Harpist Lavinia Meijer collaborated with Iggy Pop on a ‘beautifully penetrating and personal poem’

The new album contains quite a few pieces composed by herself, as well as the poem Mom & Dad by Iggy Pop. He recorded it himself, Lavinia Meijer composed the music. The title of the CD comes from this poem.

It seems an unlikely combination: the frail harpist Lavinia Meijer next to the punk legend Iggy Pop. “I met him in 2016 at a concert at New York’s Carnegie Hall,” says Lavinia. “I was invited by Philip Glass, along with other great artists, including Iggy Pop, Patty Smith and Laurie Anderson.

Collaboration with Iggy Pop

The concept was that you would meet in a studio in New York the day before, make the program there, and then perform it in a packed Carnegie Hall the next night. Everyone came up with something themselves, but combinations are also made. We then have Tonight played by Iggy Pop. But then he also brought the poem Mom & Dad note that he wrote when his parents died. It is such a beautifully poignant and personal poem. I was very impressed, I didn’t know him in this way at all, with spoken word and on such a delicate subject.

Afterwards I asked him if he had ever done something with it and if I could write my own composition under it. He liked it. He made a very nice audio recording for me in his studio with just his voice. I immediately heard a melody in it and thought, I’m really going to start a kind of dialogue with him, with the harp and him. I play his side of the story, but at some point I also give voice to his parents. He calls out to them in heaven: ‘Mom & Dad, are you still somewhere?’ And then you hear the harp.

The following year we performed together again. He is a very kind and gentle man. At one point he mentioned his mansion in Florida and he said, ‘Yeah, I made some money’. I had to laugh really hard. He is a very talented person, and I think it is wonderful that he continues to rediscover himself at 75.”

Arranging music for Philip Glass

“I had already met Philip Glass before that. Through Hans Heg, a good friend of his and also mine. I had the opportunity to meet him when he went to play in the Melkweg. I arranged his music at his request. He then said to me: ‘I’ve heard my music in so many different settings, but now that I hear you play it on the harp, I get new insights into my own music.’

I remember that all the tensions I still felt before, of oh that’s someone who has already been through so much, who am I, completely fell away from me. I saw something of full respect towards each other, something of fellow colleagues and fellow artists. I saw that in Philip Glass too. He surrounds himself with people from so many different corners of the world: artists, but also scientists who look at each other with such respect; how they can connect their own expertise. And that’s what I want too.”

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