As the coronavirus continues to spread across the world, loved ones are lost, and Glastonbury is cancelled, there is understandably a deepening gloom. Relationships are expected to fray as lovers and families quarantine themselves. Panic-buying is causing deepening anxiety. And sports fans have turned to marble racing.

Despite this increasingly apocalyptic atmosphere, the team at MTM have noticed some heart-warming tales. As people across the globe are forced to quarantine themselves, often only allowed outside with permits or very good reasons, moments of creative collaboration have emerged in the unlikeliest of places:

Italian evocations

In Italy, the country with the most cases outside of China, quarantined musicians have been playing and singing from balconies and rooftops to keep spirits alive. These include local songs in Siena, a lone trumpeter performing John Lennon’s Imagine on a balcony, opera singers singing Puccini from the rooftops in Florence, a few DJ sets in Turin, and a classical guitarist in Pavia. Bono has even written a song dedicated to the Italian balcony performers.

Iranian dancing queens

Iran, the third hardest hit country after Italy, has also witnessed quarantined individuals singing and dancing. A popular song of choice has been “Ey Iran”, a patriotic song considered the de facto national anthem. The most heart-warming (and hilarious) has been the footage shared showing doctors and nurses dancing to boost morale.

Spanish sessions

Under quarantine, people in Seville, Spain, can be seen squatting and doing star-jumps on their balconies as a fitness instructor, wearing sportswear and sunglasses, motivates them from a platform below. The fitness instructor, who goes by the name of Gonzalo, can be seen lunging as he encourages those around him to exercise – an entertaining relief from isolation.

In addition to these incredible tales of creative collaboration, artists have started live streaming their shows and provided unprecedented digital access to fans. These include: Coldplay’s Chris Martin performing music for anyone wanting to tune in, Christine and the Queen’s livestream, Pink performing a free piano concert, and Diplo livestreaming a set from his house. If you are into electronic music, RA have kindly shared a list of tips and tricks for self-isolation and for classical music fans there is even a list here of classical music and opera to stream at home.

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Despite the curbs on individual freedom and the increasing loss of life, society is developing and building connections through creative pursuits, shared across the world through digital channels. It would be nice to think this collective creativity will stay with us as we move into whatever comes next for our society.

What impact might this spurt of creativity have on the future… Artists live streaming concerts in intimate settings? New forms of comedy driven by quarantine and isolation? New shared learning experiences e.g. guitar lessons with people across the world?

We certainly hope that this creativity and coming together will have lasting positive impact and we’ll be intrigued to see how this evolves.