Song Premiere: “Italians are Singing From Their Windows,” by Sabrina Chap

A Beautiful Song for Now.

“This crisis can bring out the best or the worst in us,” she wrote, “and the only control we have is to guide ourselves on the most graceful path. That’s what I’m trying to do.” 

Those are the words of New York singer-songwriter Sabrina Chap, who has done just that with this new song, “Italians Are Singing From Their Windows,” which we are happy to share with you today.

At a time when it’s easy to focus on the darkness and fall into the fear, any instances of human light shining are more moving then ever. This is one, celebrating this aspect of humanity which persists: to answer fear with gratitude and grace. This is a beautiful ode to the goodness in the human heart, expressed in the daily and nightly outpourings of love and gratitude of thousands around the globe for the heroes of this battle, the health-workers.

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Asked about the origins of this song, she wrote:

“In quarantine, Italians sang from their windows to each other to keep joy and hope alive. This inspired me. We’re going to need to light the fires of hope in our hearts daily. I hope this song helps.

Everyone has a job to do now. Doctors and nurses are on the front lines, risking their lives for other people. Policemen and grocery store workers are suiting up to go to work to help ensure the safety and stability of our nation. Politicians are trying to outbid each other for their state’s ventilators, and mental health counsellors are volunteering their time to help people cope with the devastation.

So what is the songwriter’s role in all of this?

To feel.

A friend posted this quote from Akira Kurosawa:’To be an artist means never to avert one’s eyes.’

I had been in self-isolation in my two-room studio in Brooklyn for over two weeks. Some days I just watched ‘Breaking Bad’. Some days I practiced my French, did yoga and practiced piano.

On one of these days, I picked up my old friend, the guitar. Something about feeling the vibrations of the wood against my chest calmed me. I thought of the tidal wave of pain that New Yorkers, and the world, were about to face, and I knew I needed to steady myself.

The visions of Italians singing to each other from balconies in self-isolation expressed to me the power of both music and community at this time. We need to feel connected, and we need to consciously look for joy amidst the tragedies.

I wrote this song in three days, each time just picking up the guitar for less than an hour, doing what I could, and then returning to watching “Mad Men” dead-eyed.

But in those days of writing and recording it, it gave me something to do. Something positive to put out into the world. And we artists are alchemists of pain. That is our job. To help translate this into something both palatable and possible for those who don’t have access to expressing their emotions.

We, too, have a job to do. To feel, fully. To cry. To wipe our eyes, and to try and understand, in our hearts, what we can create from this pain.

This is my offering.”

–Sabrina Chap

“Italians Are Singing From Their Windows”
By Sabrina Chap

So it has finally come, the moment we find what we’re all made of
a simple reckoning that everyone now has to face
and you can choose a path of fear to walk, or one paved with love
it’s time to look into the mirror, decide which path to take

Cuz you know, you know somewhere in your heart
there’s still a light that can burn in the dark
Just listen, darling, Italians they are singing from their windows

It hurts, It hurts, yeah – there’s gonna be tears
but each time you want to give into fear
Just listen, darling, Italians they are singing from their windows

It looks like every hill we’ve climbed prepared us for this mountain
And now that we are all inside, it’s time we make a plan
And although you feel all alone, please know you are surrounded
surrounded by those who are doing everything they can, everything they can

You know, you know yeah – that you’re not alone
I’m right here with you in the unknown
And somewhere out there, Italians they are singing from their windows

It’s hard, It’s hard now to find any hope
But one thing that I think you should know
That in their grief, Italians they were singing from their windows

You know, You know what you need to do
Just listen, darling, I’m singing to you
For in my heart, Italians they are singing from their windows

And this time, this time yeah we gotta be strong
so if you can, come on hum along
For we can make it, Italians they are singing from their windows

Released March 25, 2020
Written, performed and produced by Sabrina Chap.
Photo by Maike Schulz.

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