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The Body Keeps the Score

by Kairos 4tet feat. Emilia Martensson

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Music video: youtu.be/LHAeE879QMY

On May 26th, my grandmother Rena Young would have turned 100 years old.

I often think of her, particularly during challenging periods. I know whatever I may be experiencing cannot possibly compare to what she and many other victims of illness, war, prejudice and displacement had and have to endure.

Fleeing Nazi invaded Poland only to find herself in Stalin occupied Poland, Rena, along with many other refugees, was sent to a work camp in Siberia where she was given the task of making bricks. This perhaps was the beginnings of her becoming a sculptor in later life. After a harrowing few years she was able to leave Siberia with General Anders Army-in-exile after Germany declared war on Russia. This took her on another epic journey through Russia, the Caspian Sea, Persia, Beirut and eventually to a resettlement camp near Brighton where my father spent his first years. He sometimes speaks about the corrugated iron hut they called home.

When Rena passed away in 2017 after a long and full life of caring for others, she had been suffering from dementia for many years. One of the cruellest of illnesses.

Despite all the hardships she experienced, Rena remained a beacon of love and optimism, which was best encapsulated in her well-known catchphrase “tomorrow may be a better day”.

Like most of us, I’ve been left heartbroken seeing recent events unfold around the world. The loss of loved ones in devastating numbers and the actions of some governments has been hard to process. Human lives reduced to mere statistics.

At the same time, I am deeply inspired and full of gratitude for all the brave people on the front-line saving lives and keeping society functioning. With all that in mind, I’d like to share this song written in Rena’s memory. It was due for release later in the year on a new album but now felt like the right time.

It’s called ‘The Body Keeps the Score’, the title of the brilliant book about trauma by Bessell van der Kolk.

I hope this song in some small way can speak to the spirit of communion and unity needed to see us through this time, and that it honours Rena’s story. It is dedicated to her and the many others who weren’t able to say goodbye. May tomorrow be a better day.

With love,



Lyrics by Adam Waldmann

The light in our Rena’s eyes
Is a flame that never dies

They landed on these shores in ’48
Not too sure, not too late

She’d left in the midnight
Fore the tanks came rolling in

And when the mind could no longer endure
The body kept the score

House made of iron, come shelter us
Rain on the roof, make our garden grow
Tomorrow may be a better day

Those Russian nights too much to bear
A lonely breath could freeze in air
Her hands raw from the bricks
They had her toil to make

In twilight on the Caspian Sea
She prayed long for her family
If only there was time to utter
One goodbye

I still hear that laughter now
Showed me why, showed me how

Despite of what became an abject fate
Never words spoke in hate

She loved without question
Worked the clay to shape the pain

I’ll run to you from school today once more
Then we’ll sing
Then we’ll sing



released May 26, 2020
Emilia Martensson - Vocals
Adam Waldmann - Music & Lyrics, Saxophone through effects
Jasper Høiby - Bass
Will Barry - Piano
Fred Thomas - Cello, Synths, post-production
Chris Hyson - post production
Ruben Samama - post production

Mixed by Ruben Samama
Mastered by Peter Beckmann
Engineered by Sonny Johns at Livingston Studios
Video by Carl Ross-Mohl, Muphovi Ltd


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Kairos 4tet UK

Kairos 4tet are a British jazz band, spearheading a new breed of ensembles that bridge the gap between the classic and the contemporary; the jazz idiom and the popular dominion; burning improvisations and songs to linger long after the music stops.

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