By: Nosipho Mkhize
A multicultural and vibrant music video has just come out on our screens and it is making a point to shake things up and move us in a way never comprehended before. Chris Saunders, a South African photographer and director, is the mastermind behind the creation of this dance-focussed music video and the results of this 6 month project are evidently amazing. Many pop artists use dance to enhence their performances, but Saunders has brought in new dimentions in this video. With an intercontinental collaboration on the music itself with Rudimental and Major Lazar featuring Anne-Marie and Mr Eazi, there was no chance that the music video would be any different.
Rudimental and Anne-Marie are from the UK, Major Lazer from the US and Mr Eazi is from Nigeria, but understandably enough, most of the video was shot in Johannesburg, South Africa with only a few parts shot in London. The market on Ridley Road in London and the M2 bridge, in the Johannesburg CBD, are places with a vibrant multicultural identity and proved to be a perfect setting for the artists to express themselves and for the vision of Saunders to come alive.
The song “Let Me Live” is an expression of ones desire to be oneself and live ones life to the fullest, without any limitations or external pressures of the world. This video displays just that. With all contributions that came into producing this video, the collaborations between musicians, dancers and designers are seen through the display of street culture, innovative fashion, mix of colour, style and personality. The taxis, the craits, the markets, the jackets, the pink gusheshe with a female driver, Stacey Lee May, all makes a statement of owning ones identity and living it out. Having Welile ‘Artchild’ Gumede as the gqom dance choreographer, together with Thomas Motsapi and Kgotsofalang Mavundla on the pansula dance choreography, the director wanted to make sure this music video would be explosive, and it is! Everyone was able to tell their own story, bringing in their own culture, history and identity through the respectful direction of Chris Saunders.
Make sure to check the video for yourself on the link bellow and share with us your thoughts.
South African photographer and director, Chris Saunders is the creative talent behind the superb intercontinental music video ‘Let Me Live’, a collaboration between Rudimental and Major Lazer launching globally this month.
Saunders says: “This project was a six month developmental process because we wanted to do something really disruptive; really different. We shot about 30% of the video in London’s Ridley road where there is a diverse multicultural market.
“The band is from nearby Hackney so that created relevance and the remainder of the piece was completed in downtown Johannesburg under the M2 bridge flyover with more than 40 dancers and taxis converging on this public space.”
Watch Rudimental here
Saunders is as passionate about his performances as he is about the performers: “The main thing for me was to work with SA performers and showcase how they should be treated. A lot of international and local pop stars treat performing artists in this country very unprofessionally.
“You are working with people’s cultures, their livelihood; you have to pay them properly. It’s important to be conscientious about their backgrounds and their history; hire choreographers from within their cultures. Dancing is fundamental to their lifestyles and a serious part of their identities and how they grew up.”
Saunders has immersed himself in African dance and performance culture over the course of his career and saw this video as an opportunity to allow local dancers to express their own unique talents. Saunders sees himself as a conduit, assisting his collaborators to tell their own stories and define themselves; a belief that is clearly revealed in the original dance choreography for the video.
“These dancers are seldom asked for their artistic views and this was a chance to work with great performers in a more consultative and respectful way.”
Saunders commissioned multi-talented, award-winning director Batandwa Alperstein, better known as TAKEZITO, to create an insightful Behind the Scenes documentary about the process of creating the music video with a view to encouraging cultural collaboration and respect.
The song is a global alliance of music artists: The UK’s Rudimental and Anne-Marie, the US’s Major Lazer and Nigeria’s rapper Mr Eazi. The result is a vibrant blend of street culture; innovative fashion, dance and attitude, all to a tune that is sure to dominate the airwaves.
SOUTH AFRICAN PRODUCTION
Tamzyn Botha aka. Tamzyn Limb
Nao Serati & Tamzyn Botha
DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY
BELIEVE HEAD OF PRODUCTION
Bevan Agyemang, Laurie Hadleigh
MAJOR LAZER STYLIST
Phoebe- Lettice Thompson
MR EAZI STYLIST
Orli Merli (Lampost)
Mimi Duma (Lampost)
Thomas Motsapi & Kgotsofalang Mavundla from Impilo Mapantsula
Tshepo Mashego, Thomas Motsapi (Choreographer), Mjabulo Zaba, Doctor
Welile Artchild Gumede
Welile Artchild Gumede (Choreographer), Ayanda Mkhize, Boniwe Gaga, Ntokozo
Lebo Otukile ( Fakamatah) Alonzo Strauss
Stacey Lee May