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Ben Sollee (Courtesy of the Artist)

First Watch: Ben Sollee, 'A Few Honest Words'

Nov 5, 2012

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Bob Boilen

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Ben Sollee is not only an unconventional cellist, but also an unconventional human being. Recently, he took his cello, walked up the long steps of the Lincoln Memorial on the mall in D.C. (along with the Mason Jar Music film crew) and began to perform. It's not legal to do that, but like I said, Ben Sollee — the guy who bikes his cello across the country — is not a follower. The following video captures the moments in the shadow of Lincoln amid a throng of tourists.

From Ben Sollee:

"Like nearly everyone, my attention this week has been focused on Sandy and all of its devastating effects on communities along the East Coast. There are so many people dealing with fundamental challenges in their lives at this moment: food, shelter, clean water, etc. These are things that are not debatable or points of policy; they are human needs. And, as the country inevitably shifts its gaze back to the final stretch of the election, I'm hoping we can keep the human-to-human conversation going. That's what we truly need to sort through natural disasters, healthcare policy, education, or anything as a country. We are too often willing to sacrifice honest, sincere discussion for winning and losing teams. And everyone's voice is important! Performing at the Lincoln Memorial was my way of expressing that desire. I still have the knot in my stomach to prove how intimidating it can be to speak out. So, please, if you only do one thing on Tuesday, vote!"

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