Music for Making it Through Changes

by Kerry Dexter /
Kerry Dexter's picture
Apr 23, 2021 / 0 comments

It continues to be a time of ups and down, of change and shifting times. There's the promise of spring, or of autumn, depending on your place on the globe. Seasons of change in nature and seasons of change in all other aspects of life, as well.

There are as many ways to think about this as there are differing circumstances, of course. Here's music to help you think about all this, including two songs of friendship, a look at love and the night sky along the west coast of Ireland, a tune about that promise of spring, and look at a star whose memory continues to shine.

View from the mountain across a gorgeous green landscape, with sun shining in the top right corner, lighting the landscape. From Music for Making it Through Changes

The members of the Leahy family have been playing music at home in Ontario for as long as any of them can remember, and it wasn't long before some of them hit the road, as well. Family members have come and gone in the group, starting their own families and following other interests. Along the way, the band has won many awards, begun a well-respected summer music camp, and been through more than a few changes. Leahy's most recent album at this writing is called Good Water, a project which finds the seven who join in adding pop and rock elements to their folk and Celtic heritage. It is all original material. On this song, you will hear Julie Frances on lead voice and acoustic guitar, Siobheann on bass and harmony, Denise on harmony, Erin with fiddle, and Frank on drums. It is a song about making it through changes called Any Other Way.

Karine Polwart's song Travel These Ways invites connection, reflection, and friendship, too.

When the snow comes skirling in
and covers the path that you've chosen
I'll light us a fire
to keep us warm until the path is unfrozen...

Polwart is from Scotland and was commissioned to write this piece by the Scottish organization Luminate for their Dementia Inclusive Singing Network. Music can often help people who have dementia. Polwart has not recorded this song on an album as yet, but you may find more of her work on her recent album Laws of Motion.

Travel These Ways - music video from Luminate on Vimeo.


Declan O'Rourke is an Irish singer and songwriter, based in the west of Ireland. His work often radiates hope, connection, and trust. That's the case certainly with the story he tells in his song Stars over Kinvara, which you will find recorded on his album Arrivals.

Alison Brown heard the banjo when she was a teenager, and fell in love. Though the plan was that she'd become a doctor or a lawyer—and she did graduate from Harvard and earn an MBA from UCLA—a different path called. She's become a top instrumentalist, composer, producer, and record company co- founder, and won numerous awards along the way. Creating music is at the heart of what Brown does, whether she's playing a hot bluegrass tune or building a fusion of jazz, Celtic, and country throughlines on a piece. Take a listen to her tune called The Promise of Spring. You will find it recorded on several of her albums; I first heard it on A Winter's Eve.

I've been thinking quite a bit about Selena Quintanilla Perez lately. She had a great voice, an engaging personality, stage presence to burn, and focus to succeed. Selena, who grew up in a Mexican American family in Texas, worked her way up through challenges and hard times to become a major star of Tejano music. She won all the top awards in Tejano, along with a Grammy for best Mexican American album, and was on her way to crossover stardom, as well. Selena would have turned 50 years old this spring, but she did not make it to her 24th birthday. She was murdered in 1995 by the president of her fan club.

Selena's work and life continue to inspire. This year, the Grammy foundation honored Selena's memory with a lifetime achievement award.

Selena recorded many songs, and indeed, one of the reasons for that lifetime achievement award is because she brought rock and country into her work in ways that went a long way to making Tejano interesting to wider audiences while remaining true to its spirit. I've decided to point you to her lighthearted song Bidi Bidi Bom Bom. What's that title about?, you may well ask. Every time the woman in the song sees the man she loves pass by, hears him speak, and so forth, that's how her heart beats...



Thank you for staying with us through this journey. Below, you'll find a link that will take you to an article which has a bit more backstory on the series. It also has links to a number of the stories, including ones called Listening for Community, Music for Winter's Changes, and The Geography of Hope.

Music for Shifting Times

Music for Shifting Times




Kerry Dexter is Music Editor at Wandering Educators. You may reach Kerry at music at wanderingeducators dot com.

You may find more of Kerry's work in National Geographic Traveler, Strings, Perceptive Travel, Journey to Scotland, Irish Fireside, and other places, as well as at her own site, Music Road.