Lourdes Garcia-Navarro

When cases of the coronavirus spiked in March, doctors and nurses across the country found themselves overwhelmed with work. The shutdown also took away an important creative outlet for a special breed of medical professional: classical musicians. That's why John Masko, a symphony conductor in Boston, founded the National Virtual Medical Orchestra, giving those in the medical field a chance to perform and connect with each other.

"I kept hearing from musician after musician from our ensemble [about] how much they wish they were playing," Masko says.

Koko Kondo was 8 months old and with her mother when the first atomic bomb hit her home city of Hiroshima on Aug. 6, 1945. Her father, Methodist minister the Rev. Kiyoshi Tanimoto, had left earlier that morning.

"Suddenly, the whole house crashed," Kondo recounts. She was trapped beneath the rubble with her mother.

Humans have never been particularly good at eradicating entire viruses, and COVID-19 might not be any different.

So many of us do it: You get into bed, turn off the lights, and look at your phone to check Twitter one more time.

You see that coronavirus infections are up. Maybe your kids can't go back to school. The economy is cratering.

Still, you incessantly scroll though bottomless doom-and-gloom news for hours as you sink into a pool of despair.

As the number of new coronavirus cases spikes in several states across the U.S., governors, county officials and business owners have been crafting laws and guidelines that mandate the use of face masks to help prevent the spread of the virus.

But even a simple cloth face covering has become political.

When Beyoncé deems your music "flawless," you know you've probably made it. That's more or less what happened to the sister R&B duo, Chloe x Halle, when they passed their latest album, Ungodly Hour, to Beyoncé for feedback.

"We love Beyoncé so much and we value her opinion so very much, so whenever we can get her feedback on something, it's very much appreciated," Halle Bailey says. "But for this album, we only heard positive things and that she loved it. So that really made us happy and feel proud."

Zeshan Bagewadi is in many ways, a classic soul singer. As Zeshan B, he channels the music of Sam Cooke, Marvin Gaye and Otis Redding. His signature, though, is combining that classic soul sound with lyrics that pay tribute to his South Asian roots. On his latest album, Melismatic, his first collection of entirely original compositions, he sings in both English and Urdu.

The first sign that something was wrong came with stomach pains. It was April 30, and 9-year-old Kyree McBride wasn't feeling well.

His mother, Tammie Hairston, thought it might have been something that he ate. But soon, young McBride was battling a 102-degree fever.

Worried he may have contracted the coronavirus, Hairston took her son to the hospital. "It was a quick in and out of the emergency room," she said. Doctors told her to take him home and monitor him.

Alt.Latino host Felix Contreras joins Weekend Edition host Lulu Garcia-Navarro for their monthly new music chat. The tracks featured this week come from several corners of the Latin music world and all center on themes of inspiration and emotional release, which Felix says is exactly what we need during these difficult times. Listen to the conversation in the audio player above and check out all of the tracks below.

On her latest EP, Noah Cyrus wants you to know that you're not alone in feeling alone. Blending the spirit of classic country music with the sensibilities of today's pop, it's called The End of Everything — which feels like a good title for this moment.

Noah comes from quite the musical family, but now, with songs like "July" and "I Got So High That I Saw Jesus," she's finding her own voice.

Pages