Courtesy of the artists
Clockwise from upper left: Sufjan Stevens, Oumou Sangare, Sigur Ros, Alejandra Deheza of School For Seven Bells
Courtesy of the artists
Music can provide a space for healing, feeling and thought. Following the terrorist attacks in Paris, including at a show in that city's Bataclan concert hall, we were compelled to play music with a meditative tone, songs that allow space and time for reflection. A tune Bob Boilen found himself playing all weekend was by Hiya Wal Âalam, a band featuring members from Tunisia, Palestine and Sweden. It's culture-blending music and perfectly pensive. Robin Hilton's choice of a song by pianist Goldmund gave him some space for moments of solace as the news unfolded this weekend.
NPR Music writer Ann Powers calls in to talk about the inspiration behind her Twitter hashtag #livemusicheals. She remembers her own special live music moment with the uplifting Malian singer Oumou Sangaré and Robin shares his life-affirming experience at a Sufjan Stevens show. A song from Eagles of Death Metal closes our show with humor and heart, reminding us that even in tragedy, music can provide joy.
The band Hiya Wal Âalam is led by the the musician Houwaida, and its song, "Janna," is pensive and meditative, beginning with dissonant, somber piano and moving through Spanish guitar and Middle Eastern strings. The cultural richness of the song is a reflection of the Tunisian, Palestinian and Swedish members of the Hiya Wal Âalam, which includes Olof Dreijer of The Knife.
- from Worotan
- by Oumou Sangare
NPR Music's Ann Powers, inspired by the sacred space created by live music, started the Twitter hashtag #livemusicheals and invited others to share their concert stories. She was reminded of her own experience in 1997 at a show by Malian singer Oumou Sangare, during which the crowd was welcomed onto the stage to dance to the uplifting, liberating rhythms of "Baba," from her 1996 album Worotan.
Blue Bucket of Gold
- from Carrie & Lowell
- by Sufjan Stevens
"Blue Bucket of Gold," from Sufjan Stevens' Carrie & Lowell is Robin's own #livemusicheals moment from a show earlier this year at DAR Constitution Hall. Beautiful and life-affirming, the song begins simply and, after a moment of pause part way through, builds to its full expression.
Untitled (Track 4)
"Untitled (Track 4)," from Sigur Rós' 2002 album ( ), is a testament to the emotional power of music. Without intelligible lyrics the song is a blank slate, clean and ready for listeners to assign their own meaning.
- from Sometimes
- by Goldmund
Goldmund is the performance name for pianist Keith Kenniff. Over the years, his music has appeared in ads, in films and between stories on NPR's All Things Considered. While he also works with electronic music, Kenniff says he always returns to the piano to write his most meditative work and to find solace.
Nils Frahm is known for playing a prepared piano, recording songs that incorporate every creak and squeak the instrument makes while striking the notes. On this song Frahm performs a piece on one of the world's tallest pianos, an upright that stretches more than 12 feet high.
Open Your Eyes
- from SVIIB
- by School of Seven Bells
Last month, School Of Seven Bells announced it would be releasing its final album. SVIIB includes the final recordings singer Alejandra Deheza and Benjamin Curtis made together before Curtis died of cancer in 2013. He was just 35 years old. The band's final album includes this gorgeous, reflective cut with a powerful and positive message: You will fall in love again.
04I Love You All the Time
I Love You All the Time
- from Zipper Down [LP]
- by Eagles of Death Metal
Anyone who's a fan of Eagles Of Death Metal knows and loves the group for its infectious sense of humor, its warmth and playfulness. Our hearts go out to those touched by events at the Bataclan concert hall, including the members of the band, their fans and anyone feeling the loss of those killed during its performance in Paris.
Read an official statement from Eagles Of Death Metal about the attacks.