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Sister (cover & home recording)
Originally by the band Caribou
This tiny song is originally by Dan Snaith / Caribou, and can be heard in its original form here. When I first heard it, the lyrics almost lost with Dan’s soft-spoken delivery over electronic tones, I felt like it had been written directly to me. I wanted to pull it out of Caribou’s beautiful ambient soup and give voice to it on the piano.
This was recorded yesterday afternoon as Kendra worked on shovelling out our chicken barn and the kids played inside — you can hear some kid noises in the background, and I lose my way with the words a couple times, but wanted to share it with you because the mix of words and musics feel so rich and animating:
Sister, I promise you I'm changing
You've heard broken promises, I know
If you want to change it, you must break it
Rip it up and something new will grow
Brother, you're the one that must make changes
No one else can do it if you don't
Surely, you'll have noticed things are changing
I can't do it all on my own
What stirs in you as you hear this? As always, before offering my own interpretation to you, I’d love it if you paused to consider what you think “it” is that must be changed, broken, ripped up.
Who is sister? Who is brother?
What is the work?
Who are you in this?
I sing this to my sisters in the struggle towards a renewed world, and to my own partner, spoken from the pathway of healing. Where systems have caused hurt to women, especially the church and its various teachings, I pledge to unlearn the toxicity in me and be part of dismantling that which continues to oppress. When I think of how the effects of patriarchy have created conditions that cause suffering, I know the first work to do is to heal the “inner patriarch” in me.
But only the first two lines are sung by what I imagine to be the male narrator: just the promise to change, and the acknowledgement of broken promises. The rest, I imagine, is best sung back by a woman’s voice: it’s a bold encouragement to not just change in a subtle way, but to do the deep work. That the systems are poisoned at the root, that the hurt continues to blossom out, and that a promise isn’t enough.
“Brother, you're the one that must make changes — no one else can do it if you don't.” Changing a patriarchal society depends, in part, on men doing the work of letting go and moving towards healing. And the “I can’t do it all on my own” — the burdens being carried today are more than can be quantified.
Shift from power. Let go. Listen. Join the work.
I’ve booked 2 days in the studio with producer Jonathan Anderson for the last week in March, coming up next month. We’re currently working through my list of 25+ songs to determine which ones to focus on together.
In case you’ve missed it, I’ve revitalized this subscription list to focus on sharing song demos / home recordings from a process of personal growth and exploration I’ve been in during the past couple years. The full story is here. I’ll always share the songs themselves for free, and have enabled “paid subscriptions” to support my investment in producing and releasing these tracks as a full album.
Three song demos I’ve shared so far are:
Thanks for following along!