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Musical Duo's Bookings Disappear During COVID-19 Pandemic

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

We've been bringing you the stories of people, families whose livelihoods have been turned upside down because of this pandemic. It's affecting all walks of life - all kinds of industries.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "CLAVELES")

CASCADA DE FLORES: (Singing in Spanish).

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

That's the music of Arwen Lawrence and Jorge Liceaga. They make a living playing the music of Mexico, performing in schools and libraries in San Francisco. They are constantly interacting with young people in the Bay Area.

ARWEN LAWRENCE: Jorge tends to be the funny man and I, the straight woman (laughter). He has this old humor that is just beautiful and clean and really fun for even little kids of today.

GREENE: Of course, all those schools and libraries they depend on are closed right now. The duo, who are known as Cascada de Flores, had about 70 appearances booked over the next couple months.

LAWRENCE: And they're all being canceled. This is over 50% of our income for two people for the year. So we are scrambling, starting from zero. This is the only way that we were making any money at this time.

MARTIN: Arwen says the couple had hoped to expand into other ventures this year and beyond.

LAWRENCE: We have big plans for the future, to record a CD of our own music and to record Jorge's songs and to create a book of our story for children. But those will have to be put on hold, so it's a very, very scary time for us.

MARTIN: But these are artists. They are naturally creative, and they have come up with some creative solutions.

GREENE: That's right. Jorge says they've devised this online curriculum, but it has been challenging.

JORGE LICEAGA: It's a new form to learn how to do it. And sometimes I hear - oh, I don't see you. Oh, now I can hear you. Like...

(LAUGHTER)

LICEAGA: Yeah, it's a new step for us to learn how to manage this life...

LAWRENCE: Yeah.

LICEAGA: ...In this moment.

GREENE: Arwen has been taken aback by the response that they have been getting.

LAWRENCE: The kids' reactions have just been so heartwarming for us. It's - the reaction has just been lovely, and it's really helped us be joyful through this time.

MARTIN: Arwen Lawrence and Jorge Liceaga, who make up the Mexican musical duo Cascada de Flores, making the most of uncertain economic times.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

CASCADA DE FLORES: (Singing in Spanish). Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.