The Sit List: Sing, listen, make and express while on lockdown

This week, pump up that mood with some singing, listening, making and expressing.

Female African drummer
African Diasporic Rhythm and Song’s Day of the Ancestors Festival of Masks is on Aug. 8 1-2 p.m. on Zoom. Photo: Courtesy African Diasporic Rhythm and Song

This week, pump up that mood with some singing, listening, making, and expressing.

SONGS WHILE YOU WAIT Standing in line for basic necessities during the pandemic has become a dreaded reality. Demand has been high and queues have been lengthened. But a new pop-up performance series might ameliorate your boredom. Enter “Songs While You Wait,” a performance series featuring musicians of color. Guarded with face masks and standing at least six feet away from customers, musicians like Taifa Nia, Yiann, Jordan Jo and Yaadi Erica will entertain and serenade you while you wait. They’ll visit Berkeley Patients Group, Acme Bread, Tokyo Fish Market and Mi Tierra Foods during the month of August. Join into a tune while you wait. Taifa Nia on Friday, Aug. 7 at 5:30 p.m. at Berkeley Patients Group.

WOMEN’S SING This quarantine has been especially tough on women and mothers who find themselves taking on more domestic duties than ever before. Need an outlet? Consider joining this women’s singing circle hosted on Zoom by Sisters in Harmony, a women’s vocal group. You’ll sing feel-good rhythms that uplift and ignite you, encourage and cultivate you. The women of Sisters in Harmony were planning on a live retreat in Santa Cruz but had to change their plans, like so many others, because of the virus. They’ll transform the intended retreat into a digital showcase, putting together a virtual sampler of song leaders who were going to perform at the event. Channel your energy, prep your vocal cords, and exhale a beautiful song. Saturday, August 8 at 3 pm. Free.

OPEN MIC Suspended are those crowded events where strangers would perch themselves at the front of the crowd, prepared to share their cherished talents with the room. However, open mic culture is still alive…digitally, of course. Do you have a poem, song or other work that you want to share? Join the SpeakOut Open Mic series, which runs every Friday. The open mics are hosted by Bisi Obateru, a soul musician originally from Nigeria who fuses Afroindie, R&B, Soul, and Pop music. This week’s theme is chaos, which is no stranger in these times. So suit up and be brave, bold, and fearless with your audience. Upcoming events are on Thursday, Aug. 6 and Thursday, August 13, 6-7:30 p.m.. Free but donations are appreciated.


AFRICAN DRUMS Embracing other cultures is part of our call to duty in these times of racial strife. The Day of the Ancestors: Festival of the Masks, (pictured, top) an event that celebrates African ancestors and culture, is coming up at the end of August. Originally a live event in LA, the festival will take its programming online this year and reach a wider audience than ever before. For this event that kicks off the series that leads to the festival itself, you’ll be taught how to practice and play percussion instruments using household objects. Immerse yourself in the music and you’ll experience the healing vibrations from the African Continent and Diaspora. Saturday, Aug. 8, 1-2 p.m. on Zoom.

COVID KARAOKE If an open mic and a women’s sing aren’t exactly what you are looking for, consider joining this recurring Quarantine Karaoke session that runs every Saturday. Hosted by Filharmonic, a men’s a cappella group from Los Angeles, you can participate in the karaoke from various digital mediums like Facebook, YouTube and Zoom. Sing in any genre you want and you can decide whether you want to perform live or share an existing YouTube video. Quiet those nerves — quarantine karaoke is a safe place — and sing your heart out. Every Saturday. Next event is Aug. 8, 9-11 .p.m.