In the aftermath of the terror attacks in Paris, a mysterious pianist captivated mourners outside the city’s Bataclan venue, the site of Friday’s Eagles of Death Metal concert, with a moving, instrumental rendition of John Lennon’s “Imagine.” The musician has since been revealed as Davide Martello, who spoke The Guardian about what inspired him perform the 1971 classic for mourners still reeling from the previous night’s massacre.
Martello, a 34-year-old German who performs under the moniker Klavierkunst, was in a Konstanz, Germany pub watching the Germany versus France soccer game at the Stade de France – a match interrupted by a suicide bombing outside the stadium – when he decided to travel to Paris, a seven-hour drive. “I just knew I had to do something. I wanted to be there to try and comfort, and offer a sign of hope,” Martello said.
Martello and his grand piano, which travels with him via bicycle, have performed at numerous venues in the wake of terror attacks; he also set up outside the Charlie Hebdo offices following that Paris terror attack in January. “I can’t bring people back, but I can inspire them with music and when people are inspired they can do anything. That’s why I played ‘Imagine,'” he told The Guardian. “I got to the end of playing ‘Imagine’ and just couldn’t carry on. Even if I wanted to, it was just too emotional.”
On Klavierkunst’s Facebook page, Martello promised to continue playing at all the places affected by the terror attacks. “My [contribution] will be a tour [through] all the places where the killing was… I’m still tired from the drive of last night but I will come tomorrow,” Martello wrote Sunday. “Paris is the city of love! FOREVER! And if this terror-crazyness [sic] & fear keep going, life in Europe doesn’t make sense anymore! Religions fight with their bombs in the name of God, I fight with my piano in the name of peace.”