Arts and Culture

Music, Memory, and Mom

Sonya Cotton grieves out loud on her sublime tribute to her mother, and asks for a little help from you.

By Thom Wong 27 Jan 2011 | TheTyee.ca

Thom Wong writes regularly about music for The Tyee. He can also be found ruminating about the state of menswear at The Sunday Best.

In 50 years it will be interesting to see how the Internet changes the way we grieve. Once a largely private moment, grief now takes place almost entirely in the open, unhesitatingly shared with friends, family and, most of all, crowds of strangers who happen to stumble on our blog post, Facebook update, or Twitter line. 

Musicians have long grieved in the open, with entire albums (and in some cases careers) dedicated to the end of relationships, the loss of loved ones and the slow phasing out of friendships. Long before we opened up on websites, musicians bared their emotions through song. Everyone has at least one song that sounds like it was written directly about his or her particular circumstances. 

The act of grieving is at first the act of remembering. Pictures and stories keep a person's memory alive, but songs can also honour a person's memory beyond those artifacts. Bringing together her grief and the power of the Internet in a beautiful way, musician Sonya Cotton has taken to the crowd-funding site Kickstarter to fund an album dedicated to her mother. 

The untitled project will consist of six tracks recorded live, properly capturing Cotton's marvelous voice. The promotional video stands as a work of art in itself, interspersed with a live performance of "It was not long ago" and Cotton's thoughts on music, memory and her mother's legacy. You can listen to the song in its entirety on her thank you page.

Best of all -- if you have a spare thousand dollars and live near the Bay Area, Cotton and her musicians will come to your house, play a concert and cook you dinner. The future is a strangely comforting place. 

Read more: Music

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