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Boston’s reply to violence: listen to the music

We’ve received this video message from out friends at WGBH, most of whom cannot go to work today:

All of us who work and live in Boston are grappling with the recent tragic events at The Boston Marathon on Patriot’s Day, a singularly Boston holiday and easily one of the best days of the year in this fine city. Perhaps it’s an odd pairing — the Leonard Bernstein quote about violence with a song from a young Irish singer-songwriter, but then again, maybe it’s just right. Massachusetts native Leonard Bernstein captures perhaps the most important sentiment in the wake of horrific violence; you have to continue doing the things you love, and do it with even more passion than you did before.

Mick Flannery’s wonderful song, “Boston” was written in 2010 after a brief stay in the basement of family he barely knew in Cambridge. He observed them living as a family in Boston and was inspired to write the song “maybe out of jealousy,” as Mick said in a recent radio interview at WGBH.

Mick performed the song live at The Burren in Somerville, MA, on January 23, 2013.

Photos by Annie Shreffler & James Edwards, WGBH News.
Video by Greg Shea, Annie Shreffler, Brian O’Donovan.

Subscribe to WGBH Music:…


2010 in boston town
the leaves are golden brown
we take the kids to town
to see the fair
big wheel is turning round
hear that homely sound
we’re walking thru the crowd
in the evening air
see our boy hold his sister near
until they’re in the clear
you whisper in my ear
that one’s going to heaven

you’ve no idea do you
what i’ll do for you
to have so much to lose
is the only feeling

i ran around my time
i stood in every line
i couldnt stop my mind
from dreaming of ya
and when i laid eyes on you
i knew that race was thru
and when i spoke to you
i told it so

you said ‘i think you’re a fool’
and i said ‘i know you do’
but i’d run away with you
if you ask me nicely


2050 boston town
the son is sitting down
its the only feeling now


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  1. Not the kind of music I play but I can still appreciate it. This is a very soothing song.

  2. I find this so true “you have to continue doing the things you love, and do it with even more passion than you did before”. Thumbs up to that.

  3. Grant Barnes says:

    For more background on the quote that Norman leads with, which Maestro Bernstein made in response to criticism of his conducting the Mahler Second “Resurrection” the weekend of the assassination of President Kennedy, here’s a link to his full letter. In contrast to the Boston Symphony’s craven capitulation to a terrorist attack by cancelling the Monday evening performance (which an earlier posting by Norman noted), Bernstein lived by his word: Bernstein grew up in Boston and not infrequently conducted the BSO.

    IIt should be noted that the Boston Symphony has a history of cancelling as a result of self-imposed intimidation. In 2001 the BSO wanted John Adams to allow them to substitute “Harmonielehre” for the Palestinian Choruses from his “Death of Klinghoffer,” which John Adams refused to do. See Mark Swed’s article:

    This instance of censorship pandering to prejudice caused me to lose respect for and trust in the BSO, not to mention the moral failures of many Boston-based composers and performers who refused to protest this attack on their profession. (This is not to imply that I don’t have issues with the original libretto of the opera, or the portrayal of American Jews in the completed work. But on those matters, but articles by Richard Taruskin, Robert Fink and John Adams, among others, have exhaustively addressed those issues. My criticism of the BSO should not be taken as neglecting similar criticism about the Los Angeles Opera’s refusal to mount the opera it helped commission and its destruction of the sets. Nor am I making any comment on the Boston Philharmonic’s cancellation of Friday’s performance because of the police-directed ongoing lock down of the city.)

    I think that finally the BSO should be shamed with being confronted with the words of Leonard Bernstein until they understand. At a time of trauma in Boston, having an opportunity to come together in community for music’s healing should have been embraced. Instead the BSO hid from the public it should have been serving.

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