Knowing that I will be getting my first jab of the vaccine in the upcoming week, I optimistically look forward to the world returning to normal, even if it becomes a different kind of normal.
As we are heading out of the COVID-19 pandemic, livestreams are dwindling in numbers, and some musicians are already back to performing in front of live audiences. Consequently, I’m shifting the focus of FindLiveStreams from promoting future livestreams to creating an archive of livestreams that occurred during the pandemic.
When I first started this site, my intention was to help the musicians impacted by the lockdown. But, the scope of the site quickly mushroomed as more musicians—from buskers to famous artists—began to stream their performances. They had various reasons for livestreaming, such as helping people cope with staying home, raising money for charities, or supporting their crew or themselves. Some artists even began to stream old concerts to support their causes.
Early on, I focused my efforts on posting upcoming livestreams to give people something to look forward to. By late March 2020, hashtags such as #StayHome, #WithMe and #TogetherAtHome began to emerge on social media, and I struggled to keep up with the flood of new streams. Seeing the amazing things the musicians were doing encouraged me to keep going, though.
Looking back, the livestreams tell the story of the pandemic.
When the pandemic hit and New York City went into lockdown, Yut Chia, an EDM DJ and violinist, started playing music with dystopian backgrounds that showcased the city’s empty streets and a deserted Grand Central. In this video, a masked Yut Chia played the violin to “Billie Jean” in the middle of a Chinatown street that became a ghost town with the lockdown.
In March 2020, pianist Carlos Cipa played the solitary sounds of COVID-19 on his piano—alone—from his home in Munich, Germany.
Norah Jones, who was a prolific livestreamer throughout the pandemic, delivered a powerful rendition of “Fleurette Africaine” (African Flower), which she dedicated to George Floyd, echoing our pain.
Melissa Etheridge, who livestreamed regularly throughout the pandemic, suffered the loss of her son after her 58th livestream. When she came back with her Heal Me concert, I felt her pain and understood that she, like millions of others who suffered loss during the pandemic, had to muster the strength to persevere.
Feelings of hope overcame me as I watched David Guetta bid adieu to 2020 during his New Year’s Eve “United At Home” charity performance, which was livestreamed from Paris’ historic Musée du Louvre.
In March 2020, Yo-Yo Ma started his #SongsOfComfort project, an online concert series intended to provide comfort at a time of anxiety and fear. After a year of livestreaming concerts, Yo-Yo Ma thanked essential workers with an impromptu mini-concert after receiving his second shot of the vaccine at Berkshire Community College in Pittsfield, Massachusetts.
All in all, these livestreams are a small sample of the experiences we all went through in the past year.
I’m thankful to the community of musicians who helped us all navigate the pandemic, and I don’t want these stories to be lost or buried deep in the internet as we move forward. That’s why I’m shifting this site to be an archive. By capturing as many of these livestreams as possible, they can be preserved and found easily in the future.
If there is a livestream that you think should be included in the FLS archive that’s not already there, please share it here.