On Friday, December 14th, around 300 people gathered to honor and celebrate the life of Kat, my dear friend and Crow sister. Today, Kindred Crow released Kat’s last video into the wilds of the internet. I thought maybe I would tell you a little about the video. The edges of my grief are sharp right now, and I am not fit to write about metaphysics. But love? And music? That I can write about all day. Let me tell you the story of Uneven Ground.
When Kat was diagnosed, she called a meeting of her closest friends. We knew it was going to be bad, and several of the Crows (me included) thought she would leave the band to concentrate on her health. Instead, true to form, Kat lay a challenge before us – record an album in the time she had left. Make sure her songs survive, her voice carries, her legacy in the form of music lives past what was to come.
We immediately began work. When we got home that night, my beloved Chris began ordering the necessary equipment to finish outfitting the home studio. We selected Uneven Ground to be the banner song of the album. Kat wrote it – the Crows added some touches and edits here and there, but it is, by and large, her song. Also, the lyrics are so appropriate for both where we were in that moment and where we continue to stand – on uneven footing, trying to find our way to dance….somehow. So we specifically focused on getting Uneven Ground recorded first.
I knew we needed a music video for Kat’s song, and we needed to make one fast. The median survival rate from a glioblastoma diagnosis is 14 months. Kat got roughly 6. As I contemplated potential plots for the music video, I thought about what we needed it to be. First and foremost in my mind were Kat’s daughters. I wanted to give them something that showed their mom as she truly is: beautiful, vibrant, strong and proud. I wanted this video to be there for them in the years to come, when they need to see her. To feel close to her. To hear her voice.
I also wanted, somehow, for some of the Kindred Crow community to be present. The larger flock of crows is magnificent – creative, magickal, wonderful people who we are amazed by again and again and again.
I wanted to incorporate some sort of healing ritual into the making of the video itself. (The moment when everyone gives Kat those flowers is that moment.)
Lastly, the music video would need to respect the limits of Kat’s energy and health. Brain cancer is vicious, and by the time we shot, there were days when Kat couldn’t get out of bed. Although she needed to be the focus on the video, her role couldn’t be too physically taxing.
I landed on the idea of the crowning and celebration of the May Queen and put together a rough plotline. I sent it to our beloved Robyn Cole, director and videographer extraordinaire. He refined my ideas and we began making arrangements to shoot.
Kat is humble. I think part of why she liked co-fronting Kindred Crow with me was because it allowed her talents to shine without causing her the discomfort of a full spotlight. So when she read the writeup for the video….well…it took some convincing. lol. I managed to talk her into it by explaining what I was trying to do. Specifically, she was willing to put on a crown and let us honor her for her daughters. This video is for all of us, of course, but more than anything it’s for River and Meadow.
We shot the video in June. It was HOT. Yet somehow, Kat had a good day. I will never forget how beautiful she looked as she walked onto the field for the shoot. Our community showed up with one hundred percent of their love, energy and devotion. And Robyn captured all of that perfectly. I am so proud of this video, and of the way the community came together to make it happen.
Robyn edited the video as Kat’s battle with cancer became more vicious. I love his artistic choices, and the way the subtext of the video tells our story. The part toward the end where the footage begins to run backwards gets me every time.
Now this video is part of the legacy of a warrior bard – a real-life swordswoman, poet and singer. I hope you enjoy it, and that it helps you stay connected to the bright spirit of my Crow-sister.