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Locally produced video links valley, Ukraine

Every so often, a creative work comes along that encompasses raw emotion and powerful images of beauty and destruction, layered with crystalline musical expression. That is “Red Rain (Over Ukraine)”, a new music video produced right here in the Rogue Valley, based on the 1986 song by Peter Gabriel.

Former Ashland resident James Twyman, who now lives in Mexico, was working as a volunteer aiding Ukrainian refugees in Poland when he heard Gabriel’s song on the radio of his rental car. He began thinking of the lyrics in a new way and wanted to produce a new version of the song to help the people of Ukraine.

Twyman found 18-year-old Oleksandra Didyk, a rising star from Kyiv, to sing the song in Ukrainian, with new lyrics added to evoke Russia’s brutal invasion of that country. Video segments of Didyk singing were recorded in locations bombed by the Russians.

He contacted local musician and recording engineer Sean McCoy of Central Point, and the project took shape. McCoy enlisted the help of his wife, percussionist Theresa McCoy, and a local string quartet including Ashland violinist Faina Podolnaya, a native of Ukraine. Twyman recruited local resident and international touring guitarist Jeff Pevar and world-renowned bassist Victor Wooten to complete the ensemble.

The result is a deeply moving music video dedicated to the people of Ukraine. Viewers are encouraged to send donations to the Ukrainian Red Cross.

A war half a world away can seem remote to those of us living in comfort and safety in Southern Oregon. This video and the music that powers it bring the conflict into sharp focus.

The Rogue Valley is home to musical talent second to none, and this project demonstrates that to great effect.

Twyman tried to contact Peter Gabriel’s management to seek permission to use the song, but was unable to connect. As a result, Facebook pulled the video for that reason, and YouTube flagged it but left it up. Twyman says he’s confident that Gabriel, an artist known for his activism who has expressed support for Ukraine, would approve. We concur.

This video is not to be missed. You can find a link to it at the top of the Mail Tribune Facebook page, or search for Red Rain (Over Ukraine) on YouTube.

The video ends with the words, “May peace prevail on Earth and in Ukraine.”

We can add nothing to that sentiment except to say, watch the video.