In these times of self-isolating, there is a wellspring of heart-to-heart sharing and caring out there on the internet. Artists, actors, writers, musicians—from mom and pop duos to world-class symphony orchestras—are doing their utmost to keep us all entertained, and as uplifted as circumstances will permit. I’m here for all of it, although some of it has caused me to burst into tears without warning.
All you have to do is check out the Instagram hashtag #songsofcomfort to be transported to a higher plane of existence.
Up top is beloved Yo-Yo Ma, who is playing something beautiful every few days. He just turns on his phone and goes at it, from memory. You could probably get a lot of comfort with the sound off, just watching his face. Yo-Yo Ma is with us, all the way.
Then there’s this amazing thing going around: Members of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, each hooked up at home with a smart phone, a metronome, and headphones, all playing Copland’s Appalachian Spring together, apart. It sounds amazing, and has been edited into a beautiful video.
Still not sobbing? Listen to these members of the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra. Ode to Joy.
There’s so much of this it’s hard to keep track. Who knew Little Fox Yarn’s Aimee and her bass-playing Brian were such sweet singers? And Dan Zanes and Claudia Eliaza are putting out a daily song, too, everything from sea chanties to Haitian folk songs.
Also on Instagram, Rosanne Cash and John Leventhal did a Beatles cover, and then they did me in with a mournful Wayfaring Stranger. (Which is never not mournful, but boy is it ever mournful in the Cash/Leventhal living room.) I don’t know about you, but sad songs have always been a comfort to me. People have been sad before. Times have been tough before. People kept going. There’s hope.
For the less musically inclined, there are gems like Jennifer Ehle reading Pride and Prejudice.
They are all helping us take heart and stick together.
P.S. Readers, feel free to share other content like this with links in the comments. We need it.