The truth will always prevail. Guitarist and folk-rock singer Shane Palko and spoken-word poet and pianist Mannie T'Chawi are ready to right the wrongs of the past in their recent singles and music videos for "Blood" and "Fathers."
Both talented and passionate artists in their own right, Shane Palko and Mannie T'Chawi aren't your typical acts. They've recently banded together to call out injustices through their own unique creations, be it folk rock or gripping spoken word. Both songs mark their own emotional theme with thought-provoking lyrics that champion change.
Although both "Blood" and "Fathers" are powerful songs, listening to them back to back is a truly moving experience. In "Blood," we hear Palko discuss the generations of racism and acknowledge that as a white man who walks out unscathed, he has blood on his hands. Not to mention the mesmerizing piano-laden piece "Fathers," where T'Chawi slaps the speakers with sadly relatable themes of being caught up in a generational fight he never asked for.
What's all the more gripping is the songs' music videos. In "Blood," we see original clips from Palko's grandfather on 8mm film circa 1960. While Palko strums the acoustic guitar in what looks like a woodsy cabin, he delivers a raw performance that closely examines the wrongs of the past that continue to linger today. The chilling scenes remind us that many of us have ties to the cruel wrongs of the past, and the blood is still on our hands.
In the music video for "Fathers," Palko picks up his electric guitar in the middle of a field while T'Chawi accompanies him in front of a piano. As Palko exits stage left, our focus shifts to T'Chawi, who jumps into his composing spoken word on a highway overpass while expressing the struggles of absent fathers, the consequences of no parentage, and asking God why these were the cards he was dealt. The final shot of the burning piano in an empty field is chilling to the bone.
It doesn't get much better than two artists banding together to spur change in our modern society. Watch as Shane Palko and Mannie T'Chawi dive into necessary themes in their singles and music videos for "Blood" and "Fathers." Find both music videos on YouTube and singles on all digital streaming platforms.
Welcome to BuzzMusic, Shane Palko, and Mannie T'Chawi. We're pleased with the powerful and deeply necessary themes within your singles and music videos for "Blood" and "Fathers." What inspired you to team up and collaborate on these pieces?
We are two independent creatives who have enjoyed deep conversations as friends. Seeing themes emerge in our talks, we decided to share some of what we had been mulling over as artistic pieces.
What was your goal regarding the viewer's experience watching the music video for "Blood?" What thoughts did you want to prompt in the viewer?
We wanted the video to be a stunningly beautiful accompaniment to a stark and hard-hitting song that grapples with racial inequity. The historic visuals celebrate a beautiful winter hunting party - a group of white men in nature with guns. While we hope viewers will enjoy these priceless scenes, we also ask them to think about their places in the world and how things got the way they did. Access to land and open spaces and the types of activities available are not equal across racial divides in the places we have lived. Sharing family footage captured in the 1960s was an aesthetically pleasing way of asking ourselves and our viewers to think about how far back into history many current social trends reach.
How did you want to make viewers feel with the powerful spoken word and visuals in the music video for "Fathers?" What did you want viewers to take away?
We wanted to state things as succinctly and earnestly as possible for the spoken word. Visually we wanted to evoke the sense of the timelessness, vicious cycle that’s been part of Black family structures for decades. We aimed to tell the uneasy, often horrifying truth - with simplicity and care not to re-traumatize our audiences. We also wanted to leave viewers with the intense imagery of a burning piano. There are numerous reasons why this is a metaphorically important act; we hope to leave this striking image open for viewers to interpret in their own ways.
How do songs like "Blood" and "Fathers" help listeners get to know both of you on a more personal level? Are powerful songs like these a typical occurrence for both of you?
These songs are a glimpse into our village. These pieces are spillovers from conversations we were having around many fires together. Most of the artistic output we share is not so raw. I (Mannie) have released two volumes of personal poetry, but they are not as vulnerable as these pieces. I (Shane) have released 14 studio albums over 14 years that cover various topics. Many of the thousands of songs that fall to the cutting room floor are personal, too personal to be released. We thought it was time to share some of the conversations we’ve been having outside of our circles. We can smile and be silly on stage sometimes because we are part of a community that has each other's backs and has real conversations.
What was your favorite part about working together on "Blood" and "Fathers"? Would you say there's an unspoken creative chemistry between the two of you?
The process has been easy! Arguably the easiest time we’ve had collaborating on a project. Though our backgrounds are vastly different, our experiences and journeys have led us to similar places of pursuing growth through listening to others’ stories. It’s been amazing to work alongside someone who shares the same values, sense of curiosity, creative spirit, and talent. Plus, we’re pretty stellar at cooking, so we had some great meals with our team.