100 Pairs of Wings

Brightwell & Moran

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The Story of 100 PAIRS OF WINGS This was a song that I started many years ago but couldn’t finish on my own. Letting time pass and then working on it with Woody opened up new insights into to the song and what it could be. The key was connecting what the birds were doing to the human experience of letting go. It started with just noticing how the

The Story of 100 PAIRS OF WINGS This was a song that I started many years ago but couldn’t finish on my own. Letting time pass and then working on it with Woody opened up new insights into to the song and what it could be. The key was connecting what the birds were doing to the human experience of letting go. It started with just noticing how the neighborhood crows would start migrating around dusk. In midsummer, sitting on the back stoop of our apartment, I would watch them as they flew off, one by one, into the sunset. This happened without fail, and was both fascinating and comforting to me. I marveled at the way they would gather together, numbers increasing as they flew. It was something about them being so connected to each other, compelled by an unseen force to perform the same action at the same time each night. Like a ritual. Or a prayer. I knew the song that Woody and I wrote had loss built into the structure; we had done that explicitly. We finished it right before the pandemic, but it took on a different meaning as our world was shutting down. Last May, the song came into stark relief when Woody’s wife Lisa passed away. And it evolved again this January as we recorded the song, with me trying to sing the words a week after my father died (spoiler: I literally couldn’t do it and we had to reschedule recording that song). Crows are common in the mythologies of many cultures around the world. They have been regarded as messengers from the gods or the afterlife. They can be tricksters or a harbinger of death. But science has also weighed in about crow behavior. Crows fly off to roost together in large family groups at night, often sharing a tree or group of trees, in order to protect each other. And crows experience grief and hold “funerals” for their fallen family members. As a highly social species with advanced cognitive skills, they have long memories and attempt to understand their circumstances and solve problems.
This was the teaching the crows had in store for us: it’s OK to let go when the time comes. Your family will gather around to protect you and celebrate your journey. And then you can effortlessly slip into the night. 100 Pairs of Wings is available on all digital and streaming platforms:

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