Listening well, doing good

Music makes a good gift in this season of holidays. As you are considering gifts of music to give, you may want to take a listen to recordings which themselves give gifts. Here are three albums with which the musicians have decided to contribute to helping others.

The Celtic traditions have many gentle lullabyes with which to rock babies to
sleep, and which soothe tired parents and grandparents as well. That connection was on the mind of Lindsay O’Donovan as she became aware of the work of One Home Many Hopes. As she volunteered with this orphanage in Kenya, which has programs which not only care for children but help them learn useful skills and good character, the idea for Lullabies for Love: A Celtic Collection came to be. Hanneke Cassel, Altan, Aoife O’Donovan, and others gave their time and their music to create an album which would make a fine gift for people of any age.

The Appalachian mountains in the southern United States have long been a well of song and story. That’s true of the album Still Moving Mountains: The Journey Home The songs and stories on this recording arise out of the effects of coal mining, most especially, mountain top removal mining. That is what it sounds like: tops of mountains are blasted away to get at seams of coal. Proceeds from this album go to grants for communities and people who are working with economic, ecological, and health effects of this practice. Kathy Mattea, a native of West Virginia in the Appalachian coal country, is among those whose support this with music on this recording.

India and Indiana are distant from each other in many ways. When Americana song writer Carrie Newcomer had an unexpected opportunity to visit India with her music, though she found threads of connection through singing her songs of hope, grief, faith, and family. When she returned her experiences on this journey found their way into song, and she invited the Khans, who are masters of the Indian instrument called the sarod, to join her and her Indiana musical friends in creating music to frame her words. The result is the album Everything is Everywhere. Newcomer has decided to give proceeds from the album to the Interfaith Hunger Initiative, which works to end hunger in Indiana and overseas.

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