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  • Writer's pictureMarrone Films

With A Little Help From My Friends

Montreal musicians collaborate in confinement

During the lockdown period at the beginning of the Covid-19 Pandemic, a group of talented Montreal musicians turned to making music, and brought people together to beat the covid blues.

This initiative started when Riccardo and his brother Domenic saw an opportunity to spread hope and positivity through their love of music and video production. The idea was to reach out to friends and family who either sang or played an instrument, and virtually they performed a song together. They decided to go with John Lennon’s "Imagine" as its message of peace and love might resonate with people who felt they were alone during these trying times.

With stay-at-home orders in place, everyone participating would have to film and record themselves on their own, which was a challenge in itself. To make things easy, the two brothers created a system that streamlined the process with some simple instructions and creative guidance, allowing everyone to use their phones or webcams to record, then upload to a shared folder.

In less than 24 hours, tracks were being downloaded. Riccardo recorded the ukulele and drums while Domenic recorded the keyboard. The Marrone brothers divided the roles for producing the video. Domenic handled the audio recording, mixing and mastering. Riccardo took care of the video editing. He cut the video using a split screen effect throughout, spotlighting each musician during key parts, while combining them in others. Within one week of conception, the final music video was edited, posted online and viewed by thousands of people.

The response was so overwhelming they were flooded with dozens of requests to record another music video, so they did! This time, they added a few more musicians to the mix and recorded “Lean On Me” by Bill Withers. The release of the music video happened to coincide with the unfortunate passing of Bill Withers that same week, so it also became a tribute to this great artist whose music continues to offer comfort to fans around the world.

Riccardo and Domenic followed the same recording process, only this time it became more complex with over 50 singers and musicians involved. Because of the number of participants the video went viral instantaneously, with close to 400 shares in the first 48 hours. Patrizia Castiglione, a Montreal Photographer and close friend of the family commented on Facebook “You made me cry this morning! It's so good to see all the familiar faces doing what they love. I miss everyone!” Albe, a professional musician who also contributed a guitar track to the video commented “not easy times we are all living through but music is a lifeline of hope & a bridge to a better place & world”

Heading into May of 2020, covid cases were on the rise and the pandemic was testing our morale more than ever. The health system was overwhelmed and essential workers were putting their lives on the line every day.

To show their support, over 80 artists participated in the recording of a third video, Joe Cocker’s “With A Little Help From My Friends''. This song was dedicated to all the heroes of this pandemic who work tirelessly on the front lines to maintain essential services, and save lives.

Because of the success of the previous two videos, “With A Little Help From My Friends” not only went viral online, it made headlines on local news stations as well.

Randi Katz, a professional singer from Montreal commented, “Amazing teamwork everyone - it’s nice to have the opportunity to come together as a musical community and give back.” Cossy Cee, also featured in the video commented “The line up of amazing talented artist friends is unbelievable!! So proud to be part of it”

Music has helped people all over the world get through tough times. It has the power to bring people together even when they’re apart. Thanks to technology, some creative ingenuity and two brothers who sought to bring their community together, these videos have become inspirations to musicians all over the world and propelled the concept of virtual collaborations.

If you have a passion for music and would like to be part of future music video collaborations, we want to hear from you!

If you’re looking for more inspiration check out our music video portfolio.


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