With the happy news of vaccines on the way, we can begin to dream again of live music events. Soon, we music lovers will, once again, be soaking up the atmosphere at great shows and festivals and superb musicians, separated from their audiences for too long, will get the chance to connect and feel the direct impact of their songs. In the meantime, we have been bringing you brilliant ‘mini-gigs’ performed by wonderful artists to help keep you going and lift your spirits. Today, we are absolutely delighted to bring you three songs from the acclaimed Diana Jones, beaming from her New York apartment to your home.
The songs are taken from Jones’s recent album, ‘Song to a Refugee’, on which her marvellous narrative lyrics and emotional vocal gives voice to the displaced and desperate, the vulnerable seeking asylum and a better life. The combination of such well-crafted songs and important stories that need to be told is deeply affecting. For this exclusive ‘mini-gig’, Jones begins with a perilous journey on ‘The Sea is My Mother’. The poetry of: “The Sea is my mother // She rocks me deep // She calms the waves so I can sleep // Dream of peace and something more // Waiting on a distant shore,” sits alongside such narrative details as: “My sister dressed me as a man,” as we follow two sisters travelling by boat across the Mediterranean.
This is followed by ‘Santiago’, inspired in part by a photograph of rosary beads confiscated at the US border. Finally, Jones finishes with the terrific ‘We Believe You’. It reinforces the importance of people’s stories being heard, especially those of a traumatised population. On the album version, Jones has gathered an incredible group of artists who take turns to sing verses: Steve Earle, Richard Thompson and Peggy Seeger. As fine as the outcome is on record, it is great to see Jones take on her song alone, here.
Stripped back to just guitar and vocal, this performance demonstrates the power, purpose and beauty of these songs, these soaring hymns that give voice to the most vulnerable. This is exquisite, must-see stuff. It’s a privilege to share the songs of Diana Jones with our AUK audience. Enjoy.