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Music to Grieve To
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Charlotte and I spent time together.

Not the type of time you spend with family, classmates or colleagues - the time we spent together was from choice.

I added it up - just for fun - turns out that over the years - we spent more than 2,000 hours talking with each other...

We spent that time to build one of the first internet based advocacy communities - changing the lives of tens of thousands of people and developing a model that is still used by organizations today. We subsequently worked together to promote the positive power of music and she was instrumental in the development of a global online community that actively works to put more music out into the world.

Charlotte was amazing.

We met 17 years ago at a board meeting in New Orleans for the Ehlers-Danlos National Foundation. After dinner, when everyone was heading out to the French Quarter, people told her that she should probably stay in the hotel as it probably wasn’t safe and certainly not suitable for a lady in a wheelchair.

One of my abiding memories is standing next to Charlotte at two in the morning on Royal street, both of us nursing Hurricanes, while the mounted police broke up a street brawl not five feet from her chair. She was fearless, and I knew right then we were going to become firm friends.

We never really discussed her Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome - to us it was just a thing that was there - that had to be dealt with - like cutting the grass or getting the groceries - when the bill came due she would pay for it in painkillers, in breathing tubes, in hospital visits and bruises. Instead we would talk about life - about what it could be - about how we could change it and how we would do that.

Charlotte loved life - loved being alive - she was determined - absolutely determined - to get everything she could out of it. She was a force of nature, wrapped in a tiny body and powered by a 12 volt chair battery. She changed thousands of people’s lives for the better, she changed my life and I will be eternally grateful for her friendship, and her time.

Godspeed Charlotte.

 The Amazing Charlotte Mecum.
 

 

It may seem strange that after all the music Charlotte and I worked on together I end up choosing someone else’s track - but - that was the beauty of working with her - she was always interested in learning something new - in hearing something different.

I adore this track from Cassie To - it’s just the kind of thing I might have written - if I was lucky - and it fits my mood perfectly. Here’s what Cassie had to say when she submitted the track:

‘Departures’ is my tribute to my grandfathers life. I composed this piece the day he passed. To me the piece has a lot of sadness and grief, but also an element of celebration and bitter sweetness to it as I pay tribute to the long and fulfilling life he had. It is a very personal piece to me, but I hope to be able to comfort others by sharing it

The track is simply composed of piano, strings and cello. Where the cello and piano carry intertwining melody lines full of sadness and yearning, but also happiness on the good times we shared together. Instrumentally it is quite similar to the Max Richter piece ‘Dream 3’ already on the playlist

Grieving is a complex and difficult process and I hope that with this track, people can grieve for their loss, but also reflect on the good memories they have and musically comfort to them.
— Cassie To - No-kë

You can learn more about No-kë here:

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About the Curator - Andrew McCluskey

The first visual memory I have is that of the white upright piano in Singapore, Hell and the dark forces lived at the bottom, Heaven and the Angels at the top. They would play battles through my fingers and I was hooked.

After my dad died I was very sad - I couldn't play for a while and when I did, the music that came out reflected my grieving state.  I wrote an album of solo piano music called Music to Grieve to - from which the idea of the Music to community originated.  

If you'd like to know more you should read Nicole's fabulous article on why listening to sad music can make you feel better.

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