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Stay Homas: How lockdown brought stardom to three play-at-home musicians in Spain

When the epidemic hit, they were just three musicians stuck at home who started larking around on their terrace with a guitar and a bin in the hope of livening up lockdown.

Stay Homas: How lockdown brought stardom to three play-at-home musicians in Spain
(L-R) Rai, Klaus and Guillem of the Stay Homas music group perform on the terrace of the trio's apartment in Barcelona. Photos: Lluis Gene/ AFP

But two months and 27 songs later, the Barcelona trio has become a rooftop sensation, their catchy tunes in a mix of Spanish, Catalan and English winning them an impressive following online — and a contract with Sony.

Known as the “Stay Homas”, Klaus, Rai and Guillem now have 400,000 followers on Instagram, Michael Buble has covered one of their songs and they have collaborated with Manu Chao and Pablo Alborán.

And their first album will be out this autumn.   

“Not in a hundred lifetimes would I have ever believed this was going to happen to us. That Sony would come knocking because they like the songs we make on our rooftop with a guitar and a metal rubbish bin,” Guillem Bolto, 25, (pictured above) told AFP at their flat.

“It's completely incredible.”   

Since the start of the year, the three have shared an attic flat in Barcelona whose hallway is now full of beers and freebies sent in by brands whose products appear in their videos.

They play in two local bands: Bolto sings and plays trombone in one, while Klaus Stroink, 25, plays trumpet in another with 28-year-old bass player Rai Benet.

But they never wrote anything together until the March 14th lockdown when they found themselves at a loose end while having a beer in the sun on the roof in Barcelona's Ensanche neighbourhood.

“Rai started playing bossanova-style and mucking around and we started to put together a song which we recorded and put online,” explains Bolto sitting on the terrace next to pots of cacti.

It was a hit, so the next day they recorded another called “Stay Homa” which they took as their name. Another followed and then another. 

'Please stay homa, don't want corona'

At first, they were recording every day in what they named their “Confination Songs”.

“It was out of our hands pretty quickly because people were more and more enthusiastic which really motivated us. Suddenly it just exploded,” Bolto said.

And over the past two months, they've touched on everything from reggae to folk, flamenco to trap, always in a lighthearted manner and with a sense of humour.

“Please stay homa (please stay home), don't want the corona (please stay home), Oh God please stay homa (please stay home) It's ok to be alona,” they lyricise in the track from which they took their name.

The idea was to “give a sort of positive message which says OK, this is a shitty situation but let's try and find some good in it,” says Stroink.

With all the restrictions, it has been a barebones project, they say, making music “on the cheap” with whatever was lying around the house — a cardboard box, an empty gin bottle, a metal wastepaper bin, a spatula.

“Very little has been planned in this project,” admits Stroink, pictured playing a trombone above.   

“We're using a bin because we don't have drums, if we had drums we'd play them. For the first three weeks we only had one drumstick.” 

100,000 followers in a week

Their tunes have drawn many collaborators who record themselves at home — then send their video which is shown on a mobile phone as the trio performs their latest song.

Even so, it took them a while to set up a website and a social media profile — because they worried they wouldn't have any followers.    

“Within a week, we had more than 100,000 followers — 100,000!” chuckles Benet (pictured with a guitar, above).

But it's a bitter-sweet feeling, coming at a bad moment for the music industry with so many people out of work. 

And the sudden fame is “a bit overwhelming”, Stroink says.    

“I'm doing just fine with my friends, with my people and I don't want that to change.

By AFP's Daniel Bosque

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COVID-19 RULES

What are Spain’s current rules for asymptomatic and mild Covid cases?

Spain is currently experiencing an eighth Covid wave. For those who test positive during the summer of 2022, here's a reminder of all the rules and recommendations you need to be aware of, concerning asymptomatic, mild and serious cases.

What are Spain's current rules for asymptomatic and mild Covid cases?

No one wants to get Covid, particularly when the summer season is approaching and many have booked their annual holidays.

But if you do find that you test positive for Covid-19, here’s what you need to know about Spain’s current health rules. 

Whatever questions you have, from wanting to know if you still need to get an official test or inform your doctor, to whether you can go outside and if you need to wear a face mask, we’ve got you covered. 

Q: What if I get Covid but don’t have any symptoms?

A: If you are asymptomatic, in other words you test positive for Covid-19 but don’t experience any symptoms, then it’s not necessary to self-isolate and you are not required to quarantine at home.

Spain’s quarantine requirement for asymptomatic cases was dropped as of March 28th 2022.

However, the health body that advises Spain’s Health Ministry recommends that you still stay at home and rest and that if you do go out, you wear a mask indoors and outdoors, and that you keep social contact to a minimum for a week. 

Q: What if I have mild Covid symptoms?

A: If you have mild Covid symptoms, you fall into the same category as those who have no symptoms for Spanish health authorities.

This means that while it’s not mandatory to isolate at home, you should still rest, wear a mask indoors and outdoors and avoid social contact.

The obligatory quarantine for mild cases was also scrapped as of March 28th, 2022.

Q: What if I have severe Covid symptoms?

A: If you have serious Covid symptoms, Spain’s Health Ministry continues to require a quarantine period of seven days, meaning that it’s mandatory.

It is also still required for those classified as part of the high-risk or vulnerable population, which includes those aged 60 or older, immunosuppressed people and pregnant women. 

Q: Am I allowed to go outside if I have Covid?

A: Yes, as mentioned above, if you have mild or asymptomatic symptoms you are allowed to go outside while you have Covid. However, you should limit your contact with others for a week to make sure you’re not putting others at risk. You should aim to stay at home as much as possible until your symptoms disappear.

Keep in mind that you are highly contagious in the first few days of the illness, so you may want to avoid going out during that time.

Q: Can I go to events if I have Covid-19?

A: Yes, you can leave the house if you have Covid-19, but as you’re expected to limit your contact with others, going to a large event with hundreds of people is not recommended. You could unknowingly be putting vulnerable people at risk. Health authorities still recommend that you avoid gatherings for at least a week after a positive test. 

Q: Do I need to wear a mask if I test positive?

A: The Spanish Health Ministry has confirmed that those who have Covid must wear a mask for “ten days from the diagnosis” of the virus.

They should be worn indoors, as well as outdoors, if a distance can’t be maintained from others. Experts recommend using the FFP2 masks during this time because even if your symptoms are mild, you can still be contagious.

READ ALSO: How likely is it that Spain will make face masks mandatory indoors again?

Q: Can I go to work if I have Covid-19?

A: If you have mild or asymptomatic Covid-19, although the recommendation is to work from home or take sick leave, you can still go in.

However, the health authorities recommend that you wear a mask, avoid contact with vulnerable people and avoid enclosed spaces with little ventilation.

Q: Is it necessary to get officially tested?

A: No, it’s not necessary to get a PCR or antigen done at your local health centre or at a private clinic any more. An antigen test bought from a pharmacy and performed at home will suffice.

Only those with serious symptoms and high-risk groups should get tested now. Although you it’s not necessary anymore to confirm your infection with a test, it’s still useful to test yourself at home so you can avoid contact with others if it’s positive and know when you can get back to life as normal.

Q: Do I have to tell my doctor if I have or have recently had Covid?

A: No, it’s not necessary for everyone to call their doctor if they have Covid, because not all cases are being counted by authorities anymore.

You may, however, still need to call your doctor if you need to sick leave from work. Those in Catalonia will be given an automatic five-day sick leave if they have Covid symptoms, even if they don’t take a test.  

If you are over the age of 60, are immunosuppressed or are in a high risk group, it’s still a good idea to tell your doctor if you test positive.

Q: What do I do if I have come into close contact with someone who has Covid-19?

A: If you have come into contact with someone who has tested positive for Covid, it’s not necessary for you to take a test or to self-isolate.

The health authorities do recommend that you take precautions though, such as limiting social interactions, wearing a mask and avoid vulnerable people.

Remember that the days before you test positive, but after you have been exposed to the virus are when you are the most contagious. 

Q: What if I get Covid while on holiday in Spain?

A: If you have a mild or asymptomatic case of Covid-19 while on holiday in Spain, you don’t have to quarantine and you don’t have to inform the local health authorities, unless you are in a vulnerable category.

Like above, Spain’s Health Ministry only recommends that you stay at home and rest, that if you do have to go out you wear a mask indoors and outdoors, and that you keep social contact to a minimum for a week.

Different countries have different rules so you may not be able to travel home if you have Covid and may have to wait until you test negative.

READ MORE: What tourists should do if they get Covid while on holiday in Spain? 

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