Tell us the story of this song, why did you choose to visualize this song specifically in this way?
This song began as images that came to me. I imagined a group of displaced families struggling to find a safe home again. I saw their agony as well as the light in their eyes and relief as they settled into a safe place. I imagined the fear in a mother’s heart relax as she watched her child playing in a world where without war or walls. I wanted to show not only the
pain and hardship of the refugee, but also the spirit of resourcefulness, courage and power of the human spirit that has really been part of the human story since the beginning. That strength that keeps us all walking, sailing, and riding throughout the ages towards a better life
What was the inspiration behind this video (visuals, storyline, etc.)?
The song “Refugee “came first. Most of the lyrics seemed to flow, but at one point I was unsure how to continue. Around that time my sister in law, an excellent film maker had just finished a documentary on the Syrian refugees. Seeing the footage and looking into the faces of the people helped open up the rest of the song for me. As a singer songwriter it was kind of cool to experience first seeing it all in my mind’s eye, then telling that story musically and then exploring how to help it come to life on film. I did not plan in advance to make a music video, but it just unfolded. The recording was produced by the excellent Washington DC producer Marco Delmar and features talented DC artists playing tabla and wooden flutes. The audio track was featured and reviewed as well in several blogs. It was part of my EP, “Long Road Home” and will be included in my upcoming 2020 album release, “Breakfast With Buddha.”
With the visuals, I tried to allow the integrity of my original song influence the images we chose. I wanted to take the viewer on a journey alongside the refugee through short fleeting scenes that illustrated the changing emotions of people on the run. Families that feel tossed out, discarded by the world. It was important to me that the visuals evolved from despair and desolation to hope, optimism and the joy. I wanted to help the viewer feel swept up in the emotion and leave the video feeling more connected and compassion towards our shared humanity. Beyond the walls and wars and politics lies the simple day to day life of people just like us trying to do the best they can searching for freedom and a better life.
What was the process of making this video?
I was fortunate to have a talented college film student, Mira Malcolm produce the video for me. We worked closely together over a period of a couple of months choosing footage that told the story. All the footage was free stock video. We had a wealth to choose from and it was quite enjoyable (and addictive) to help Mira collect interesting footage options. The black and white photos from the NY library collection helped show the refugee through time. Mira did a beautiful job of capturing the emotional essence of the song and my vision on film. My ancestors came over on the boats from Russia and Poland as refugees onto Ellis Island at the turn of the last century. So I certainly carry the story of the refugee within my soul.
As a woman and an artist, I am committed to using my musical compositions and recordings to bring inspiration to a world in need of the healing power of music.