JANUARY 20, 2012
Clarence Bucaro Debuts "Two Men Down" At Nat Geo Music
Brooklyn Songwriter Pens Tribute To Fallen Journalists Chris Hondros and Tim Hetheringtonby Tom Pryor
After photojournalists Chris Hondros and Tim Hetherington were killed in Libya last April, Brooklyn songwriter Clarence Bucaro was personally inspired by their bravery in their quest for truth in their art. He wrote the poetic, humbly reverent song "Two Men Down" as an homage to their lives as photojournalists.
Bucaro is no stranger to travel himself, having spent the last two years traveling in Jerusalem, Cuba and Russia, before coming home to write a moving, ambitious record inspired by his travels and the birth of his son. Titled Walls Of The World, the album was produced by Hector Castillo and Chocolate Genius and mixed by Tchad Blake. Due April 3rd on 20/20 records
Since Hetherington worked closely with the National Geographic Society on the feature film Restrepo, we agreed to premiere the song here on Nat Geo Music and catch up with Bucaro to find out what inspired him to pen this moving tribute.
Nat Geo Music: How did you first become aware of Chris Hondros and Tim Hetherington's work?
Clarence Buraco: I first became aware of Tim's work through the film Restrepo which was so daringly honest and beautiful. The film laid it all out there down to the blemishes on the young soldiers to the interactions with the locals. I was very moved by the film. I was first introduced to Chris' work through a mutual friend of ours. At the time, I was looking for photographers who had been to war torn regions to collaborate on a music video for the song "Child of War" from the record. My friend passed along the recommendation to Chris because of his love for blending photography and music. I was instantly struck by his haunting photographs and how they told the story in one frame.
What about their work inspired you?
Their work was all about the pursuit of truth. My journey artistically and personally has led me to reflect on issues of the world. I am deeply inspired by those who put their lives on the line to put faces and names into our minds and hearts. This record is about conflict and division. I found both of their brave work to be illuminating and their dedication to the promotion of an elevated sense of understanding in the world to be resoundingly inspirational.
Are there other correspondents and war photographers whose work you've become aware of through them?
Not specifically through them but throughout the course of the last couple years I've gotten to know the work of many talented and inspiring photographers, filmmakers and war journalists etc?Most recently a talented conflict photographer named Natasha Fillion who is in Syria at the moment. I've also gotten to know the work of the esteemed New York Times photographer Todd Heisler, who's covered Iraq, Rwanda, Somalia, Uganda and Haiti so beautifully, the work of author Asne Seirestad; a Norwegian writer who wrote about Iraq, Chechnya and Afghanistan as well as that of filmmakers Four Corners Media, a Brooklyn duo who've been covering Arab Spring.
How does their work influence yours as a musician?
The work of documentarians, including Chris and Tim's work as well as that of everyone who chronicles events around the world has always influenced me as a musician. Music serves so many purposes: To entertain, to inform, to comfort etc etc..And one of the things I have looked for in music and believe is one of it's missions is to dig for the truth and for greater understanding. That seeking can be about love, happiness, sadness, war, peace, religion etc?and I am as much influenced by the profound meaning in a line of a Hank Williams song or a Neil Young guitar bend as I am a world revolutionary. With this particular record I was influenced by the directness of a photograph and how it can tell the story instantly and with the focus being on conflict and walls, the work of those who travel to the ends of the earth to capture it has provided me with both inspiration as well as new perspectives. As a musician and a writer I am constantly absorbing the way people tell stories through their vehicles of expression and though the crafts may vary I find many similarities in the different art forms.
What was your initial reaction when you heard of their passing?
My initial reaction was sadness for friends of theirs in the photography community who were heartbroken and the sad feeling that the world had lost 2 of it's guardians of truth.
What would you like this song to convey about them, their work and its impact on you?
The song is a tribute to them and I hope that it reminds listeners of their bravery and commitment to telling people's stories from around the world. In the most dangerous places in the world are usually where people's voices needed to be heard the most and are most likely to be drowned out or forgotten and they fought vigorously through their work to show people glimpses of truth and life. Everyday when you look in the newspapers you see pictures from war torn regions and most people never stop to think about the people who have traveled risking life and limb there to show us what is happening around the world, so I most humbly hope this song makes people pause, remember and celebrate the lives of two extraordinary photographers and their incredible bodies of works.