By Gaige Davila
Jen Mulhern started her Jenuine Cello solo project on her porch when she moved to South Padre Island at the beginning of 2017, performing on Facebook Live to build a local audience.
From there, Mulhern played regularly on the Island and in Brownsville and Harlingen, whether at Painted Marlin, Dodici, Carlito’s Wine House, Half Moon Saloon or at Laguna Bob’s, where she played her last live show on March 18.
On March 19, Texas Governor Greg Abbott ordered all dining rooms and bars closed statewide, in an effort to stop the spread of novel coronavirus COVID-19.
Before then, Mulhern was performing four to six times a week, between regular gigs and private events. With bars, restaurants and venues closed across Texas since mid-March, Mulhern is back on Facebook Live, performing again from her porch to thousands of virtual viewers.
As of this article’s printing, she’s done four Facebook Live shows, finding the platform to be the most accessible for viewers. Each week is a new theme, like “Just Breathe,” “Laughter,” and the most recent, “Let it Grow.”
Mulhern plays multiple instruments during her performances, namely the cello, and uses a LoopSation to allow simultaneous playing, going from one instrument to another. Though she played more classical music in Austin, often with bands and with large classes of students, Mulhern performs renditions of songs from The Cure, Prince, Gnarls Barkley, The Animals and back to the classical with Bach, to name a few.
COVID-19’s spread is not as present here as it is in Austin, something Mulhern has thought about since the coronavirus’ spread throughout Texas began.
“It makes me appreciative living in an area that’s less dense, because Austin was an extremely crowded city,” Mulhern said. “(The Island) being a little more sparsely populated, I’m not encountering the same shortages at the grocery stores and I’m not going out of my way to not interact with people.”
The COVID-19 pandemic has allowed Mulhern, through her shows, to show the function of music and art, she says.
“It’s necessary when, in times like this, when people are cut off from all distractions and they are left with themselves,” Mulhern said. “I think that’s when music really kicks in and serves a purpose for everybody who’s able to connect with it, because it keeps us from going stir crazy.”
To watch Mulhern’s live shows, visit the Jenuine Cello Facebook page (@jenuinecello).
Editor’s note: The PRESS/NEWS is trying to feature local artists continuing to create and or perform amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Know an artist doing so? Let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com