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From The Boston Globe
November 17, 2002

Slain Reporter Inspired Tribute
By Jenny Jiang, Globe Correspondent

Ali Sheps had never met Daniel Pearl, but her life, she said, has been changed by his story.

Like millions of others, Sheps, a 26-year-old software designer, first heard of the Wall Street Journal reporter through news of his murder at the hands of terrorists in Pakistan. However, it was the story of the 39-year-old journalist's life - his passion for music and writing and his pursuit of bridging people together - that inspired the Arlington resident.

And so for the past nine months, Sheps, and volunteers from Club Passim, a Cambridge-based nonprofit music center, spent countless hours organizing last night's benefit concert, ''Universal Language: A Musical Tribute to Daniel Pearl'' that raised more than $18,000 for a foundation created in Pearl's memory.

''I was just incredibly touched by his story, the tragedy of what happened. I was reading about how gentle he was as a person, and the juxtaposition between the way he lived and died was so profound,'' said Sheps. ''I wanted to do something to celebrate his life.''

''Ten months ago, we thought of him as Mr. Pearl. Then Daniel Pearl. Today, he is Danny,'' said Betsy Siggins, executive director of Club Passim, who says she has come to know Pearl the person through her involvement in the project.

''The concert spoke clearly of the healing power of music,'' Siggins said.

More than 400 attended the concert, at the Old South Meeting House in Boston last night, which featured an array of music, including classical, bluegrass, and folk, that reflected Pearl's own diverse musical interests, organizers said.

''We're remembering him in a language that he loved and was very good at,'' said Christopher Lydon, the former host of ''The Connection'' radio talk show, who hosted the concert.

Todd Mack, Pearl's close friend and a former bandmate in the folk-rock band, Cosmic Gypsies, found a cardboard box from ''Pearl Arts and Craft'' while rehearsing backstage and deemed it a sign of Pearl's presence. ''The ghost of Danny Pearl,'' Mack said, drawing laughter from the audience. ''Danny is in the building.''

Mack and bandmate Dave Keehn, also known as Cosmic Jack, was the opening act and played three songs, accompanied by tapes of Pearl's fiddle and mandolin recordings.

''If Danny were here, he'd be making fun of us. It's like karaoke,'' Mack said. ''We'll call it Danny-oke.''

The Daniel Pearl Foundation, formed a few weeks after his death in February, works to promote justice and cross-cultural understanding - just as Pearl has tried to accomplish through his writing and music.

''We didn't want to have Danny's life end on a sad note. We wanted to continue his legacy in a positive way,'' Tamara Pearl, Daniel's sister, who is the vice president of the foundation, told the Globe earlier this week.

This story ran on page B6 of the Boston Globe on November 17, 2002.

 
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