everywhere you go, tell people where you’re from. The Bronx. Everyone in the world has heard of the Bronx.” It’s true. I fucking love you New York. I fucking love you New Yorkers. You will get through this. ❤️
“I have been going for a run or a walk while listening to a Tara Brach podcast, cooking a lot and doing two check-ins with the news a day after spending the first week glued to refreshing my news feed,” Segarra added. “At first my anxiety was at an all-time high. I had to cut myself off from constant news. I’ve always relied on herbal medicine to keep my immune system up so I’ve been turning to herbs for nourishment and meditating in the morning. I haven’t seen friends or gone out socially since March 9, when the information started to reach us. I canceled two performances that week because I just didn’t want to chance it.”
“We have to go through this for the most part in solitude. I know I don’t want anyone to feel alone, so maybe posting something semi-regular would be comforting. I just want people to know I’m still here. I think we are going through a period of mourning for the old world. Many of us are in denial, some in deep sorrow, and then, of course, [there’s] those feeling like how could things have gotten even worse? I have been thinking, ‘I don’t know why I didn’t enjoy it more. Despite it all, I should have enjoyed it more’. The world has changed considerably and I think it’s healthy we face that, but we won’t lose music and we won’t lose songs. That’s what I hope to remind people, one day we’ll be together again.”