Music for Peace, Understanding, and Connection

by Kerry Dexter /
Kerry Dexter's picture
Nov 16, 2020 / 0 comments

Sun and moon, stars and sky are constants, wherever you might be in the world, and wherever you may be in your thinking about the shifts and changes that have been happening. So, too, is the desire for peace, for understanding, for connection.

Music offers ways to think about all these things.

Music for Peace, Understanding, and Connection

Carlos Nakai comes from the southwest of the United States. His instruments are wooden flutes. He is of the Navajo people. All three of those elements inform the music he makes. From his album Canyon Trilogy, here is his piece called Daybreak Vision.

Rhiannon Giddens often draws on her heritage as an African American who grew up in North Carolina, and her deep research into history and music, as she creates and chooses songs. You have met those aspects of her work before in this series, and you will find both on her album There Is No Other, a collaboration with percussionist Francesco Turrisi. That is also where you will find this song, He Will See You Through.

Christine Albert and Chris Gage aren't afraid to take on the harder aspects of life, and to take a lighter touch at times, too. They are based in Austin, Texas, where their eclectic approach to country-infused folk music fits right in, as does their work in other styles, including blues and songs from Christine's French heritage. They apply that lighter touch to a serious subject in the song Life Is a Miracle, which you will find on their album Burnin' Moonlight.

Spending time with nature can help with reflection and peace, too. The natural world is a creative source for musicians, as well.  

Shannon Heaton uses this idea for her tune Dust of Snow, which she performs with her husband and musical partner Matt Heaton on their album Fine Winter's Night. They are based in the Boston area, so they have come to know more than a bit about snow. Shannon's instrument is the flute. Matt plays guitar. Though this is an instrumental, they both sing and write songs as well as playing and singing music of Ireland. You will hear all that on Fine Winter's Night, and on their other albums, including Tell You In Earnest.

The idea behind the Spell Songs album carried with it the idea of calling back lesser known or considered parts of nature. One of these is the willow. During lockdown, artists of the Spell Songs project collaborated to re-create their recording of The Willow from their album, to honor the Willow charity of the Folk by the Oak Foundation. Artists you see and hear in in this video include Rachel Newton, Seckou Keita, Karine Polwart, Bethany Porter, Jim Molyneux, Kris Drever, and Julie Fowlis. They each have albums of their own out you will want to look for, as well. There's also word that a second spell songs project is in the works.

About those stars I mentioned at the beginning of this story...Karen Matheson, another artist whose work you've met before in this series, has a song entitled Casseopia Coming Through. Both the song and the video invite reflection and hope.

James Grant wrote the song. "I've always been drawn to the poetic imagery of my good friend and guitarist/songwriter extraordinaire James Grant. Cassiopeia Coming Through is a beautifully crafted call for change, for hope, for moving forward," says Matheson. The single is available now and will be on Matheson's forthcoming album Still Time, set to be released in the spring. You can also find Matheson's work as lead singer of Capercaille on their album At the Heart of it All, and on her solo album Urram.

From daybreak to starlight with hope and reflection along the way, may this music be a good companion to you through this season of shifts and changes.


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.