WASHINGTON, D.C. — History rocked in Washington D.C. Tuesday night, when singer and flutist Lizzo took a moment to play a crystal flute once owned by former President James Madison on stage.
In a video the singer posted to Twitter, Lizzo is presented the flute by the Library of Congress. She brings it to the microphone, and before playing says to the audience: “It’s crystal. It’s like playing out of a wine glass. Be extremely patient.” The text accompanying the video said: “NOBODY HAS EVER HEARD THIS FAMOUS CRYSTAL FLUTE BEFORE. NOW YOU HAVE.”
Warning: Video contains explicit language
The flute that Lizzo played on stage is one of more than 1,800 in the Library of Congress’ collection. The flute was made in 1813 specifically for James Madison by a French flute-maker in honor of the president’s second inauguration, NPR reported.
In its blog, the Library of Congress said the priceless instrument was rescued by Dolley Madison from the White House in April 1814 when the British entered Washington, D.C. during the War of 1812.
Lizzo was invited to come see the flute by Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden, who saw that Lizzo was coming to Washington, D.C. for a concert and tweeted her, saying: “The @librarycongress has the largest flute collection in the world with more than 1,800 … Like your song they are ‘Good as hell.’
Lizzo responded just 24 hours later, saying: “IM COMING CARLA! AND IM PLAYIN THAT CRYSTAL FLUTE!!!!!”
Lizzo made good on her promise, and visited the Library of Congress’ flute vault on Monday before her Tuesday show. Photos shared in the Library of Congress blog show Lizzo playing various flutes and looking at music.
Lizzo is an accomplished flutist, having learned to play the instrument in grade school — first learning by ear and then getting private lessons, according to NPR.
On stage, Lizzo was visibly excited and awed by the flute. “I just twerked and played James Madison’s flute from the 1800s. We just made history tonight. Thank you to the Library of Congress for preserving our history and making history freaking cool. History is freaking cool guys.”
The flute returned to its home at the Library of Congress after the show, thanks to an escort from the Capitol Police.
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