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WEMU Reaches Out: COVID-19 Conversations - Grace Morand Of The Chenille Sisters

The Chenille Sisters

During the COVID-19 pandemic, anything that can lift spirits helps out.  One nationally recognized musician out of Ann Arbor seeks to do just that with her craft.  In this installment of "WEMU Reaches Out: COVID-19 Conversations," Barbara Lucas catcves up with  Grace Morand of the Chenille Sisters, who's been using music to cope.

David Fair Intro:  As the relentless march of coronavirus upends our lives, many are reaching out to others to ask, how’re you doing?  What are you doing to cope?  Reporter Barbara Lucas has been ringing up a wide range of folks.  In this segment, we’re hoping to provide a brief respite in the midst of this crisis with a voice most you are probably quite familiar with.

Phone dialing.

Barbara Lucas:  I call Grace Morand, a member of theChenille Sisters.  The Ann Arbor-based, nationally-renowned trio has a dozen albums and has spent three decades giving upbeat, fun performances. 

Chenille Sisters clip.

BL: Is this giving you extra time to write music, or anything musically-oriented?

Grace Morand: So far, I've been cleaning out drawers and closets and stuff.  But much more busy work than creative work. But maybe you need to get rid of your clutter before you can create.  I don't know.

BL: She is enjoying listening to music.

Morand: One of my friends sent me this really beautiful song by the Wailin’ Jennies.

Wailin’ Jennies clip.

Morand:  A vocal trio from Canada.  And it's like, it's kind of like, everything's gonna be all right, you know?

Wailin’ Jennies clip.

BL: Along with music, books, movies, and meditating are her escapes.

Morand: I mean, it’s just, it's really scary to think about what if’s.  To me and that's hard.  I try really hard not to go there.

BL: Do you see any silver linings in all this?

Morand: Hmm… I think that maybe it'll help people kind of reevaluate their priorities.  And make us less thing focused and less materialistic… that we will really appreciate our friends when we get to see them face-to-face.  Maybe we'll be more connected in a way.  I don’t know.

BL: People in her world are finding creative ways to connect.

Morand: My 7-year old great nephew, mom talked to him today, and he said that he would like for our family to all read stories to each other on videos like, or Facetime or something.  That that's something we could do is read stories to each other.  And I just thought that was so sweet!

BL: Kids can be a bright spot.  She tells me about the Youtube making the rounds worldwide of a young guitarist in Nanjing, China named Miumiu—just six years old.

Morand: And she plays really great jazz guitar.  And she plays Fly Me to the Moon.  And she doesn’t say her R’s right.  She says W for R like little kids do.  So here she's singing, playing this very sophisticated accompaniment and singing, you know, “Let me play among the stows.”  But she's really good.

Miumiu clip.

Morand:  I think that's something that I think music and art both are something that can really lift people up in a time like this.

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Barbara received a master's degree in Environmental Policy from the University of Michigan. She began her association with WEMU in 2003 as an intern with Washtenaw County, assisting with the weekly "Issues of the Environment" show. In 2003 she also began working in documentary film, and later established her own video production company.
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