Thursday, May 29, 2014

Writing music: Zoe Keating (reposted and updated)

I was saddened to hear last week that the husband of Zoe Keating, one of my all-time favorite musicians, has been diagnosed with late-stage metastatic cancer. They have health insurance, but apparently it does not cover nearly enough of the very, very expensive treatment.

And to make matters worse, apparently the hospital didn't send Blue Cross the proper paperwork, so Blue Cross sent her family a letter saying, "Coverage for the requested service is denied because the service does not meet the criteria for “medical necessity” under your description of benefits...  we cannot approve your hospital stay for cancer. We do not have enough facts to show that it was medically necessary." Later, when talking to a representative, Zoe learned that apparently this is the form letter they send out when they don't get proper paperwork from the hospital detailing what care was provided/needed. Wait, what? The letter is not even a "Sorry, we need more info before we can cover." It's instead 'YOU ARE DENIED." Yeah, Blue Cross (who is my insurance company), you might want to work on that wording.

So! If you are in the mood to acquire some great cello music, now would be a good time. Here is the link to Zoe's Bandcamp page. She doesn't have a straight donations page at the moment, but bandcamp allows you to pay any amount over the asking price for an album. You could also buy Zoe's music on ITunes, but she gets a greater percentage of the cost of the album if you go through bandcamp.

Here is my original post.


For my last music post, I talked about a group whose music I used to create a dark, atmospheric mood for writing. But this time, I’ll switch to music that still has dark undercurrents, but is also lovely and even hopeful at points. At least, that’s how I hear it.

I first came across Zoe Keating many years ago when she was the opening act for Imogen Heap. One woman and her cello seemed an odd opening for an electronica artist, but I was almost immediately transfixed. I desperately wished for a seat so I could close my eyes and focus on the sound, rather than the jostle of other concert-goers and the fact that I’d stupidly worn heels to a standing-only concert. In any case, I've been hooked ever since.

(Permission through Zoe's flicker album; shared under a partial license, as long as I attribute the work to its original source - flicker album here). 
The cello is one of my favorite solo instruments (my other favorite is the oboe, though it’s harder to find solo oboe music). Zoe creates gorgeous, layered compositions, so it sounds like it's an entire symphony playing. It's hard to explain, so just listen to some of the music (thank you, Zoe Keating's official Soundcloud!)


Legions (War)

Here's a live performance:

I listen to Zoe's music when I need inspiration, or in writing any bittersweet passage. I listened to Fern continuously when writing the last chapter of my novel, Graveyard.

You can also hear a longer selection of her music on her Soundcloud page.

Take a listen, and have a lovely summer evening.

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