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Songwriter Gabriel Kahane will discuss his new album, Magnificent Bird, and the year-long internet hiatus that inspired it, in the first in-person Soundcheck, Live of 2022. Accompanied by string quartet, Kahane will play selections from the new LP, as well as songs from his critically-acclaimed 2018 Nonesuch Records debut, Book of Travelers, which documented an 8,980-mile railway journey in the aftermath of the 2016 election.
This event is produced with Soundcheck and hosted by John Schaefer. Genre-neutral and open-eared, Soundcheck is the New Sounds podcast where artists perform and talk about their work, their process, and themselves.
With Magnificent Bird, his second album for Nonesuch Records, Gabriel Kahane brings to life a trunk of songs written in self-imposed isolation—a full year off the internet—with the help of a dozen colleagues whose long-distance contributions were made possible, paradoxically, through the very technology he had shunned. His theme here is the marriage of the mundane to the increasingly quotidian terror that accompanies life in a wounded country, and, moreover, on a planet in the throes of catastrophic climate change. With performances by musicians ranging from folk darlings Andrew Bird and Chris Thile, to Sylvan Esso’s Amelia Meath, to the Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Caroline Shaw and celebrated clarinetist Anthony McGill, the album is, if nothing else, an expression of the breadth of Kahane’s extended musical community.