Leon Bridges and Jon Batiste came together to perform Bridges’ heart-wrenching track “River” for the “In Memoriam” portion of the 73rd Emmy Awards. The two harmonized on guitar and vocals, as the names and images of the influential individuals in the entertainment industry who died over the past year were projected on the walls around them.
The performance opened with a video of Larry King, who said, “I don’t know what to say, except to you, my audience, but thank you… and instead of goodbye… so long.” After which Bridges and Batiste began to sing the intro to the track. As the slideshow played the two musicians took their time playing the steady and lovely composition allowing viewers to internalize the memories of the lives lost.
As the four-minute In Memoriam musical performance continued Batistie seamlessly switched instruments from guitar to piano, as the two quietly sang “I want to know/ Want to know/ Want to know” as the late actor Cicely Tyson said in a short video, “I want you to know, that I would not be here if it was for each and every one of you, I am everlastingly grateful.”
The performance was both solemn and refined; the music eloquently accompanied the feelings of loss and admiration for the recently departed.
Find the full In Memoriam roster here.
Watch the performance below: