Rainforest by Motorbike, Sydenham in the Rain

in Interview/Music/Spotlight

Pandorasdiary describes her musical adventures as bohofolk. This is a musical diary collaborating with musicians from around the world. She regularly performs her own original music on the street, at house concerts and festivals. Since living in Indonesia for over eight years, she continues to perform Indonesian folk music, and writes in Indonesian and English.

TST: Can you tell me something about making the video?

PD: September 2014 My friend, Anya, who is an independent film maker saw a homemade video from the jungle in North Sumatra of me collaborating with some musician friends there. It happened to be her favourite song of mine “Game for Two”, and she suggested we should travel to Bukit Lawang and record the song and make a music video about it.  In January 2015, we recorded the guide track and drums with Brasilian drummer Fabricio Azevado at Tigersonic, London. In February, I travelled with Anya and my son Tino to Medan in Sumatra.  We spent a week filming around Bukit Lawang, a village on the edge of the Gunung Leuser National Park, an area famous as being home to Sumatran orangutans.  One of my favourite shots is when we visited a waterfall in the rainforest by motorbike, and two of our friends ended up doing backflips off a log.  In the 2nd week, we travelled to Medan, a busy city in Medan, where we filmed and recorded the guitar and bass with local musicians, John Retno, Pandi Blues Bear and Jungle Lilik.

My friend, Rhianna Lakin aka Amelia Dronehart, is a professional drone pilot and also has a connection to Bukit Lawang. She was named Vice Human of the Year in 2018 for her activist work with drones. She had some awesome drone footage of the rainforest 🙂  Back in the UK, we had run out of cash for the project which we had been funding from our own pockets.  We ran a crowdfunding campaign which raised £1280 and perks included planting trees on the border of the rainforest to stop wild animals from going to farms and ending up being killed.  I went back into the studio and recorded English and Indonesian versions of the song.

We had lots of breaks because Anya and I were busy with other work, so in 2017, the track was finally complete, and Anya found a rapper called K.Sparks in New York who added a middle eigtht. We then recorded with Maya Curry with her funky flute responding to the guitar and rap, and it was complete. We also filmed a section in London in Sydenham Forest with another drone operator – it was pouring with rain, which kind of fit the mood. The scene where we are lying down, we are literally lying in a puddle with a drone hovering five inches over our faces!  Our New York footage was shot in late 2017 and in September 2018, it was finally finished, but we felt very conflicted about how to let this baby go. It had taken four years to complete, and lots of time and money invested.

TST: Tell us about the song

PD: The song is about saying goodbye to love, accepting the end of a relationship, and grieving. It is a painful song which I wrote after a break-up, but it also signals hope and acceptance. There are two versions – in English “Game for Two” and “Permainan Berdua” in Indonesian. The lyrics are very similar.  The UK video describes the universal different stages of relationships, of love, loss, and new hope across the Atlantic with star-crossed lovers in New Orleans, longing in New York and acceptance (or revenge?) in New York. The Indonesian video is more of a collage of how universal these feelings are, how we may live in different places around the world, but we are all connected.

TST: The piece is very multi-layered – does this reflect your life. I feel it reflects our complex experiences and that is refreshing with our multinational lives when we are looking for art to be a kind of mirror to reflect ourselves.

PD: Yes, I consider myself as having three homes – North Sumatra, London and Munich (Germany), I feel at home everywhere, and yet I’m always missing some part of me. I think Anya is very similar to me, she is based in London, comes from Russia and feels at home in New Orleans. So the collage in the Indonesian video shows both our backgrounds, and how every person experiences love, loss and longing.

UK version:

Indonesian version:

UK version https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ho-0z80GYrc
Indonesian version https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZYdhYLGk1nQ

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