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Marco Werman: We've been sharing a lot of stories about the power of music during the pandemic: people serenading health care workers from balconies, DJs spinning some cool comfort, average Joes turning into overnight sensations on the Web with catchy tunes about hand washing.
In Spain, three musicians were stuck together and locked down with a few instruments and kitchen appliances. Lucía Benevides reports from Barcelona that their coronavirus songs have sprung them from relative obscurity.
Benavides: With the reggae-like song, "Please Stay Home," urging people to stay home, three roommates in Barcelona became an overnight sensation. The song, with lyrics in English and Catalan, was posted on Instagram on March 15th, just one day after the Spanish government announced a state of emergency and put people on lockdown. Within hours, the song had thousands of views.
Now it's approaching half a million. And people kept asking for more, says one of the members, Rai Benet.
Benet says he and his two roommates, Klaus Stroink and Guilem Boltó, wrote these songs to pass the time, at first. They were already playing separately in other bands. But when the coronavirus crisis hit, they were left without gigs and stuck inside together. Within a week, the trio had a name for their new band, Stay Homas, as well as their own Instagram and YouTube channels.
Now, after six weeks and two dozen songs in a wide variety of musical genres, they have hundreds of thousands of followers from across the world, a new record contract with Sony and a sponsorship from a Spanish beer company. The three young guys record all their songs from their balcony, in sunshine or rain. Benet plays guitar, Boltó plays the drums on a bucket, or a box, or various household items, and Stroink adds to the percussion with his hands, a frying pan lid or even by beating a spatula against a beer bottle.
The trio posts an original song roughly every other day, sometimes doing collaborations with other artists through videos. Boltó says they want their lyrics to be socially conscious. Their goal is to use humor to make people reflect. They talk about life under quarantine, missing a loved one, taking care of the community. Even Michael Bublé has covered one of their songs. Klaus Stroink says their experience with Bublé pushed them to copyright their songs — lesson learned.
It's been an unexpected, fun ride for the guys, but they'd trade their sudden fame for getting back to life. For them, that means playing live shows again. Guillem Boltó says that when they do their weekly Instagram live, it's a strange feeling to finish playing a song and hear nearly no response. "Sometimes all we can hear are three claps from our neighbors," he says, "and it seems like a joke."
They say their newfound fame still doesn't feel completely real, since it's all been happening through screens. But with the gradual easing of lockdown in the coming weeks, the three bandmates are already looking towards what will come after. Boltó says the plan is to continue writing songs as Stay Homas, though the lyrics will likely change. They already have a sold out show at a big, famous Barcelona venue this July, assuming people can gather in crowds by then.
Before that, though, the trio say they want to take a quick break from all the madness and see their friends and families.