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Curious City Musicians Pandemic

Top left: D2x courtesy of the artist. Top right: Sones de Mexico Ensemble by Henry Fajardo. Bottom left: Maxwell Street Klezmer Band by David Sutton Studios. Bottom right: Ohmme by Ash Dye.

LISTEN: A Reopening Playlist Curated By Chicago Musicians

Earlier this year, Curious City did a story about some of the best ways to support local businesses during the pandemic.

In response, we heard from musician Lori Lippitz, who said she felt like Chicago artists like her were being overlooked.

“The pandemic has been unprecedented, obviously, for everyone from all walks of life,” Lippitz said. “But I don't think there's ever been a time where there's been a complete and total cessation of all gatherings. And gatherings are the lifeblood of musicians."

With music venues closed and events postponed or canceled, musicians — along with their tour managers, sound engineers, techs and other crew members whose work revolves around live music performances — have had it extremely tough over the last 15 months.

Lippitz, who started the Maxwell Street Klezmer Band in 1983, said she knows a lot of artists who had to dip into their savings or take other jobs to survive.

Beyond the financial burden, there’s also been the creative challenge of not being able to practice in the same space with bandmates, said Lippitz.

Musicians across Chicago told us they’re anticipating the full reopening on June 11 with a mixture of nervousness, excitement and hope.

So we asked members of Ohmme, D2x, Sones de Mexico Ensemble and the Maxwell Street Klezmer Band to each share three songs to listen to as Chicago music venues get ready to open their doors to full capacity crowds. Check out the songs they shared in our playlist.

Joe DeCeault is a senior producer of podcasts for WBEZ. Follow him on Twitter @joedeceault. Additional reporting for this story came from Steven Jackson. Follow Steven on Twitter @jeven_stackson.

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