Rostam Batmanglij was so “deeply moved” by former National Youth Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman’s heart-swelling inauguration day poem “The Hill We Climb,” that he set it to music. The producer and former Vampire Weekend member explained in a note that he was so inspired that he “went to my studio and improvised three piano takes while listening back to the speech.”
He posted the second take, “Improvisation in G Minor,” in its entirety, which finds him laying a gentle piano accompaniment to Gorman’s soaring rhetoric. “When day comes, we ask ourselves, where can we find light in this never-ending shade?/ The loss we carry/ A sea we must wade/ We braved the belly of the beast/ We’ve learned that quiet isn’t always peace, and the norms and notions of what ‘just’ is isn’t always justice,” Gorman says as Batmanglij adds an emotional musical underpinning to the couplets about rising up together to leave division behind.
Gorman’s reading at Wednesday’s inauguration of President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris introduced the world to the 22-year-old Harvard graduate, the youngest poet to write and recite a piece at a presidential inauguration. In addition to paying homage to Black female poets who preceded her, she also gave some shout outs to Hamilton, which got creator Lin-Manuel Miranda super fired up.
“Did you catch the 2 @HamiltonMusical references in the inaugural poem? I couldn’t help myself!” Gorman asked the Hamilton star on Twitter by replying to his enthusiastic “YES” message, later adding, “You were perfect. Perfectly written, perfectly delivered. Every bit of it. Brava.”
Watch the video of Rostam’s remix below.