As if their abundant talent as artists weren’t admirable enough, in the wake of tragedy, Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova, who perform together as the Swell Season, yesterday provided another reason to admire and respect them.
Perhaps you may have heard that tragedy befell the band a week ago when, in the midst of their performance in Saratoga, CA, a man climbed onto a lighting rig above the stage and leapt to his death onstage, an apparent suicide. In the days following the tragedy, the band met with grief counselors “to help try and make sense” of the situation, and I’m proud to say that one of the counselors who got the call to work with the band is a friend of mine. As proud as I was of that friend when I heard that he’d gotten that call and had provided counseling for the band (of those conversations with the grief counselors, the band say they “were of great service to our mind, body, and soul”), I’m every bit as proud of the Swell Season for the statement they made yesterday on their official website.
Full details are available in the statement but, in brief, in recognition of the traumatic event that their fans experienced a week ago tonight, the band has arranged for both one-on-one and group counseling sessions over the coming weeks with Kara, a Bay Area organization, and the sessions are available for free to any and all attendees of the Saratoga concert where the tragedy occurred.
You hear artists talk about “giving back to their fans” fairly regularly (although it tends to be a curiously vague notion when you hear such things), but it’s not too often that you hear about an artist demonstrating this level of thoughtfulness, concern, and genuine caring for their fans, and I, for one, thought that such action merited public recognition and thanks.
Not familiar with the band? Watch Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova’s jaw-droppingly gorgeous performance of “Falling Slowly” at the 2008 Academy Awards. The song is from Once, the charming independent movie in which they both starred, and for which they took home the “Best Song” Oscar later in the program:
On a personal note, I’m off to Portland on vacation in the morning and, with grateful thanks to the Whatever community, I’ll be arriving in the city with a mouth-watering to-do list of restaurants, brewpubs, wineries, and arts-related recommendations. I plan to return to guest blogging duty on Labor Day with a passel of Portland tales to tell…
Now Playing: The Swell Season, by Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova, an achingly beautiful album that I haven’t listened to in far too long.