Many of us – my family and yours – are confined to our homes, the most familiar places in the world to us, yet together we occupy strange new terrain. It is hard to keep fear at bay, easy to slump. And in my grief over what has been lost – compounded in the US by a corrupt and feckless administration – I’ve been thinking about jazz funerals, the New Orleans tradition of sending off the beloved. Brass bands play alongside mourners, marching slowly through the streets until the rolling solemnity of a dirge – a goodbye of great dignity – curls like a wave and breaks. A new song begins: spirited, rousing, joyful. The music swings, the people dance. A whole community joins the afflicted to celebrate life.

One of my own losses this year is Jazzfest, the New Orleans festival I’ve gone to nearly every year of my life, and so I’m recreating some of my favorite lineups at home. Today’s playlist:

Get You A Healin’ with Allen Toussaint, Irma Thomas, and Tommy Malone

Big Sam’s Funky Nation playing Who’s Gonna Help Brother Get Further

Do Whatcha Wanna by Rebirth Brass Band

Hey Pocky Way from The Meters

Who’s Gonna Help Brother Get Further, Big Sam’s Funky Nation.

Hey Hey by the Wild Tchoupitoulas

Davell Crawford singing Gather By The River

Trombone Shorty’s cover of On Your Way Back Down

Dr John’s Good Night, Irene

Lowell George singing What Do You Want the Girl To Do

Gather By The River, Davell Crawford.

When the Mardi Gras is Over by Marcia Ball

Brother John / Iko Iko by the Neville Brothers

When the Saints Go Marchin’ In by Preservation Hall Jazz Band

Fortunate Son by the New Orleans Social Club, a super-group featuring Henry Butler, George Porter Jr, Leo Nocentelli, Raymond Weber, and Ivan Neville

Brother John / Iko Iko, Neville Brothers.

Irma Thomas’s gospel treasure, Hold to God’s Unchanging Hand

We Are the People by Allen Toussaint

Going Back to Louisiana by Davell Crawford and Dr John

We Are the People, Allen Toussaint.

Every one of these songs seems to mean something more in this moment. There are the voices of those we have lost – Allen Toussaint, Charles Neville, Art Neville, Henry Butler, Lowell George, and Dr John – still able to sustain us. There is the searing anger in Ivan Neville’s cover of Fortunate Son about what the poor suffer in times of crisis. There is the reminder of what distancing might mean for those who make a living playing to audiences. There is the joy of collaboration, the call for healing, the momentum of music that gets people moving, urging us forward too.

And what a beautiful hope, to gather by a river. May it come true for all my friends in New Orleans, whose culture of community and open-hearted welcome have put their people at risk… May it come true for us all.

Ivan Neville’s cover of Credence Clearwater Revival’s Fortunate Son.

Nalini Jones is the author of What You Call Winter.

Read the other articles in the Art of Solitude series here.