Why Music Matters: Orthopedic Surgeon Dr. Divya Singh – The Waltz of the O.R.

Despite her name, orthopedic surgeon Dr. Divya Singh is not a singer. (Singh is derived from the Sanskrit word for lion.) But music plays an important role in her operating room, even before she begins surgery.

Listen to the story:

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Watch a video of inside Dr. Singh’s musical O.R.:

Dr. Singh’s OR Playlist (selections from 700 songs):

Song Artist
Tom Traubert’s Blues Tom Waits
Cannonball The Breeders
Pink Cadillac Bruce Springsteen
Dance Away Bryan Ferry & Roxy Music
The Guns of Brixton The Clash
A Rush of Blood to the Head Coldplay
December Collective Soul
Try a little Tenderness The Commitments
Brick House Commodores
Black & Blue Counting Crows
Italian Plastic Crowded House
Ringa Ringa Slumdog Millionaire Soundtrack
Jai Ho Slumdog Millionaire Soundtrack
Rebellion (Lies) Arcade Fire
Keep the Car Running Arcade Fire
The Suburbs Arcade Fire
Chain of Fools Aretha Franklin
The Love Cats The Cure

The Breeders’ “Cannonball” is played in Dr. Singh’s operating room! Here’s the song at South by Southwest in 2008:

Music used in this piece: “A Taste of Honey” by The Beatles, “Tom Traubert’s Blues” by Tom Waits, “Cannonball” by The Breeders, “Speak to me/Breathe” and “Brain Damage” by by Pink Floyd.

Special thanks to Group Health Cooperative for access to the operating room.

More stories in the Why Music Matters story series. Just what the doctor ordered.

Produced by Anna Boiko-Weyrauch, 2010 AIR Live Interactive Resident. Editorial oversight by Kevin Cole. Mastered by Matt Ogaz. Live Interactive is a collaboration of KEXP and AIR, the Association of Independents in Radio with financial support from AIR members worldwide, Recovery.gov, and the National Endowment for the Arts which believe a great nation deserves great art.

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  1. Jason Gilmore
    Posted December 13, 2010 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

    That’s so cool. Love seeing professional people who love music as much as I do. Rock On Dr. Singh!

  2. Robert Roy
    Posted December 15, 2010 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

    Doctor you Rock!

  3. Glenda Barlow
    Posted December 28, 2010 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

    Working in MRI, we also get to listen to music, often chosen by the patient, but none the less it’s music. One of the perks!
    Loved this story.

  4. Christine O'Connell
    Posted August 5, 2011 at 8:42 am | Permalink

    I enjoyed reading / hearing this post. I wonder what music Dr. Singh will be playing on Monday when I have my trigger thumb surgery?!

  5. Jerry Middaugh
    Posted March 18, 2016 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

    Best wishes abroad Dr Singh! Thanks so much for fixing my shattered wrist. I’m playing daily now (guitar & banjo). You’re the best! Take some tunes along :).

  6. Dallas Hayes
    Posted June 30, 2017 at 6:41 am | Permalink

    Had the privilege of meeting Dr. Singh for the first time today. Amazing Doctor. It’s always amazing how music brings everyone together. As soon as she said “Seattle” I said “KEXP” – great conversation starter. Thank you KEXP & Dr. Singh for all you do.

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