Bon Iver's 'Holocene': A Perfect Song To Write To

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Andy Marra writes passionate essays about her experiences as a transgender woman. For the regular segment 'In Your Ear,' she shares some of the jams that help get her thoughts on paper.


Now we're going to hear from Andy Marra - a transgender activist who writes about different kind of freedom - freedom from wondering about her roots and fear of not being accepted. She spoke to us about finding her birth mother in Korea after coming out as transgender. For a regular segment we call In Your Ear, she shared some of the songs that helped her write that story.

ANDY MARRA: My name is Andy Marra and I am listening to "Lullabies" by Yuna.


YUNA: (Singing) I wanted to go away with you.

MARRA: She's a Malaysian artist and she was discovered and brought the states.


YUNA: (Singing) And I will leave all my troubles here.

MARRA: Her vocals are so dreamy and beautiful. And her voice is very clear and I love falling asleep to the sound of her music and to the sound of her voice. It puts me into a nice relaxing state that lets me fall asleep.


YUNA: (Singing) Like lullabies you are forever in my mind. I see you and I, the pieces in my life. Though you weren't mine. Like lullabies you are forever in my mind. I see you and I, the pieces in my life.

MARRA: Another song I'm listening to is "Holocene" by Bon Iver.


BON IVER: (Singing) Someway, baby, it's part of me, apart from me. You're laying waste to Halloween. You [bleep] it friend, it's on its head. It struck the street.

MARRA: That's a perfect song to write to. I particularly like to write to that song when I'm in front of a fireplace and it's quiet outside and it's night out. So it's a wonderful song to write to.


BON IVER: (Singing) and at once I knew I was not magnificent. Strayed above the highway aisle, Jagged vacance, thick with ice...

MARRA: Another song I really love is "Go Do" by Jonsi.


JONSI: (Singing) Go sing, too loud. Make your voice break - sing it out. Go scream, do shout. Make an earthquake. You've all wished fire would die and turn colder.

MARRA: It's a wonderfully happy and exuberant song. It has a lot of pep and it reminds me of the fall of 2010 when I found my family in Korea and I was able to begin building a relationship with them. So it has a lot of great memories, and it's very motivational for me when I am feeling down.


JONSI: (Singing) Go drum, do proud. Make your hands ache - play it out.

MARRA: Another song I really, really love is the "The Lark Ascending" By Vaughan Williams. It's more of a classical piece but again it's a wonderful song to write to, especially when you're feeling reflective and introspective, if you will.


MARRA: I love playing the piece when I am sitting down, when it's raining outside and writing more thoughtful, meaningful pieces.

MARTIN: That was Andy Marra telling us what's playing in her ear. If you want to listen to our previous conversation, just head to And that's our program for today. I'm Michel Martin, and you've been listening to TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Let's talk more tomorrow.

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