Thus far, 2021 has not acted as a welcome reset button, as many Americans hoped it would. COVID-19 and its impact continues to disrupt myriad ways of life, and the livelihoods of millions of Americans remain at a months-long pause.
While music and entertainment workers have frequently taken center stage when discussing pandemic-related unemployment, food service and hospitality workers are also facing alarming rates of furloughs and layoffs, even into 2021.
To support out-of-work hotel, food service, gaming, and airport workers, UNITE HERE Local 26 has released Songs of Solidarity, a 23-track compilation of music from Boston and Providence artists. All proceeds from Songs of Solidarity sales will benefit members of the union, which consists of roughly 12,000 Boston and Rhode Island food service and hospitality workers. Due to mandatory closures during the COVID-19 pandemic, about 90 percent of the union’s members are still unable to work, making it increasingly difficult for them to provide for themselves and their families.
Providence musician Joey La Neve DeFrancesco created and shared the compilation in December 2020, which available exclusively through Bandcamp. As of December 25, 2020 — four days after the compilation’s release –album sales had already raised $1,100 for the union’s emergency relief fund.
Songs of Solidarity features music from artists such as Anjimile, Sad13, Ed Balloon (pictured above), Evan Greer, What Cheer? Brigade, and NOVA ONE. An unreleased tune from Krill also makes an appearance on the album, as well as songs from Downtown Boys and La Neve, two musical projects of DeFrancesco.