Music for Reflecting on Change

by Kerry Dexter /
Kerry Dexter's picture
Nov 21, 2022 / 0 comments

Change. It is a constant; at times welcome, at times resisted, at times unnoticed until much later.

Wherever you find yourself in the world at this moment, you know the effects of change, in politics, in personal life, in climate and nature, and in many other spheres.

Music to offer you varied perspectives as you live through and think about change:

Music for reflecting on change

Calum MacCrimmon, who is a member of the band Breabach from Scotland, was looking out his window at quiet streets during lockdown. He noticed nature was flourishing as human activity stilled. What would come of that? What could be learned from this sort of change?

Those questions brought him to write the song Changing World. You will find it recorded on Breabach’s album Fas. That title comes from a word that means sprouting or growing in Scottish Gaelic. Calum is joined on Fas by bandmates Conal McDonagh, James Lindsay, Ewan Robertson, and Megan Henderson, along with guests Keir Long and Inge Thomson.

Give the song a listen; give it several. There is much explore in both lyric and music.

R. Carlos Nakai comes from the southwest of the United States. He is of Navajo and Ute First Nations Heritage. His instrument is the Native American wooden flute; cedar is the wood he chooses.

In this short piece, listen to see if you can hear the change of autumn to winter, and the peace of winter snowfall. It is called December Snow. You will find it recorded on the album Changes (Canyon Records Definitive Remaster).

Also to note: November is Native American Heritage month in the United States. Exploring Nakai’s many recordings is a good way to celebrate; here are several other ideas on ways to explore Native American Heritage.

At the Heart of It All comes from the band Capercaillie. It was written by Donald Shaw, who plays keyboards and accordion with the band, and is one of its founding members. Karen Matheson sings lead. Capercaillie also come from Scotland. At the Heart of It All is the title track on the album on which you will find it recorded.

“At the the heart of it all
Is a calling to this land...”

are among the words Matheson sings. Calling on nature, reflection, challenge, and hope, there are many stories within the song.

The song Mo Nion O is both blessing to a well loved child and invitation to growth and connection—blessing and invitation to future generations, if you like.

The song was written by Mairead Ni Mhaonaigh (you have met her music with the band Altan in this series before). Ni Mhaonaigh, who comes from Donegal, wrote it for her daughter Nia, in Irish.

Irish American singer Cathie Ryan heard the song. She decided to translate it into English and to use both Irish and English in her performance of the song. She showed it to Mairead and Nia, who both both found her translation true to the song..You will find it recorded on Ryan’s album called Through Wind and Rain.

Carrie Newcomer is based in Indiana in the US, and tours internationally with her music. A journey she made on a train going to Hannover in Germany gave her inspiration for the song called The Season of Mercy.

Autumn to winter in nature, along with ideas of creativity, connection, and asking good questions: those things and more come up in the song both directly and indirectly.You will find it recorded on Newcomer’s album The Beautiful Not Yet.

As is the case with the other songs here, The Season of Mercy is both an invitation and a blessing, with images and ideas I find especially well suited to this season.

May the creativity of these artists be good companion to you as you make your way through this season of change.


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 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.