The voices of an orca pod helped Leah Abramson process grief for her lost family — in song
'The project for me was actually very healing'
It's safe to say that orcas have been on our collective mind lately, as stories of a Southern resident mother carrying her dead calf for 17 days has broken so many hearts. And it was the particular story of the Northern resident orca pod off the coast of Vancouver that resonated with musician Leah Abramson. She'd been at Malcolm Island in British Columbia to tape the sounds of the whales breathing and rubbing their bodies on stones — all research for a new series of songs.
Songs for a Lost Pod, both an album and a graphic novel that tells the tale of the orcas and a narrative of separation, is the result of Abramson's work recording and then using the sounds to write songs told from a whale's perspective. In this video, she opens up about how a pod of whales helped her reflect and heal.
Watch the video:
Learning the history of the pod, Abramson was struck by the amount of loss over the years — orcas have been vulnerable to both human poaching and climate change. The grief she felt for the whales reminded her of the history of trauma in her own family: after her grandparents survived the Holocaust, they were both the only remaining members of their respective families.
Now, Abramson has taken her learnings to her experience performing with her band. You can follow her here and find out more about the album here; the album and the graphic novel are both available through Headless Owl Records.
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