A song and its lyrics can be given a new life and meaning, recreated by another voice and story. Such is the case with Ron Kalmakoff’s version of the song, “Bells.”
Ron’s vision was to keep the musicality and instrumentation of this song simple and poignant, so that the poetry of the piece could shine.
“I thought, ‘How do these words relate to our world today?’ The struggles and fears of this complex environment we live in or that others may be facing. A senseless war and those that bear the burden of not being allowed to live their lives with peace and love. As sad as the lyrics of this song may sound, they are beautifully written and somehow filled with hope.”
The filming of the video for “Bells” also plays an important part in Ron telling the story for the song.
“We filmed the video in a very dark setting,” he said. “At times I imagined myself in a room or place where I was singing the song in hiding, in front of a candle flame or softly, so only the person in front of me would hear, sharing the lyrics of sorrow, yet longing for hope. Behind me through a burned out curtain the viewer can envision what is happening in the outside world. I wanted to share these conceptions and feelings in the video where others could create their own story lines in what they are seeing.”
“Bells” was directed by Vancouver film director, Alexander Sharp. This is the third music video Ron and Alex have collaborated on. Alex shared these thoughts on working on this project: “I wanted something simple and at the same time, abstract, pastel and obscure. As this is in part a love letter to Ukraine, the concept for me was `It’s like you’re sitting in an abandoned war-torn cinema and the bittersweet hypnosis that those images might engender in that ethereal and haunting environment.’”
Ron has admired Jimmy Rankin’s song-writing, his role as an artist and the contribution that the Rankin Family have made to Canadian culture.
“’Bells’ has always been one of my favorite songs,” he said. “I had considered recording it in the past but this time it felt right for the current project.”
His album, Nature, is a tapestry that connects the music to his life in Canada. A good portion of the songs on the album were written by Ron, and he has also included songs written by a few of his favorite Canadian singer-songwriters.