Peel, a musician known for her work with the Magnetic North and a variety of ambitious solo projects, had been watching her grandmother slowly slip into dementia for years. From the early befuddlement of lost objects, items she thought stolen, to the run of confusions and contradictions that led to her eventual diagnosis, it was a deeply distressing experience for the family.
Then one Christmas, having read about the positive effect music can have on people with dementia, Peel wondered if she could connect with her gran through some of her most familiar songs. 'I said to my dad: 'Why don't we sing to her and see what happens?' And from a place of not knowing us at all ' from giving her Christmas gifts and her saying, 'Oh thank you, what's this for?' ' she completely woke up and started singing the lyrics. She was aware of what was going on around her. As we left she said: 'Happy Christmas!''