The Making of “My Revolution” – Recording & Video
An original song and video by RED BIRD RISING featuring musician Taras
Kuznetsov contending with the Russian invasion living in Odessa, Ukraine.
“I believe in the magic that only exists when two or more artists engage
themselves fully within the natural energy of music.”
“I have a world worn belief and faith in the power of music to significantly
change people’s lives.”
Diedrich Donald Weiss wanted to do something in response to the invasion of Ukraine by Russia. An artist from Minneapolis, MN living in Colombia, South America has little influence from a far.
But Weiss wrote “My Revolution”. He shared it with producer, musician and mixing engineer Mariano Cukierman whom he’d recently collaborated with on a song. Cukierman, an Argentinian whose studio is in Buenos Aires, agreed it would be right to find an artist in Ukraine to sing it.
Weiss discovered Taras Kuznetsov’s profile on the remote musician website SoundBetter. He liked Kuzentsov’s vocal on his profile song and searched the internet to find that he and his wife Ana Pshokina are experienced live performers and studio recording artists. They could fulfill the project professionally, but there was the issue of recording during invasion conditions.
Weiss contacted Kuzentsov to learn that his studio was accessible for recording. Kuzentsov, whom speaks native level English, also felt the music fit his voice and taste and that the lyrics of “My Revolution” authentically expressed his experience. The project started to gain momentum.
Back in Buenos Aires, Cukierman took Weiss’ demo of “My Revolution” and recorded rhythm guitars, organ, electric piano and scratch bass guitar. He added fellow Argentinian Fernando Moreno on drums while keeping Weiss’ electric guitar riffs, electric piano intro melody and his backing vocals. Cukierman created a polyrhythmic rock groove with uniquely voiced guitar parts in a version that elevated the core of the track’s rhythm bed.
Hereafter, “My Revolution” came to full life in Odessa as Kuznetsov recorded lead vocals in their professional studio with Pshokina recording bass guitar. The spine of the song now completed, Kuznetsov developed a demo string arrangement to augment the dramatic movements of the track.
Weiss had previously worked with string arranger and violinist Megan Gould who lives in New York. After discussing ideas and approaches, Gould wrote the string arrangement performing on violin and viola with sessionist Eleanor Norton on cello.
With all tracking complete, Cukierman mixed the song over four sessions. Weiss participated over video chat with notes he and Kuznetsov prepared. Cukierman in real time executed the vision they together had evolved.
Early on in the project, it became clear to Weiss that a video would be most powerful to express Kuzentsov’s experience. He shared his idea with Cukierman and he connected Weiss to filmmaker Flor Giardino in Buenos Aires. Giardino had recently made a short film with dancer and choreographer Melina Ascune called Exclama. When Weiss viewed this film on Giardino’s website, the connection between the dance and the inner experience of the song’s lyrics was uncannily synchromatic. Even more, the location of the shots on the rocky banks of a large body of water in Buenos Aires looked similar to the shores of Odessa on the Black Sea. Giardino and Ascune gave Weiss permission to use the Exclama shots in the video.
Kuznetsov and Weiss then collaborated on the story for the video. Kuznetsov and Pshokina shot in multiple locations in Odessa. From here, Weiss edited the video using the Exclama dance shots, the Odessa shots from Kuznetsov and Pshokina, and footage found from sites such as Dattalion, which is an archive of video stories documenting the invasion, and Ukraiine Today on Telegram, the frequently used social media site for people sharing about the invasion. Giardino as Colorist then completed the final master of the video.
The video production in Odessa called for video to be shot in public, both during the day, and at night. The bombings by Russian missiles to Odessa’s energy infrastructure after the explosion on the Crimea Bridge made collaboration on the video more difficult with Taras having less access to electricity and internet. But when there was electricity and internet, Taras and Diedrich together fulfilled the visual story that felt needed to be told.
Naturally, personal connections evolved with such commitment and trust essential to creating what is a deeply personal and artistically powerful piece of music and video. At the heart of this project is each artist, from Colombia, Argentina, the United States, and Ukraine, rising to pull everything they as artists have within them engaging personally and passionately as if all in one studio together.
March 2022 – December 2022
Songwriter/Diedrich Donald Weiss
Producer/Mariano Cukierman, Diedrich Donald Weiss
Mixing Engineer/Mariano Cukierman
Mastering Engineer/Pablo Peyrano, Greg Reierson
Lead Vocal/Taras Kuznetsov
Bass Guitar/Ana Pshokina
Electric Guitar/Mariano Cukierman, Diedrich Donald Weiss
Acoustic Guitar/Mariano Cukierman
Synth Keyboard/Mariano Cukierman
Electric Piano & Organ/Mariano Cukierman
Backing Vocals/Diedrich Donald Weiss
String Arrangement/Megan Gould
Violin & Viola/Megan Gould
Producer/Diedrich Donald Weiss
Director/Diedrich Donald Weiss, Taras Kuznetsov, Flor Giardino
Writer/Diedrich Donald Weiss, Taras Kuznetsov
Editor/Diedrich Donald Weiss, Flor Giardino
Video Music Mixing Engineer/Mariano Cukierman
Video Music Mastering Engineer/Pablo Peyrano, Greg Reierson
Dance & Choreography/Melina Ascune
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