Germany-based pianist Davide Martello who famously played John Lennon’s ‘Imagine’ outdoors in Paris recently to comfort listeners travelled to Amsterdam and played next to the National Monument and the Nieuwmarkt downtown this week.
Known as Klavierkunst, Martello wants to travel to play the piano in all the capitals of the world, sometimes suggested by fans. He can now cross Amsterdam off his list. I really like the idea of a bicycle able to cart a piano around the city and calling him the ‘peace pianist’. He also played on Dutch television, which you can watch here.
Other pianists took to the free piano in Amsterdam Central Station before and after the one minute of silence held throughout the country on 16 November, playing ‘Imagine’.
Why ‘Imagine’? The slogan ‘Pray for Paris’, which was surely well meant, bothered many French people and others, such as French cartoonist Joann Sfar (some stuff is in English) – I’ll let his points speak for him. Considering the attacks were religiously motivated, ‘Imagine’ has lyrics that suggest we imagine there’s no heaven or religion, which would imply that if religion wasn’t around we would be better off, something French secular society strongly believes in.
There was once an episode of late 1970s American television show ‘WKRP in Cincinnati’ where a reverend comes to the rock radio station and tries to have a bunch of songs censored, specifically ‘Imagine’:
The reverend: This is typical of the kind of secular liberal humanist point of view that gluts our airwaves.
Station manager: Yeah. But we’re not talking obscenities here anymore, we’re talking about ideas, political, the philosophical ideas. First you censor a word and then you censor the ideas.
The reverend: But the idea is man-centered, not God-centered. The Bible tells us to put our reliance in God, not in our fellow mortals. This song says there’s no heaven.
Station manager: Ah, no, it says just imagine there’s no heaven.