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Monday, November 28, 2016

Guest Post by Andrew Shields: Who Played at the Bataclan Tonight?

Photo by Elizabeth De Witt

The morning after the Paris attacks on Friday, 13 November 2015, I kept trying to imagine my way into the events, especially into the Bataclan concert hall: how might one of the musicians have experienced it all from the stage? Or the bartender? Or someone who was in the bathroom when the attack started? Or even one of the attackers? When I stopped imagining the event itself and began to imagine someone visiting Paris that day instead, I began to find my way into a poem in which, at the end of a day of tourism, someone wonders, "Who's playing at Bataclan tonight?"

I posted the poem on Facebook late that Saturday morning, and comments began pouring in. But at first I didn't notice them, because writing the poem had not been enough – I wanted to write music for it. By about two hours later, I had the song finished and had recorded a rough demo of it to post on Facebook – and then I saw that my poem was getting attention.

What I didn't know is that my friend Roli Frei, a well-known singer-songwriter in the Basel music scene, had read the poem and set it to music as well. And now, in November 2016, both songs based on the poem are available: Roli's on his new CD "Strong Is Not Enough," and my song on "Défense de jouer", a two-song EP for download by my band Human Shields. And the poem is available in an anthology, #noussommesparis, edited by Oliver Jones and published by Eyewear Publishing in London.

On the eve of the anniversary of the attacks, the Bataclan reopened with a concert by Sting.

Human Shields

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