5 things – Hannah Donovan

The brief: Tell us about 5 songs *and/or* films. It could be the ones you think are the greatest. Or that move you most. Or that are under-appreciated. Something along those lines.

The people: Webstock speakers and assorted Webstock people.

Today with Hannah Donovan, who writes, “Here’s five songs – most of which have also been my jams – that say “Hi Webstock People!” by way of introducing myself, and also relate to what I’ll be speaking about. Enjoy!”

Goldberg Variations 15 by J.S. Bach – performed by Glenn Gould

To me, Bach represents order, structure and peace. The Goldberg Variations in particular. People who know me well call this my “morning music” because I only listen to Bach at that time of day. Often while I write. It’s music for starting off with, gathering your thoughts, restoring balance. I’m also a big believer an habit for creativity.

***Flawless by Beyoncé ft. Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche

This, because it was the biggest musical surprise to happen to me in 2013. Beyoncé is one of the most interesting musicians working today and an incredible role model. Love. A much younger me would have eschewed pop music for not being cool enough or whatever, but that’s totally against my core beliefs about creativity today – that you need to let the unexpected in. Also, the message, the aesthetics, that dancing.


Musician by Homeboy Sandman

Besides discussing the hard stuff that anyone who creates for a living thinks about: legacy, aspiration and prolificacy to name a few – the main subject is something I’m sure we’ve all felt – being put “in a box” for what you make. (Sorry pop music! I’m making up for it now!) Related to the issue of conformity and acceptance within one’s area, is an anecdote I heard from Congolese-Belgian hip hop artist Baloji the other day on NPR’s All Songs Considered podcast (featured at 20:45) – he says “hip hop is the most conservative genre of music I’ve ever encountered”. I love hip hop, and I also think that’s a wonderful lens to look at the industries we work in and the art we consume.

Dirty Laundry by Kelly Rowland

This dark tune for the sheer courage it must have taken for Kelly to show this much vulnerability and record this song. ‘Nuff said.

Luda Goes To Church And I DL Lex Luger’s Drum Kit by Jonwayne

I love the irreverence of this track, and I also love it for its unconventional use of organ. There are two times in my life I thought, Damn, pipe organ! One was playing in the cello section of Poulenc’s Concerto for Organ, Timpani and Strings, the other was listening to this. Doesn’t it just make you want to run into one of those old European cathedrals, crank this, and get down?