Saturday, 23 July 2016


On Friday 8th July, Nils Frahm and Woodkid released the score to French artist JR's film Ellis. A hymn to Ellis Island and its role in the story of migration to the US throughout the first half of the twentieth century, the film tales the story through the eyes of one migrant, voiced by Robert De Niro.

The soundtrack itself is a haunting melange of delicate piano, strings and harmonium that combine into something that is both sad and beautiful.

In creating the work, Frahm and Woodkid were haunted and preoccupied not just by Ellis Island and it's history, but by current events in Europe. 

As Nils Frahm says in the press release to promote the release of this mini album:

The opportunity to work on JR´s fantastic short film ELLIS came through my good friend Yoann aka Woodkid. We agreed on recording the piano parts in my studio in Berlin and so it happened that JR and Woodkid were guests at Durton studio on a wonderful late summers day in 2015. We managed to record all the crucial elements that day. The music fell into our laps and melted with the images: a wonderful experience. The film has stuck in my head ever since; it moved my heart and changed my soul. A couple of weeks later I had to cancel a trip to Brussels because of a terror warning; all events got cancelled and I stayed home, having an unexpected day off. I felt rather depressed that day, thinking that the Europe I knew was already gone. I sat down at the harmonium, listened to Robert De Niro’s voice and played for the rest of the day. The result is ‘Winter Morning II,’ the B-side of the ELLIS soundtrack release. Robert says it all in 17 minutes. We are not facing a refugee crisis. We are facing a crisis because we do not embrace, we do not sympathise and we cannot give up fear. Art can encourage so I hope this project will help fight the fear in all of us.

You can listen to the soundtrack on Soundcloud, and I highly recommend you do. 

Not only does this feel like a very timely, oddly contemporary, release, I have also found it to be an oddly cathartic listen, post Brexit. 

All proceeds go to the Sea Watch Initiative, a non profit charity dedicated to the protection and rescue of civilian refugees

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