Legendary musician Joan Baez chose a powerful song that was written by fellow musician Zoe Mulford to be featured on Whistle Down the Wind, her final album. The song, “The President Sang Amazing Grace“, talks about the horrific shooting on June 17, 2015 at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina, carried out by a white supremacist domestic terrorist. While upon the podium at the funeral, then-President Obama broke out into a spontaneous cover of the classic Gospel song “Amazing Grace” and invited all those present to join in. The song portrays how one person’s statement of hate took the lives of nine innocent people and how the President’s statement of unity still resonates years later. Filmmaker Jeff Scher for The Atlantic provided beautiful animation to accompany Baez’s stunning version of the song.
[When Barack] Obama sang ‘Amazing Grace’ at the service for the Charleston Church shooting victims, it was deeply moving,” Scher told The Atlantic. “Somehow Obama, with his humble singing voice, turned grief into grace. With humility, compassion, and a two-hundred-year-old hymn, he made us feel that the evil deeds of a sick individual could not shake the bonds of our common humanity.
Here’s footage of President Obama singing at the funeral for the nine victims, including pastor and Senator Clementa Pinckney on June 26, 2017.
Here’s Joan Baez performing the song live on the Sklavan show in Scandinavia along with the interview that took place beforehand.