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In the loop – 5 minutes with Senay Berhe

Interview December 1 2013

Anyone who fails to recognise the art of the spoken word movement in Stockholm right now needs to pause, unwind and indulge in the dozen heartfelt stories provided by local poets armed with enough verbal ammo to knock anyone out. It’s become inevitable, the contagious art form has descended rapidly allowing major talents such as – Stocktown’s favorite lyrical genius – the Sthlm-poet Meron Mangasha to emerge at the very pinnacle of the movement. ‘Blått Blod’ (eng. Blue blood) dropped on Oct 30th (on Hemmalaget) and offers Meron’s uncensored take on the blue line metro, the line to a neighbourhood where mostly immigrants live, a multicultural Mecca of sorts. Why would someone want to write an ode to Sthlm’s metro line? Because Swedish media continuously frowns upon that area, and focuses on stereotyping the image of the North Stockholm suburbs by exclusively covering local issues and riots.

In the video for ‘Blått Blod’ the talented Sthlm-based award winning video director Senay Berhe and Meron Mangasha put their heads together offering a verbal and visual poetic masterpiece -Berhe’s work brings a mystical sentiment to Meron’s words, providing a successful marriage of both worlds and it’s visual content at its best. The appearance of the video online was met with wows making it go viral in Sweden during in Oct-Nov this year, and the film features location shots in public spaces across the blue line, displaying sultry settings all soundtracked by the soothing sounds of Mack Beats. Senay has taken immense care in depicting the various neighbourhoods in their solid empty state and the aesthetics offer a subtle beauty shooting serene stripped down settings, deserted and stranded spots full of memories.

Senay Berhe // www.senay.se

Senay Berhe // www.senay.se

To shed some light on the concept behind the video and find out more on what visual references he was drawing on, I spoke to Senay to find out more:

You’ve previously made ​​a video for Meron Mangasha’s ‘För evigt’ (= Forever) and now ‘Blått Blod’, when creating visuals for a spoken word poetry piece, what is the biggest challenge for you as a video director?

– The biggest challenge would be implementing and completing ‘Blått Blod’ just the way we had pictured it to be. We worked without a budget and didn’t have a deadline, which often prolongs the making which unfortunately was the case for us, so it took us over one and a half year to complete and finalize the piece, starting from when Meron approached me with the text to the actual result. Regardless if I’m making a music video, or a video for a poem, my goal is to create images that coincide with the lyrics and do my best in highlighting the content visually.

Screen shot of ' Blått Blod'

‘Regardless if I’m making a music video, or a video for a poem, my goal is to create images that coincide with the lyrics and do my best in highlighting the content visually.‘ (Screen Shot ‘ Blått Blod’)

How did the idea for the video come about?

– Well it was a process, at first Meron and I both had plenty ideas on how to execute the video, but we finally decided to go for this one. Both of us wanted to our best without any financial support, our goal was to capture the essence of the text and to portray it in the best possible way.

So night shots and deserted settings huh? Why’s that?

– We didn’t want to put a ‘face’ on ‘Blått Blod’, our focus was simply letting the various environments depicted in the video to speak for the content alone, without any people being involved. We chose to shoot the video at night time when most settings are deserted and to find places where people live on the Blue Line could recognize and relate to the various locations.

Screen Shot

‘We didn’t want to put a ‘face’ on ‘Blått Blod’- our focus was simply letting the various environments depicted in the video speak for the content alone, without any people being involved’. (Screen shot ‘Blått blod’)

What do you want to convey with ‘Blue Blood’?

I wanted to do my best in lifting Meron’s text to the surface by creating images that are interesting to watch.

How would you describe your signature style?

I lack style, I’d rather say that my work mirrors the state I’m in at that particular moment.

 

For more of Senay’s work go to > > www.senay.se

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Meron Mangasha – Blått Blod (By Senay Berhe) 2013

 

Artist: Meron Mangasha

Music: Mack Beats

Dir & Edit: Senay

Dop: Simon Rudholm

Grading: Good motion

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