I'm a Canadian singer-songwriter and filmmaker. My songs, films and videos cross musical and even geographical boundaries.
Here are some of my thoughts about a few of the songs on The Sun Is Rising and Other True Stories and my short film In Everyone's Eyes:
If every song is about something...
...how many Latin-inspired dance tunes are about free speech and human rights?
And why aren't there any Cuban eyes in my film "In Everyone's Eyes"?
I'm frequently asked this latter question and the answer was nicely paraphrased by a Cuban friend who I asked to participate in the film. Would she agree to be filmed for just a few seconds from behind, while never revealing her face? "No", she replied. "It's complicated." However unlikely it would be for her to be identified, the ingrained fear became clear to me at that moment.
It's dangerous to speak openly against the State in Cuba, and it's been this way for generations. Everyone complies, or faces the consequences: not being allowed to work at your job or profession is one of the milder ones; detention, beatings, and prison sentences are others.
And so the eyes you see hovering over the Modelo Prison at the film's end are mine.
The song In Everyone's Eyes started to write itself in my head as I walked along bustling 23rd Street near La Rampa, in Havana. I completed it a week or so later in the eastern town of Bayamo where the Cuban national anthem was written.
The studio recording of 'In Everyone's Eyes' started in Canada, and continued in Managua where I met Nicaraga's musical icon Luis Enrique Mejia Godoy. Luis Enrique generously organized the session, bringing in his trumpet and horn players and his percussionista.
During the session, I mentioned that I'd like to make a film of the song. And how a friend imagined me walking down the malecon, with women with fruit in their hair on either arm! I knew that was impossible. Participating in a counter-revolutionary video could have terrible consequences for Cubans...
"We have a malecon here! You can make it in Managua," exclaimed one of the musicians.
But I know the esplanade along the waterfront in Managua - and the one in Havana, where waves crash over the seawall and fly high in the air, hanging suspended in time before before crashing to the wet pavement. Where the sea air can be cool and breezy, or blistering hot and stifling. And there's people hanging out, walking around...
I thought about this.
"Well," I said, "it just wouldn't be the same. You know, without the malecon in Havana."
There's no place I've ever been that's like Havana. Or any other place in Cuba, when you get right down to it. With its own twists and turns, warmth and paranoia, rules, and how to get around them.
The short film 'In Everyone's Eyes' did get made. In Cuba. Totalmente en Cuba. And not only on the malecon, but inside the Modello Prison on the Isla de la Juventude, in small towns like Remedios, and of course in Havana.
Now in it's 3rd year of film festival screenings, you can see the trailer on the homepage, the lyrics on SONGS page and screening dates on CALENDAR. Perhaps it'll play at a film festival near you. It's also the first single from the CD, available at CDBaby.com and others, just click on STORE.
Do You Hear The Nightingales has that full band feel, a chorus to harmonize with, and a cool 50's piano in backround. And that's Jenna Glatt on backing vocals.
Goth Bar...kinda Lou Reed meets Leonard Cohen and then some - but I bet you figured that one out for yourself.
Truth...for those days when there isn't any in the immediate vicinity. Tenor James O'Farrell provides his powerful backing vocals.
The Sun Is Rising and December 12 8 are the soundtrack of my second film "The Sun Is Rising" - more info on the FILMS IN FESTIVALS page.
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words & music by Lloyd Frost © Blue Plazuela Music Inc. (SOCAN)