Tunes on Tuesday: Bend Don’t Break

Why this tune?

This week’s tune is another work in progress, a song inspired by our island second home of St. Croix, which I’m planning to record with a talented group of musicians from the island. “Bend Don’t Break” encourages us to face our problems and challenges with flexibility, taking inspiration from the palm trees, who survive the waves and storms by swaying with the wind.

I discovered that listening to the palm trees is an ancient custom. The Talmud (Sukkah 28a) praises the wisdom of Rabban Yoḥanan ben Zakkai, who not only mastered the Torah and other religious writings, but also “did not neglect esoteric matters, including the conversation of ministering angels; the conversation of demons, and the conversation of palm trees (שִׂיחַת דְּקָלִים)”

I brought the song to Khadijo Kwabena, a musician and educator on the island, who helped me work out an arrangement for the tune and recruited a band to record it. We’re rehearsing that now. I hope to release the song in the first half of next year.

I’m looking forward to more collaboration in 2022, and wish you all a happy, healthy, and connected New Year.

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Published by Oren Levine

Jazz pianist and composer from Washington, DC. Also a digital product and technology consultant currently working with nonprofit cllients

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