COVID-19 and British Jazz Musicians

From Preliminal to a Postliminal World


  • Elina Hytönen-Ng University of Eastern Finland



jazz, COVID-19, live music, musicians, lockdown


Jazz is a genre that relies heavily on live performance. It is therefore understandable that the COVID-19 related lockdown greatly affected jazz musicians. In this article, I reflect on London-based jazz musicians’ stories by using the idea of “liminal state”, as conceptualized by Arnold van Gennep (1960) and Victor Turner (1982), examining how they described the lockdown, in particular the financial and emotional impacts it had on them. Between spring 2020 and spring 2021, ten structured theme interviews with jazz musicians were conducted. The article commences by overviewing the data gathered and the ethical procedures adopted, after which I examine the overall emotional and psychological effects that COVID-19 had on jazz musicians who participate in live music. After reflecting on the support that the musicians have received during the pandemic, the article proceeds to outline the new skills that the musicians learned during lockdown.

Author Biography

Elina Hytönen-Ng, University of Eastern Finland

Dr Elina Hytönen-Ng is an ethnomusicologist and a cultural researcher. She did her PhD in 2010 on jazz musicians’ flow experiences that was later published as a book (Hytönen-Ng 2013). Between 2011–2013 she worked on a three-year Place of Jazz project on performance venues in the contemporary British jazz scene (Hytönen-Ng 2017). Since then, she has been working as a university researcher at the University of Eastern Finland and as a lecturer in musicology at the University of Turku.


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How to Cite

Hytönen-Ng, E. . (2022). COVID-19 and British Jazz Musicians: From Preliminal to a Postliminal World. Journal of World Popular Music, 9(1-2), 197–216.

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