my record

Rice Song - A wider love story by Melanie Ida Chopko

Recorded and filmed live at Maybeck Studio for the Performing Arts, Berkeley, CA on December 4th, 2016

I wrote Rice Song a few years ago, after reading about thousands of Chinese people uprooted by a forced modernization project. But now, on this Valentine’s Day, it seems important share this one story as one of many wider love stories, the love I see in the faces of the immigrants I know when they speak of their homeland. It’s a relationship with place that remains long after their departure, even if leaving the land of their ancestors for food or safety or work was the most logical thing to do.

Their stories also tell a piece of mine - not just as a granddaughter of immigrants, but my own need to build a life alongside vast open spaces and the rhythms of the natural world. To learn from the traditions of my ancestors, and in turn, know and preserve this place.

This video piece was created alongside the genius of filmmaker Kevin Dorman, editor Manon Rudant, co-producer Isidro 'CiD' Pineda, and engineers Morgan Maudière and Gordon Allen. Special thanks to Jack Eastman at The Maybeck Studio, Mariam El Quessny, Motaz & Taha Attalla, Moorea Dickason, Rachel Efron, Katie Walker, Carl Oser and Pete Weiss for all the equipment, late night phone calls, and the early morning eye-makeup bonanza.

Video land by Melanie Ida Chopko

Coordinating the equipment

Coordinating the equipment

Ha! I just wanted to make a simple music video of the Rice Song, but now it's no less than epic: 10 pieces of audio equipment from 5 different friends, 2 filmmakers with all their machines, and another audio buddy to fiddle with dials and cables. Sunday, here we go! 

Piano at Maybeck Studio

Piano at Maybeck Studio

My Favorite by Melanie Ida Chopko

Secretly, I think this is my favorite track on the EP - Just a stunning collaboration with Rob Reich on piano, along with Anthony Ant, Patrick Wolff, Diana Gameros, Tim Vickers and Andrew Maguire.

What's extra special is how one of the players shared how playing on this is playing for his sister as well - both of us reaching to understand how to the people closest to our bloodline can also be the furthest away. I'm so moved by how many listeners come to me after a show and share there own stories of disconnection/reconnection with their siblings.

Such gratitude to Bridget Kearney for her blessing in recording this co-write. May it be of service.