London A Cappella (1) – The London Song
by June Caravel, November 27th, 2011
So there I am at the corner of Down Place and Bridge Avenue next to Hammersmith on my bike and the lyrics and melody of “I’m at a Down Place on a Bridge Avenue” pop in my head like magic. So I record them on my faithful dictaphone which never leaves me. And then I keep humming it all along the way. And then on my way back, I pass in front of Dalling Road. Dalling, Darling and there it comes, what will become the bridge of the song: “Darling oh, don’t you want to meet me oh, oh yeah, oh-oh”. At this point I don’t know what I’m going to do with that. All I know is that I love that groove and keep humming it.
And then I start wondering if there’s a possibility of doing a song entirely based on London street names. And I start looking frantically at my map and start coming up with sentences and melodies. I soon realize I will have to use poetic license for the song to make sense but that’s fine. So days later, the song is finished. And I already think that I want to film it in every street that I mention. So I start looking at Google Maps street view to actually check that the street signs exists. Because in London, it’s not like in Paris, my hometown, you don’t have a street sign at every corner of the street and I want to be absolutely sure that when I go film it I don’t turn up to realize the sign is nowhere to be found. So it takes me hours but I finally have checked all the locations without having to go there in person which I will find out when shooting would have taken me 6 days otherwise!
And then I ask friends if they would be available to shoot. I had planned 4 days of shooting all together but some places are very far apart so sometimes it takes up to an hour and a half to get from one point to another even if I try to regroup the maximum of locations in the same area before we go to the next. Every time we shoot, it doesn’t take long. Maybe 5 to 10 mn on each location. Except for Darling road, Down place, Bridge Avenue et Blue Ball Yard which are repeated several times in the song. I wanted to make sure I had several shots of these so we spent an hour on each of these locations. 3 friends of mine have shot the video. And I will never thank them enough for their time.
And then it was time to edit it. Again I didn’t realize what an immense task it would be. Took me days to synchronize everything, pick up the right footage, teach myself because it was my first real go at editing with Final Cut… But then there it was and the reaction ever since has been so great that I don’t regret any of it. Now I still dream that it could become an anthem for the Olympics next summer, well one can dream… :)
June Caravel is a French singer-songwriter and scriptwriter who has been living in London since 2009. She is also the lead singer of the band My Car Is Black, an all female rock combo. Although I haven’t met her in person yet, she seems to be a wonderful person and I hope to meet her at London A Cappella Festival (Jan 12th-15th, 2011). If you send pictures of the places and signs of the “London Song” video to June, she promised to send you free download links for one of her songs. I love London and I love the whole idea of the video – thanks for sharing!