'I Just Twerked and Played James Madison's Flute From the 1800s'

Lizzo borrowed priceless instrument from Library of Congress for DC concert
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 28, 2022 5:20 PM CDT

Singer Lizzo is also a classically trained flautist—and she is one of the few people ever to play a crystal flute French craftsman Claude Laurent sent President James Madison as a gift for his second inauguration in 1813. Lizzo played the flute, borrowed from the Library of Congress, at a concert in Washington, DC, on Tuesday night, the BBC reports. "It's like playing out of a wine glass," she said before playing a few notes and saying, "I just twerked and played James Madison's flute from the 1800s!" The flute arrived onstage with a police escort, and Lizzo handed it to a Library of Congress curator when she was finished playing.

"We just made history tonight!" Lizzo said. "Thank you to the Library of Congress for preserving our history and making history freaking cool!" The Library of Congress says the flute, one of around 1,700 in its collection, is a "priceless instrument that Dolley Madison rescued from the White House in April 1814 as the British entered Washington, DC, during the War of 1812."

In a blog post, the library said Lizzo visited the flute vault Monday, days after Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden saw she was playing a DC concert and tagged her in a tweet, mentioning the crystal flute. Lizzo played a few notes on the crystal flute, then serenaded employees with a more practical flute from the collection. "For your friendly national library, this was a perfect moment to show a new generation how we preserve the country's rich cultural heritage," the library said. "The Library's vision is that all Americans are connected to our holdings. We want people to see them." (More Lizzo stories.)

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