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Singled Out: Ascendia's The Lion and the Jester

05/15/2015
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Today John Lovatsis from Ascendia tells us about the inspiration for the title track of their debut album "The Lion and the Jester" and the recently released music video for the track. Here is the story:

The Lion and the Jester was a song that was inspired by recent events and deals with the topic of religious extremism and religious warfare in general. While writing this song, it became very apparent to us how lucky we are to be from such a beautiful country like Canada. We felt obligated to write this song for those people suffering at the hands of "religious warfare."

Although the lyrics were inspired by horrific news events, we have certain memories where the music itself inspired the words and themes of the track. For instance, during the mid section of the song there is an obvious "waltz" rhythm throughout. Dancing is a very unique and creative form of expression; we capitalized on this waltz pattern to form a lyrical theme that created a very important metaphor. In the pre-chorus there is a lyric that says "come here and share this dance with me". This is truly a beautiful way of saying to an extremist, come here and look at what you're doing through my eyes, and the eyes of the suffering. It's an attempt to put the harm doer in the shoes of another soul and to see if they feel any empathy at all. Although none of the members of the band are particularly religious we all felt invested in this topic.

Recording the music video was extremely intense and a long process. It took us over two months to dress the video location and three days to shoot our scenes. We even had neighbors threaten to call the police because we were shooting scenes very late at night and had no choice but to blast the song!
In addition to the theme of dancing a waltz, we made a conscious choice to explore the theme of "things of beauty being destroyed." We have this belief that all religions are beautiful and their messages are meant to inspire goodness; it is corrupt human beings who are twisting the words and these stories which ultimately leads to the staining of religion as a whole. In the video we show scenes of a beautiful flower shriveling and dying, a violinist playing to sheets of burning music, and our physical set slowly being destroyed as pieces and artifacts are smashed on the floor.

Once the video was shot, it took us close to four months to edit; quite a painful but rewarding process! After finishing the project we contacted the Canadian Red Cross and asked to see if they would let us support their efforts by donating half our profits to them for a three month campaign. We are very grateful that they accepted our request and have been running our donation campaign since April 29, 2015. All members can proudly say that we did everything we could to make our message come to life and hopefully impact people in way where they will try and help make a difference as well!

Hearing is believing. Now that you know the story behind the song, listen for yourself and watch the video here plus learn more about the album right here!

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