From The Boston Globe
November 15, 2002
A Life of Words Will Be Remembered Through
By Joan Anderman, Globe Staff
Daniel Pearl loved music. For him it was a form of
communication as powerful as the written word, Pearl's
other passion. He played fiddle and mandolin, joined
bands in whatever city his career as a journalist took
him to, and often treated his co-workers to impromptu
recitals. Pearl gave violin lessons to needy children.
He never traveled without an instrument slung over
Tomorrow night Club Passim presents a night of acoustic
music to honor the life of Pearl, the Wall Street Journal
reporter who was killed by Islamic extremists in Pakistan
in February, and to benefit the Daniel Pearl Foundation.
Established just a few weeks after his death, the foundation
is dedicated to continuing Pearl's mission of bridging
the divide between Western and Islamic cultures in
the grass-roots spirit that shaped both his work and
his character, say his sisters Tamara and Michelle
''We didn't want to have Danny's life end on a sad
note,'' says Tamara, who is a vice president, along
with her sister, of the foundation. ''We wanted to
continue his legacy in a positive way.''
Adds Michelle, during a conference call: ''When people
hear what we're doing, there's this sense of surprise
that we're even able to do it, that this is how we've
responded. But this is a way of counterbalancing the
tragedy with something good. I think Danny would be
While Daniel's death is a wound that will never fully
heal, the Pearl family is hoping to help heal a wounded
world by transforming their loss into a vehicle for
cross-cultural understanding. On Oct. 10, what would
have been Pearl's 39th birthday, 100 tribute concerts
were held in 20 countries - among them a performance
by an Arab-Jewish youth orchestra in Tel Aviv and a
Pakistani fusion band in San Francisco.
Other planned events include conferences bringing
together journalists, academics, and religious leaders
from the West and the Middle East, as well as a ''hate
reduction'' project (conceived by Tamara and Michelle)
that would allow a Pakistani or Palestinian student
to retrace their brother's academic and journalistic
Tomorrow's concert, ''Universal Language: A Musical
Tribute to Daniel Pearl,'' will feature Pearl's most
beloved styles of music: bluegrass, folk, and classical.
Hosted by Christopher Lydon, it will include performances
by, among others, Mark O'Connor, Liz Carroll, Matt
Haimovitz, Mark Simos, Matt Glazer, and the Wayfaring
Todd Mack was Pearl's close friend and bandmate in
the Cosmic Gypsies, a folk-rock jam band that will
perform as Cosmic Jack at the tribute. Mack has spent
the last few weeks reconstructing Pearl's fiddle and
mandolin recordings, and when he and Dave Keehn play
tomorrow night, they'll be accompanied on three songs
by Pearl, on tape.
A fourth song, ''Beautiful Angel,'' was composed after
''It's sort of my take on all of this,'' says Mack,
a producer, radio host, and owner of Off the Beat-N-Track
recording studios in Southfield. ''It's hard enough
when you lose a friend, period. That's compounded by
the way Danny was taken, and further compounded when
a friend you shared a very private relationship with
has suddenly become a larger-than-life public figure.
The bottom line is that I miss my friend.''
Bryan Gruley, an editor and reporter at The Wall Street
Journal and an amateur musician, will perform ''For
a Son,'' a song he wrote for Daniel and Mariane Pearl's
son, Adam, who was born in May. The lyrics - uplifting
and full of hope - imagine what Pearl might have said
to his child. When CNN anchor Aaron Brown played ''For
a Son'' during ''NewsNight '' on the day of Adam's
birth, the station received nearly a thousand calls.
The recording is now available at www.danielpearl.org,
with all proceeds benefiting the foundation.
Gruley's other selection for the tribute concert is
inspired, as well: a slow, unplugged version of the
Nick Lowe tune (made famous by Elvis Costello) ''(What's
So Funny 'Bout) Peace, Love, and Understanding.'' It's
hard to imagine a more apt message.
''His own music was filled with humor,'' says Michelle.
''If Danny was jamming, he would throw in a lick from
`The Flintstones' theme. He used to wake me up in the
morning by bursting into my room singing `Good Morning'
from `Singin' in the Rain.'''
Doing the foundation's work, and finding in themselves
the voice of passion their brother brought to his music
and his writing, has helped ease the grief for both
of Pearl's sisters.
''We've had a lot of energy to throw into this, and
that comes from our love of Danny and missing him,''
''We would be thinking of Danny anyway,'' Tamara says.
''This is a way of perpetuating our love.''
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