Friday, February 24, 2012

Peponi

All deep things are song. It seems somehow the very central essence of us, song; as if all the rest were but wrappages and hulls! –Thomas Carlyle


Available from The Piano Guys, on iTunes and at Amazon.

I was hooked from the first note. The music speaks for itself. But just in case you'd like to know the backstory, I heisted this from the Piano Guys.

The story behind the song:
Each time we write/arrange a tune we take a journey. We have to admit—this journey took us a lot further than we expected. Retracing our steps reveals several factors that made this a reality. As we started arranging it we had serious writer's block. Perhaps some of the worst we've ever had. In fact, one day instead of writing we went around the entire studio with a can of WD-40 and coated every piece of metal to ensure that we were a squeak-free studio. Then on a whim we decided to back away and take an entirely new approach to the song—an African approach. It may seem random in retrospect, but at the time it was an exciting way to restart the arrangement. It was working, but our journey still was on foot until we called in Alex Boye, one of the most talented people we've ever met. Alex has this contagious energy that gave new life to the song and to us. He sings the tune in 4 different languages: Swahili, English, Yoruba (his mother's native language), and Alex's own African "scat" (we'll call it...Scafrican :shy:) Most of the words you hear are translated from the lyrics in the original Coldplay Tune. We're huge fans of Alex — We bet you are now too!
Follow Alex on Facebook

When we had finished the arrangement we all agreed that listening to it was like taking a journey to somewhere remote and ruggedly beautiful. How were we to depict this with a cello, African percussion and, most difficult of all, a grand piano? We took a risky, but oh-so-valuable turn when we called in helicopters to air-lift us and our instruments where none had gone before! (Please excuse the Trek reference). Since no one had ever done this before where were we to go for advice? Well, we can tell you that Home Depot didn't have a lot of answers (how disappointing) but we did clean them out of their strongest cable they had. We don't mind telling you that when that helicopter began lifting our brand-new-never-before-played grand piano into the air we couldn't help close our eyes and cross our fingers. We consider a blessing of Heaven that it worked. I guess we figured that if it didn't, maybe it could still be a viral video — “PIANO MOVE FAIL.” :shy:

We'd like to thank from the bottom of our hearts, Duane Fielding who offered the helicopters and SkyHawk for not dropping the piano...:faint: Half-way through the first day of shooting we discovered that, as typical guys, we had forgotten to bring ANY food or water to this remote location. We had two options: one, wrestle a mountain rodent and harvest cacti or two, starve. Duane, our head pilot, took pity on us. He took off (literally) and moments later landed in a Wendy's parking lot, ordered 5 of everything (sadly, he couldn't use the drive through)...took off again and brought us chicken sandwiches and hamburgers via airmail. Thank you Duane! Flying in your helicopter was a dream come true for us despite the lack of doors. :shy:

Filming location

All the instruments you hear are REAL instruments. We wanted to be authentic about this. The following percussion instruments were used:

Djembe (drum)
Agogo bell (like a cow bell)
Udu (the porcelain vase-looking drum)
Guiro (gourd scraper)
Djabarra (shaker)
Rain stick
Pangi seed shaker (“goat toenails” or Unas)

Credits:
Paradise (Mylo Xyloto) by Coldplay written by Guy Berryman, Jonny Buckland, Will Champion, And Chris Martin; Copyright Universal Music Mgb Songs And Upala Music, Inc.
Arrangement written and produced by Al van der Beek & Steven Sharp Nelson
Lead vocals: Alex Boye
Cello: Steven Sharp Nelson
Piano: Jon Schmidt
Percussion and backup vocals: Al van der Beek & Steven Sharp Nelson
Recorded, mixed, mastered at TPG Studios by Al van der Beek
Video filmed, edited, & produced by Paul Anderson & Tel Stewart

3 comments:

P. said...

Well, that gave me goosebumps. Some of it was thinking about the flimsy folding chair the cellist was sitting in on the edge of the cliff. I like this better than the original Coldplay version. And I love the fabric of the African instrumentalist's shirt!

Becky said...

That's a very cool song and love the story behind it all. What an accomplishment--I am so impressed!

cq4fun said...

I love Piano Guy. I subscribe to their You Tube and listen a lot of times while I'm quilting. By the way, feathers are smoother when done to Strauss waltzes. LOL