Songbird – written & performed by Joie de Winter – a wonderful friend of mine!
I first saw one of her songs/ other videos (Butterfly Belly) in early January (yes, not long ago).. and immediately fell in love with that song..It reached deep. So nervously I wrote to her on facebook, and offered to do a music video for her. I had met Joie a few times before in person at OneSpirit dance event (New Year’s eve) and at friends home, few months ago. But to all intents we were just passing acquaintances.
I then captured her online home video, did a bit of fancy fades/ editing..and posted it back to show her (kind of a `trying to show what I can do and impress her’ cos I really was compelled to work with her… and nervous she may think I am some random guy who’s trying out a flirty line).
But she was thrilled by the video..and said yes! And I was elated!
So last week, we met in London, went to St.James park..and filmed her performing many of her songs and poems.. What a bonus..I was only expecting just one song..and a few hours.. But we were there from 11am till about 6pm I think.. There were so many little synchronous magical moments.. conversations and such.. There was that moment of her offering crunched up stingy nettle leaves for me to chew! And another of her munching on Daffodil flower stalk.. after strumming guitar with it..and doing a spontaneous song for a word I just blurted out!). It was a journey of discovery and friendship..and filming and co-creating.. Hard to pin in all down .
Other things kept us busy..but few days ago, we met again – at my home.. to watch all the clips/ video we had filmed.. Had lots of teas, snacks…my mother & sister popped in and out of the sitting room.. Mum offered more snacks.. We plays some of her music.. Well, Joie sang and played guitar and I just sat mesmerised..and drummed a bit to it.. (and she was okay with that).. Then we began editing.. And by the evening, we had worked on the first 50 seconds of a 4min song! It was kind of late so I dropped her off. (same local town!)
The next day she arrived I told her to tell me to shut up if I talked too much.. and we had a spontaneous plan to go to local park.. But half way that changed too…and we ended up in a local nature place.. It had been frosty..and cold..and waters had frozen.. Steam was coming off our breaths!
And we filmed more of her wonderful performances – as she climbed up a fallen large tree stretched over a frozen small pond! (there were some nervous moments for me..when I thought she was going to slip and fall in! Primary Camera- set up further away- was already rolling ..so it caught many of our funny, tricky slippery moments – and yes, we are saving all that for some `behind the scenes’ videos to share later!
We got home.. she made me nettle tea (yeah.. I went from chewing nettle leaf to drinking it in tea..It was okay – for my first time!). Day 3 was different now.. we were not strangers any more.. It’s a different kind of familiarity.. that comes of conversations that go deep into our pasts..and acknowledging one another’s journeys in life.. trials, pains, lessons and triumphs!
So more editing…this time…late into the night.. !
I don’t normally edit with others…am more of a solitary video editor.. have been so for many years (apart from fan videos that I have done ..worked with my sister).. but I offered to edit together, and Joie was thrilled to experience the process…and I think it drew her in more..added to the whole process of singing, filming, creating.
I had stressed many times the importance of her being fully involved (if he wants to) and having creative control.. It’s her song, her performance..her soul that we are showing to the world.. So she should have the full say in how it’s done.
And it was better that I expected. I showed her all the editing functions.. She’s already an experienced graphics artist/ 3D animator so she just got involved with the editing.. Formalities were thrown out the sofa ..and creativity flowed.. She’d work the mouse-pad on my laptop and I would work the mouse.. so at times I think the poor cursor on my laptop didn’t know which way to go.. But it was all good…
And then just before midnight the video was done.. she typed the `message’ at the end of it herself.. all her energy.. and we hit render…and then we watched it all.. the first full version.. and were just blown away by it.. and 5 mins to midnight, we began uploading it to her youtube channel.. (she hit the upload button… cos that’s how it’s gotta be!)
Outside it was cold…night sky was clear ..stars were bright.. all the ground and car windows covered in frost! I sort of told her off for using her hands & oyster card to scrape the ice off car windscreen.. There’s a scraper for that and it’s my job.. Hands that play so beautifully the guitar should be kept safe and warm.. :-) (not that she is weak or anything. She has strong hands.. but I just got protective!)
By the time I had dropped her home, and back to mine, the video was done uploading.. and ready for the world to see..
And this is it! First of many more to come..!
Thank you Joie, for your gifts of Heartsongs. 20 days ago I didn’t know you…and now I can’t ever forget you!
-Mani Navasothy (the fan!)