Hearing, Healing

Hearing, Healing

Music helps lift up the isolated during covid times


“And I’ll rise up, I’ll rise like the day

“I’ll rise up, I’ll rise unafraid

“I’ll rise up, And I’ll do it a thousand times again.”

Who knew Andra Day’s “Rise Up” would blend so perfectly with the spiritual “He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands” and The Beatles’ “Let It Be” to become a moving and inspirational anthem for a pandemic-stricken world?

“For me, I’ve had to be a lot kinder to myself and say, ‘It’s OK that you’re not getting all this stuff done. It’s OK that you’re not learning another language,” musician Asha Mevlana reflects on her time during the coronavirus pandemic. “I’ve really tried to be a lot more simple during this time. I’ve had to try to take a step back and just try to appreciate the moments that I’m getting. So for me, it hasn’t been about being creative through music, it’s more just been about being more present and appreciative of what this time can bring rather than what it’s not bringing.”
(Courtesy Image)

Possibly Fayetteville musician — and violinist for the Trans-Siberian Orchestra — Asha Mevlana and her fellow performer friends when they recorded an original arrangement of the tunes back in April.

“We were talking about what’s happening now and how do we continue creating music and also give back during this time,” Mevlana recalls of a Zoom call with her friends. Chloe Lowery, Ashley Hollister, April Berry-Wooten, Rosa Laricchiuta and Jodi Katz have performed in the house bands on programs like “The Voice” and “American Idol” and with artists like Melissa Ethridge, Yanni and Cher. Like Mevlana and certainly the majority of musicians, the women have seen all their planned tours and gigs canceled.

“I think music is so healing, even if you’re not a musician, playing music for me or just listening to it, it can just take you to these different places,” Mevlana muses. “Sad places or happy places or whatever you really want to be feeling. I think it just can be healing in whatever way you want it to be.”

The women decided to record the mashup to hopefully provide a little joy to people during social-distancing. But then the idea to create a video accompanying the song provided a way to honor local heroes and frontline workers with the music as well. They put out a call through social media for photos and videos of how people were spending their time in quarantine or maintaining connections with others.

Lowery wrote the arrangement; Travis Law with The Pocket Loft laid down the piano; and Mevlana, who has a background in film, was put in charge of editing the submissions together over each woman’s recorded piece (as well as playing her violin part for the video). She says the musicians were overwhelmed by the amount of content sent to them — some from friends and some from complete strangers.

“It can kind of feel lonely at times, when you’re doing quarantine and not really seeing people in person,” Mevlana shares. “So it was almost therapeutic for me to do this video because I felt connected to all these people. Hearing their personal stories, I was like, ‘Wow, there really are so many people going through so many of the same emotions that I am.’ And it made me feel not so alone.”

Birthday parties and orchestra rehearsals over Zoom, a special distanced Easter delivery, signs of

thanks for healthcare, delivery and other frontline workers, Mevlana describes the video as a slice of life.

“It’s really just showing, like, you might be alone in your house doing this, or walking around by yourself, but actually everyone’s doing the exact same thing. So it’s like you really are not alone, even though it can feel so lonely sometimes,” she says warmly of the video’s effect.

Between Facebook and YouTube, “RISE 2020” has just over 30,000 views and was even written about on broadwayworld.com.

Though Mevlana says she hasn’t used very much of the past two months to work on her musical endeavors, there are musicians all over the world who have been motivated to create either due to their new-found free time, or in response to the strangeness of being so distant from others. Below is a small roundup of music created in response to covid-19 that can maybe provide a small spark of joy during what can feel like lonely times.

“Outside” by Cones — “Outside,” by brothers Jonathan and Michael Rosen, is a downtempo yet sunny meditation on feelings of isolation amidst quarantine and feels like the soundtrack to a wonderfully simple day of lying on the grass, looking up at the sky. “Creating the video for ‘Outside’ was an exercise in escapism. We wanted to construct an absurd and colorful dream world that we could visit any time while stuck in our homes,” the brothers explain of the song’s accompanying 360-degree VR music video.

“Atlas Falls”

“Shine” by Jagwar Twin — The music video for single “Shine” by Roy English, also known as Jagwar Twin, features submitted videos showing how fans are staying positive in quarantine and illustrates the song’s inspirational message of taking collective ownership of our world, rising each new day to create change together, and finding positivity during this time of isolation. The song is a powerful reminder that hope and love have the ability to help us overcome adversity.

“Atlas Falls” by Shinedown — Written eight years ago during the sessions for the Amaryllis album but never released, “Atlas Falls” was always special to the band, and it became clear to them that it was the right time for the song’s message to arrive as the world was beginning to respond to the covid-19 pandemic. Drawing inspiration from the Greek myth of Titan Atlas, who carries a celestial sphere on his shoulders, “Atlas Falls” is a reassuring anthem that if Atlas falls, we will lift each other up in times of strife. Until now, the song has only been available as part of an exclusive T-shirt and song bundle for Shinedown’s fundraising relief effort for humanitarian aid organization Direct Relief, for which the band has raised more than $300,000.

“Bad Vacation”
Liza Anne

“Bad Vacation” by Liza Anne — A triumphant celebration of mental health self awareness, Liza Anne’s new album is a collection of art rock anthems, new wave jams, and power pop earworms set to establish her as a breakthrough independent artist and a bold young voice in mental health self awareness. “I wrote a stronger, more empowered version of myself into existence,” she says. “I have all these ideas of what taking care of myself looks like, but I tend to get in my own way. [Debut single] ‘Bummer Days’ is me calling myself out. I am the only person who will take responsibility for my emotional and mental health.”

“Made It”
Teyana Taylor

“Made It” by Teyana Taylor — Teyana Taylor, whose devotion to community and social activism has been a constant factor throughout her career, celebrates the commencement-deprived Class of 2020 in the inspirational video for her new track, “Made It,” prominently featuring many of those remarkable graduates. The tune is a very personal journey for Taylor, who never had a formal high school graduation herself. Taylor praised the grads on Instagram, saying: “Unfortunately, this pandemic has stopped us from physically gathering and celebrating all the hard work you’ve put in through the years, but this pandemic can’t stop your spirit, it can’t dim your light, and it can’t take your degree away from you! So when you make it out of this dark time, shine bright and light up the world!”

“Hometown Heroes” by Moon Taxi — The phrase “Hometown Heroes” has taken on an entirely different meaning in today’s landscape, and Moon Taxi is making an effort to shed light on those who sacrifice their time, energy and health in order to keep their communities safe and healthy. The vibrant track is the first single from the group’s forthcoming album and, said AltPress, “the celebratory nature of the song is so enriching, it practically promises you’ll make it through the day.”


Go Online!

‘RISE 2020’

You can watch the “RISE 2020” video on Asha Mevlana’s or Chloe Lowery’s Facebook pages at bit.ly/AshaMevlana and facebook.com/OfficialChloeLowery.

Categories: Music