PREMIERE: Benedict – Oh Fool (Dir. Benedict)
Soulful and determined, ‘Oh Fool’ is the latest single from Melbourne multi-instrumentalist and producer Benedict. The track packs such an emotional punch as Benedict’s voice swoons from breathily sombre to robustly soaring with such ease, combining a clear Gospel influence with a modern and dynamic production. Benedict submerges the track in warm layers of reverb, putting the song in this welcoming dreamlike space, a sensation that became a massive influence on the song’s accompanying visuals.
Benedict – Oh Fool
“The video is intended to have a dreamlike vibe to it.” Benedict advises, “I want the audience to be taken into the experience where they feel the words through the visual and feel almost like they have gone into my dream with me. Jean-Paul danced what I felt and the movement and colour and lighting is all meant to take each viewer on a journey into the emotion and spirit of the song.”
The video’s primary focus, dancer Jean-Paul Weaver, moves with such expressive freedom. Movements are flowing and emotive, putting on display the song’s sentiments of longing and overcoming, and understanding your own power. It’s a truly moving performance piece that Jean-Paul Weaver choreographed after being so inspired by her interactions with Benedict.
“In just the first few words I felt like we spoke of so many things: 2-spirited people to 101-spirited people, Haitian Vodou, decolonization, liberation of Bla(c)k Trans Women, intersectional feminism, and shared experiences of the freedom that comes from overcoming the poisonous foolishness of a past oppressor through the righteous flames of anger and scorn. Perhaps it was the ecstasy of meeting a kindred spirit. I wanted to portray this energy in dance.”
Benedict – Oh Fool
Weaver continues: ”When I dance I embody the Haitian Vodou Rainbow Serpent “Ayida Wedo”. An alchemaic non-binary mistress of poison and healing. Some say her body slithers on the ground, shedding her skin into gold, then spreading wings and ultimately transforming into an eagle, soaring into the cosmos leaving stars in her wake. I wanted to capture a transformative experience that remembers that your poison can be the most powerful medicine that then fuels for your spirit to transcend into the cosmos.”
Weaver is astonishingly able to capture all of this power in her movement, embodying at times both a fierce warrior and a being comfortable in their own vulnerability. Through accompanying elements such as a gloomy aesthetic and the layering of images on top of each other, Benedict successfully taps into the desired dreamlike realm in which the video takes place. However, the true triumph of Benedict’s direction is the way the she not only allows but encourages all of the audience’s focus to be on Jean-Paul Weaver.
Benedict – Oh Fool
The combination of a moody yet stark backdrop and a relaxed edit, embellished only occasionally with kaleidoscopic effects, the viewer is given the chance to truly engage with the dancer, absorbing her every move and experiencing all the she asks you to experience. Benedict explains: “For me it was so important to express the song through the incredible choreography of Jean-Paul Weaver. In my words I was able to work with not just a truly professional and brilliant dancer but overall a kindred spirit. It was very easy to allow Jean-Paul to express the story through her dance and it was even more important to me, that working with such a genius to allow her spirit to breathe freely and be captured in the most pure way.”
Here is the official video for ‘Oh Fool‘
Music Video Credits
Directed by: Benedict. Choreography by and starring: Jean-Paul Weaver. Production by: Tyler Mark & Shoelace Creative. Rollerskaters: Dylan Kirkhope & Hayley Gray.