music

In a world of increasing polarity, music has taught me to communicate across, and through, difference. On all my journeys, song has helped me break down barriers and build community---from exchanging folk songs in the kitchen of a sugarcane farmer in western Cuba, and joining in the resounding wave of a 160-person strong alumni chorus, to sharing my original song on a plane full of international environmental delegates leaving the UN Climate Conference. Music has made me a better, more empathetic communicator.

To learn about and hear my music-making, please see below.

 
individual projects

The video above is me singing my original song Change or Be Changed at the UN Climate Conference in Poland in 2018. Below are the full lyrics.

Change or Be Changed

Will the snow of today become the fire tomorrow?

What will come of this land that we've borrowed?

Will they come with wrath or will they come with wreathes?

Darling mine, when we leave?

Well I know no songs of the future,

But I know what I know what I want to hear

I'm a sister, a daughter, be a mother someday

I'm working for hope and for those who will stay.

For all that it's worth and for all that I've got,

Everything that I love is on a little blue dot.

Will we change, or be changed? Change, or be changed?

Oh the signs are grim and getting grimmer,

Time to spare is getting sparer.

This house of ours' got a broken roof,

But we've got no where else to move.

Will we change, or be changed? Change, or be changed?

I know no songs of the future,

But I know what I know what I want to hear

We've got options and choices, but no time to lose

Flooding, and fires, and storms in the news.

What's good isn't given, but one thing's for sure:

This Earth and her people are who I'll work for.

Will we change, or be changed? Change, or be changed?

Grant me the legacy of an oak tree

To be tall, strong, grounded, and sturdy

To work through the night, and push through the storm

Saying:

Life is worth this fight

Earth is worth this fight

Saying:

We are worth this fight

I know no songs of the future,

But I know what I know what I want to hear

I know no songs of the future,

But I know what I know what I want to hear

 
Talisman

Much of what I learned about the power of music and storytelling, I learned while singing with Talisman. Talisman is a semi-professional, student-led music group at Stanford University that aims to share stories through song. I served as Director of the group in 2016 - 2017 and began singing with the group in 2013. 

 

Singing and directing informed and embodied my advocacy in two ways: by developing my strong horizontal skills of public speaking, teaching and group facilitation that I have applied to my environmental engineering work, and by teaching me the value of building cross-cultural connections. As Director of the group, I prepared a learning plan for each quarter and led a music and service learning tour over Spring Break to the American Southwest. Working on a team and teaching music has helped me find more effective ways to communicate my sustainable development efforts. 

Image from Frank Chen © 2020