One of the biggest blessings of PLA was the free performance of Natalie Merchant on Wednesday afternoon. She and her band were there to perform selections from her upcoming album Leave Your Sleep. All of the songs on the album are adapted from published poets from the 1800s to the early 2000s. Though I am a librarian, I have never had too much use for poetry and thinking about poetry used to give me unpleasant flashbacks to high school.
Now thinking about poetry will have me thinking about the album, which I intend to buy soon after its release. That is not a PLA endorsement, just some fanboy talk.
The album is considered literary enough that she was asked to present on her album to TED 2010. Many of the TED talks are available online, but Ms Merchant’s wasn’t among them. I did find a listing of lyrics from some of her songs on the TED blog at http://blog.ted.com/2010/02/the_sleepy_gian.php. If you visit her website, you can watch and listen to some of the album’s songs at http://www.nataliemerchant.com/p/leave-your-sleep.Her performance at PLA included some songs not available in video from her web site.
I have been a Natalie Merchant fan since my grad school days back in the mid 1990s, but I’ve never seen her in concert before. I think she was just amazing. You get the feeling that she deeply loves her music and her every move just flows and adds to the music. She also poked fun at herself at times and got good laughs. Before each song she’d talk about the poet whose work she adapted. She took note of when poet photos came from a library collection.
After her last song she got a much deserved standing ovation. After a minute or so she surprised us with an encore prefaced with stories about her love for libraries. She told the audience that she spent her childhood at the library. So much so that “If you wanted to find me, you came to the library.” She also said her local library was where she discovered folk music. With that, she said she wanted to thank us all and broke into a rendition of Kind and Generous. During her rendition, she left the stage and shook hands with what seemed to me about four or five dozen librarians. I wasn’t in that number, but I was awed by such a display of gratitude.
Thank YOU Natalie!
If you attended the performance, I’d love for you to leave a comment!