Writing and Studying Music

Writing and Studying Music


Meet Ben Palpant, a Teacher and Writer from Kenya, Africa.
“It turns out that there are a lot of people like me who are wearied by the bling and bang of modernity and who need a musical sanctuary. These songs remind me to slow down and to listen.”

First Tell me about yourself. What's your name? Where are you from? What do you do for work?

My name is Ben Palpant. I grew up in Kenya, Africa, as a missionary kid but have spent the last twenty years in the Pacific Northwest. I’ve given my life to teaching and writing since graduating from Whitworth University. I’m a third culture kid, obviously, so I have many influences in my blood. The passionate soul of Africa mixes with folk songs.


What music did you grow up listening to as a young kid?

I wandered the clay footpaths of Africa as a barefoot kid and continued to wander the streams of the Pacific Northwest, fishing and canoeing when I came state side. I think that’s one reason why mysterious and quieter soundtracks have always moved me more than the Pirate’s of the Caribbean bombast. That being said, I still have a pretty eclectic taste. At least, I like to think so. I still haven’t ventured very far into Screamo music or G-funk or Grime.

Name one of your favorite albums of all time?

My favorite non-soundtrack albums include, “Joshua Tree” (U2), “Graceland” (Paul Simon), and “The Burning Edge of Dawn” (Andrew Peterson). From Mark Knopfler and Sting to Rich Mullins, I love them all in different ways and they each feed my writing in different ways.


How did the playlist come to be?

I don’t write well without some kind of music in the background (I’m too distractible, maybe), so I built this playlist to capture the simple and melodic beauty that moves me most. I built it for me, not knowing that it would appeal to so many people and not knowing it would grow to more than 24 hours of listening pleasure.


What is your favorite quote? Or do you have a life slogan?


“I waited patiently for the Lord; And he inclined to me, and heard my cry. He also brought me out of a horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my steps.” - Psalm 40