On Wednesday, I went to a concert of the atheist and ever inspiring Ani Difranco, singer songwriter, activist, feminist icon, poet and founder of her own record label, Righteous Babe. However, I found myself completely blown away by the last song performed by one of her supporting artists, Anaïs Mitchell. The song was The Wall from the folk opera Hadestown based on the Orpheus legend and written by Mitchell with composer Michael Chorney. The song normally occurs as a musical number with several singers, a chorus and orchestral backing, but last night’s rendition consisted solely of Anaïs Mitchell and her guitar to stunning effect. The melody and lyrics are simple and straightforward but they provide a profound social commentary and lyrical refrains which return to haunt you long after the song is complete. The lyrics and the structure of the song differ quite a bit between the musical and the solo version so there are links for both below, but my preference is for the solo arrangement.
A video of Anaïs Mitchell performing The Wall in Paris on October 26th can be found here. The introduction to The Wall starts at 3:00 minutes if you want to skip the first song.
A performance from the musical with full cast and orchestra can be found here.