New Video, Inspite of You by Melanie Ida Chopko

Here's present for you as you do your own New Years rituals, not just as an individual but as a citizen too.

I started writing In Spite of You after the 2017 inauguration of DJT. I just needed something to sing to myself after listening to the news, and often still do.

That year I was profoundly moved by an interview I saw with one of the founders of Otpor!, an activist group that used theater and the arts to cultivate a social movement in Serbia. Within just two years, the movement overthrew dictator Slobodan Milošević and held a democratic election.

Reflecting on why they won, I just loved what Srdja Popović said: "Their hatred, their propaganda, their language, smelled like death. And we won because we loved life more. We decided to love life, and you cannot beat life."

The title is inspired by Apesar de Você, from Brasilian artist/activist Chico Buarque. Despite being written about military dictatorship (noticing a theme here?) the song is infused with joy, power, and conviction.

Singing out to the forces within us and around us that are immutable, invincible.

Tiny but mighty choir!  Jesse Sachs, Jason Leith, Kele Nitoto, Briget Boyle & Mandy Paige Bayless.

Tiny but mighty choir! Jesse Sachs, Jason Leith, Kele Nitoto, Briget Boyle & Mandy Paige Bayless.

Humongous thanks my beloved vocalists friends who came along for the ride for my first choral arrangement: Briget Boyle, Jesse Sachs, Jason Leith, Kele Nitoto, & Mandy Paige Bayless.

And a deep bow of gratitude to all the people who contributed to the emergence of this recording at different parts along the way: Rachel Efron, Moorea Dickason, David Sturdevant, Kyle Lemle, Paris Cole, Briget & Mandy again.

New song breathing here by Melanie Ida Chopko

photo by Jason Simmons

photo by Jason Simmons

My new single is live and breathing, here. You can download it for free until December 15th. So many thanks to everyone who came to my release show: it meant the world to play for you.

Below the Weather & the Waves is a dialogue between myself and the ocean, her reminding me of a teaching from my favorite Zen-ish teacher: "During difficulty, see the place that has no difficulty."

So many thanks to my collaborators (Rob Reich, Schuyler Karr, Jay Pellicci, Piper Payne) and friends who supported me in the process (Moorea Dickason, Jean Rohe, Austin Willacy & Briget Boyle).

A musical, election-day hug by Melanie Ida Chopko

It's election day here in the US, and I thought you like me might like a big auditory hug before or after you go and VOTE.

One of my favorite artists and humans, Jean Rohe, just released her stunning new album, Sisterly. Her song What Will We Tell Our Children has meant alot to me for these past few weeks.

Did you speak the truth when it mattered most? / Did you mean it, now, tell me did you mean it? / Did you run and hide? / Oh, your palms on your eyes. Yes, did you cry? / Oh, sometimes you cried /Did you love your neighbor, did you love yourself? / Did you give enough? Did you get enough? ...

I'm off to rehearse for my epic music video shoot happening later this week - complete with a church, my first choir arrangement and a small choir. Wowzers!


Ps. Seriously, make the time to VOTE. For CA folks, How Pete's Voting is my most favorite voter guide - extremely well researched, spry and written by a former union organizer. I love it.

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