“Who can hold me? Who can hold me? Who can wrap their arms around me and keep me from falling in?”
Karla Adolphe asks this in her song Who Can Hold Me, which is found on her new solo album, Honeycomb Tombs, and each time I listen to this gorgeous album, it feels to me like Karla is the one who can hold us. These 10 beautiful songs, which were written for people whose lives are touched by grief, are the arms that wrap around us and bring us comfort and strength.
The music is soothing, and Karla’s clear voice is soft and soulful, wrapping around you like a warm blanket as she creates beautiful images that are sometimes heartbreaking, sometimes hopeful and sometimes full of questioning, but always meaningful.
Karla, a folk singer from High River, Alb., released Honeycomb Tombs last November. The songs on the album were inspired by stories of loss and grief shared by her audience members and online followers, and Karla has been giving away free digital downloads of the album in the hope that it will provide comfort to those who are losing a loved one or have lost someone dear to them.
Karla was nice enough to answer some questions about the making of Honeycomb Tombs for us. You can download a digital copy of the album for free on Karla’s website and find her first video below!
FB: Why did you decide to write a collection of songs for people who are grieving?
KA: I witnessed the death of a dear friend’s daughter after a long battle with severe disabilities. I watched how the random playlist of music really guided us through the day, releasing different emotions, memories and sometimes silence. It was very powerful, and I felt inspired to write an album for these moments in life.
FB: What made you decide to ask people to share their stories and how did you collect them?
KA: I realized, as I set out to write songs, that my limited personal experience with death and loss might cause me to get teachy or cheesy; thoughts about grief are far less important than true moments and stories about it. I invited audience members and online followers to send me anything, and I received over 40 tragic and heartbreaking stories. I feel very honoured to be able to preserve them in song.
FB: Was it hard for you to be surrounded by grief while working on this album?
KA: During the recording of the album, I felt a strong sense of purpose and support. I chose some of the best and most talented people in the world to guide me through the making of the album. What surprised me is the reaction to the album once it was completed; it was here that I felt more challenged by the material in the album. Folk come up to me after a concert and continue to share their grief stories and how the album has affected them in that journey, and I have found this more of a challenge.
FB: Has there been anything surprising or especially touching about the response to your album and the fact that you are offering the digital album for free?
KA: We offered it for free so it could be a resource to folks in a very difficult time of life, and I am so proud of that! I have had people send it all over the world to loved ones who are grieving, and I recently watched a contemporary dance company perform choreographed dances to two songs as a commission for a full show about the thin line between life and death.
FB: I’m sure everyone will take away something different from listening to Honeycomb Tombs depending on their experiences with grief, but what do you ultimately hope you can give people with this album?
KA: A moment to rest, a moment for themselves. Often when we are grieving, we are busy taking care of what remains, and I wanted folks to be able to have a short guide to help take care of their hearts. I also hope the album is shared – that is the heart behind it.
FB: Is there a song on the album that means the most to you? (and why?)
KA: Well, there are two. Flying Low is the anthem of the album, the real central idea that hope can come out of suffering, and it was a really creative departure for me. I have never really written a song like that! Mamma Wing is special because it is written for the McHugh family who lost their daughter and all the other parents who have lost a child. In fact, I received quite a few stories about parents losing children, so that is very special for me.
FB: Why did you call the album Honeycomb Tombs?
KA: It is a lyric from Flying Low that I just love! I loved the idea that a tomb (a honeycomb) can be a source of sweetness and nourishment. I like to ponder the mystery of death giving life.
You can find out more about Karla on her I website
You can find Karla on | Facebook
You can follow Karla on | Twitter