Monday, January 16, 2012

Forgotten Promises

Last week, I had an interesting opportunity.

Wednesday afternoon, I was forwarded an email asking for 100 volunteers to show up for a music video shoot and do some basic body percussion. Sami Yusuf, a London-based pop star and UN Celebrity Partner, was making a video to bring awareness of the drought-stricken people of the Horn of Africa. His song is called Forgotten Promises.

The person in charge of the volunteers for this project was Keith Terry, who I mentioned in my last post. An interesting spot of coincidence there... Anyways, since I had the time and interest in body percussion, I drove there the next day.

We wound up with about 42 people, well-short of 100 but considering how hard it was to coordinate what we had, 100 would have been insane.

First we all learned the pattern, played with our hands on our thighs. It turned out to be very close to a pattern we play in a song in SJT, so I picked it up right away. Keith added a trill every couple of bars and asked those who were comfortable with that addition to be in the front rows. I started off on the side, because being a tall sort I didn't want to block people behind me, but I was told to stand dead-center in the second row. Sorry people behind me!

Once we were in formation of rows and columns, we started playing along to the music, which proved the hardest thing to do. The pattern was relatively simple, but doing it it in time to the music was not! Even if each one of us were drummers, it would have been hard - and I don't think most people had a percussion background, so it took a very long time to get us all in sync. Eventually, after about a dozen practice runs, we did another dozen or so real shots from different angles.

I'm not sure when the video will be coming out, but it's supposed to air on MTV and the BBC when it does. Our section is about 15 seconds - pretty short - but it was a very unique experience and a chance to help a noble cause. If you're interesting in learning more about Sami and his project, you can go here. When the video is up, I'll link it here!


Edit: Here's the video! I'm only in a couple of snippets near the very end, but the whole video bears watching.

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