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Take A Trip With Delicate Steve's Remix Of Saadi's 'Snowyman'

It's nice to have a video that's not about something horrific like someone being set on fire or bulls being slaughtered. If that video features horses and karate all the better. "Snowyman (Delicate Steve Remix)" blends the guitar virtuosity between Steve Marion, aka Delicate Steve, and the powerful voice of Boshra Al-Saadi, aka Saadi. The two also collaborated for the video — a quiet celebration of journeys alone

Though in previous blog posts we've raged about the label of "world music," Saadi — a Syrian-born, New York-based artist formally of the band Looker — makes music that fits the label perfectly. She blends sounds as divergent as modern electronica and traditional dabke to create music that is distinctly global. For the remix to "Snowyman," Marion latches onto the feeling of isolation in her original and slows the piece down. The fierce beats are stripped down and her vocals are left bare — emphasizing the pleasure and pains of solitude.

In an email, Marion, who's now wandering around India, told us about his process of remixing the song:

I remember hearing Boshra's track for the first time while on tour last summer. On first listen the lyrics in the chorus really hit me ("no one in the city for me") ... living deep out in the country of northern NJ sometimes it's hard to feel connected with city life and people.

I knew I couldn't make a remix that was any more energetic or lively than the original, so I tried to make a soulful sentimental version based on my understanding of the lyrics. The vocal melody is so perfect to me, it was very fun trying to come up with new chords around it.

In the video for "Snowyman" we see bits and pieces of trips, stitched together and filtered through bright colors. The only people in the video are Steve and Saadi, but they are never seen together. Even with all of the solitude the video never feels sad. It revels in the joy of being by yourself and doing whatever you want — especially if that means doing karate kicks while playing a stick like a guitar.

Saadi talked with us about her excitement over the Delicate Steve remix and their video collaboration:

I asked Steve to do a remix knowing that he would completely reinvent the song. I was shocked and excited when I heard it! The driving defiance of the music was totally transformed into a lyrical and nuanced longing. The guitar work recalls Clapton and Frusciante, while the new chords turn the entire feel of the song around.

Feeling doubly inspired, I asked Steve to shoot some video and shot some myself with the redux (remix doesn't quite do it justice) in mind. I live in the thick of the city myself, and tried to create a dreamy netherworld of movement and isolation with our combined footage.

Saadi's "Snowyman" 7" featuring the Delicate Steve remix (as well as mixes by Lazy Flow and Prince Rama) will be out on February 14th. You can listen and pre-order the whole 7" on her bandcamp.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Dan Raby