South African photographer and director Chris Saunders recently worked on Rudimental and Major Lazer's new collaborative intercontinental music video for their new song "Let Me Live".
The song is a global alliance of music artists, including English drum and bass band Rudimental, American electronic dance music trio Major Lazer, alongside guest vocals from Nigerian rapper Mr Eazi, and English singer and songwriter Anne-Marie.
"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,” says Saunders.
“The band (Rudimental) 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,” adds Saunders.
Showcasing local talent
He 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," he says.
He has immersed himself in South 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. “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,” says Saunders.
He also commissioned 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.
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