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In 'Black Stars,' Xenia Rubinos Memorializes Many Lives In One

Xenia Rubinos' latest album is <em>Black Terry Cat</em>.
Courtesy of the artist
Xenia Rubinos' latest album is Black Terry Cat.

When Xenia Rubinos' father was suffering from Parkinson's disease, she flew to Florida every month to visit, pick up groceries, take him to appointments, and check in with his caregivers. It was an emotional time that inspired the song "Black Stars" from her album Black Terry Cat, in which she sings, "He's a million black stars / And he's gonna live a million years."

"One of the last times I spoke to my dad, he told me this story of when he was a kid. It was about him living for a really long time, and that is one of the last memories I have of us laughing together because it was such an absurd and funny story," she says.

"I was also really inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement that was happening at that time. ... As I was going back to listen to the lyrics, they started to take on this new meaning as I was thinking about all the lives that were lost. I'd heard this thing about when you look up at the night sky, you might be looking at the light of the stars that no longer exist: that they've died, but their light is still shining. And I thought that was the perfect definition of what a black star is."

Hear more of her story, as told to Weekend Edition Sunday, at the audio link.

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NPR Staff