Singers in the DR: They saved bread for May, but they know that the music business will change
Santo Domingo, DR
The reopening of bars, cinemas, discos, and performances, is still three months away. It would be from August 24, as established by the High-Level Commission, that artistic activity will be restored, as long as there has been no setback in the fight against the Covid-19 coronavirus and parishioners submit to the rules of the established social distancing.
Meanwhile, art workers have seen all productive activities paralyzed, and their income totally diminished. Only the most organized have been able to stay afloat.
Singers, band owners, musical project owners, and song performers have not suffered the ravages of quarantine like others on a lower level. For a part of them, productivity continues. The economic organization before the coronavirus has allowed many artists to develop a good lifestyle and not succumb to the unexpected arrival of the pandemic.
Johanna Almánzar is an artist known in the country for bohemian music consumers, visitors to bars, and performance venues. With more than 20 years in music, she has developed a stable career, with which she has managed to ensure the economic life of her family.
Johanna is accompanied by a team, sometimes up to 10 people, and had presentations every day, sometimes up to three per night.
This interpreter was not financially caught out by quarantine. The fruits of her work allowed her to take shelter and wait until the musical performances returned to normal.
“Everyone knows that when you organize any situation that comes, it is easier to deal with it. I have always said that respect for the public, dedication, and discipline, together with talent, are the bases that promote a good artist, and that has been essential in my career. If today we have not suffered too much from the ravages of quarantine, it is because we have been disciplined and have prepared ourselves for the future,” said the artist from La Vega.
With the reopening, Johanna is aware of the changes to come. She knows that the establishments will have to accommodate a smaller public and that, therefore, she will also be forced to reduce her workforce.
Although from August 24, the entertainment would return to the scene, that reality that is coming is not encouraging. Salsa, bachata, and merengue will see their presentations diminished until the economy improves.
However, Elvis Martínez is optimistic. The bachatero assures that everything will be restored, despite the trauma that the coronavirus could cause in many families.
“It will be a little complicated for the world to return to normal, but all these years, the joy that music has brought has been part of life itself, and it is difficult to live without the motivation that music generates in us,” said the artist.
Elvis had a planned tour for Europe, Miami, San Martin, and Curaçao, which are postponed until further notice.
“Now, the important thing is to take care of my family, and that is why I am here. We have continued to collaborate with our musicians financially, and thank God we have led an organized life, and we have not suffered from this precarity,” he said.
The salsa market also faces a new challenge. Sexappeal understands that presentations and new ways of carrying out work will have to be reinvented.
“Because for everything to be restored, we will all have to sacrifice something, from the owners of establishments, clubs, entrepreneurs, artists, we will all have to walk in the same direction,” said the salsa player.
For Ramón Orlando, it has not been different: “The groups from Merengue will also suffer the attacks of this crisis.”
“In the house of the righteous there will be no lack of bread, says the Bible,” Frank Ceara explains when he tells us about his particular situation experienced in quarantine. Like everyone, his plans have had to wait for new dates: a theatrical comedy, a concert, and the release of a new album.
“Although music in times of crisis is not a necessity per se, it has been vital in these confined days, since music causes a lot of psychological upheaval within the human being. In some way, we have communicated by encouraging people. We have to get up from the crisis on the positive side; we are going to reinvent ourselves, and very soon we are going to meet again with the public,” said Ceara, who said he is confident that the art business will resume its course.