Watch Sally Seltmann perform Bon Iver's 'Hey Ma' Live from Happy

Sally Seltmann Performs Bon Iver’s ‘Hey Ma’ Live from Happy


Sally Seltmann is an artist that hardly needs an introduction. A luminary of the indie scene, the singer-songwriter garnered international acclaim as New Buffalo, enjoyed numerous fruitful collaborations (including the writing of Feist’s 1234), plus, she’s had recent success in soundtrack composition, most notably for The Letdown. 

In her Live from Happy session, however, she turned toward an external source for inspiration: Hey Maby Bon Iver.

The original version of the song features Bon Iver’s trademark electronic production. In Seltmann’s version, it was completely reimagined as a lush string trio and piano arrangement by Jack Colwell.

Hey Ma was Mixed and Recorded by Radi Safi, Dan Shaw and Owen Penglis 

Hey Ma is an introspective ballad and the layers of the arrangement were spread across violin, viola and cello, where Colwell’s arrangement gave rise to dramatic crescendos, all working as a frame for Seltmann’s emotionally charged delivery. 

“I’ve always loved Bon Iver’s music,” says Seltmann. Hey Ma is a really emotional song, where I feel like I half know what it’s about but not really. You can bring your own personal life story to it.”

Check out the performance below:

Live from Happy is made possible with the help of our tech partner Sennheiser. Here’s a list of the microphones and in-ear monitors that were used to capture this incredible performance:

Live from Happy Gear List

Usually a microphone you’d find on movie sets or outdoors, the MKH 8060 was perfect for capturing the lead vocal from a distance while maintaining maximum clarity.

MKH 8060


A detailed and versatile small-diaphragm condenser, the Sennheiser MKH 40-P48 ideal for reproducing the vitality of acoustic string instruments. In this case, two were used to capture the violin and viola. 

Sennheiser MKH 40-P48


In the same family of microphones as the MKH 40-P48, the MKH 50-P48 has the same richness, while rejecting off-axis sound with precision. Perfect for capturing the tone of the cello.

MKH50 P48



The tiny, yet powerful Sennheiser MKH 8050 was used to record the stereo spread of the piano. Detailed, yet capable of reproducing all the piano’s bottom-end power.

mkh 8050


The quiet achiever of the session, the IE 100 PRO was used for Sally Seltmann’s monitoring. A discreet, yet powerful foldback solution for vocalists.

Sennheiser IE 100 pro