Watch + Listen: Lili Haydn + Norton Wisdom Collab on a ‘Sayonara’ to the Disgraced President
For those who aren’t familiar with Lili Haydn, such a shame – as her bio reads like that of the unbelievably cool person everyone should want to be friends with.
Consider these few tidbits; Born in Canada, her video artist dad was one of the first people to mass produce LSD. Allowed to choose her own name as a child, she picked Helicopter. As a toddler in the 70’s she and her mother lived briefly in a California commune/cult. A tween actress, she was in the ’80s series Mrs. Columbo. Now a Grammy winning songwriter/violinist, she’s performed with Roger Waters at Coachella, the LA Philharmonic, and Jimmy Page & Robert Plant; she also contributed to Hans Zimmer’s Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End film score, during which we could easily imagine her effortlessly bonding with Keith Richards.
So imagine our enthusiasm at the arrival of her new single ‘Sayonara’ (from her upcoming album More Love, due out this spring), especially as it is a sonorous kiss-off to the soon-to-be-over nightmare we’ve been living with for the last four years. And while the ominous but optimistic track showcases Lili’s plaintive vocals and exhilarating violin playing over a sultry trip-hop beat, we were especially taken with the accompanying video. In it, artist Norton Wisdom is seen painting a portrait inspired – of course – by the song, but in time lapse (because, obviously, no one can actually paint that fast).
“Even though we use different mediums,” elaborates Wisdom, a longtime friend of Haydn, “our collective output is seamlessly joined by a passion of purpose. When we collaborate, the walls that separate our independent disciplines fade away to leave us cooperatively focused on what we feel is important: human beings working together to expose injustice and inequality, while creating something that merges beauty with the social conscience, in order to leave a record of who we are as a society.”
No stranger to working within the context of socially and politically charged themes, Haydn has also composed music for the provocative Amazon series Transparent, as well as documentaries about Anita Hill and RBG (the latter, titled Ruth, is already stirring up buzz). And ‘Sayonara’ very much draws from our current political quagmire.
“I wanted this song to come out before the inauguration for obvious reasons,” Haydn states, “but Trump is a symptom of a larger phenomenon of fear and domination, which didn’t begin with him, and won’t end with him. He stokes the flames of darkness, and I’m happy to say ‘sayonara’ to him – but we need to move forward with compassion, inclusion, understanding… The song is a prayer for peace, but with the hard-won belief that it begins with taking a stand.”
So long, farewell, auf wiedersehen, goodbye…