À Distance: Kevin Le Pennec, the Ulysse and the Vélorail!
October 25, 2023
At Camac, we have been delighted by a superb new video featuring our friend Kevin Le Pennec, performing his own music. The fruit of a collaboration with Swiss director Raphaël Bortolotti and Breton cameraman Ronan Le Pennec, their beautiful imagery magnificently reflects both Kevin’s lyrics and the composition. Kevin is featured playing his Camac Ulysse harp and singing on a vélorail. You may be surprised to learn that not everybody at Camac was familiar with the concept of a vélorail (including the artist relations manager), so, we talked to Kevin, to find out what had inspired him to film in this way:
“Basically, I wanted to make a video that would reflect the aesthetic I’d chosen for the cover of my album À distance, released by Coop Breizh in May 2023. The cover shows me walking on rails with my harp, in slightly sepia tones. When I was talking to Raphaël, he told me about the existence of vélorails, which I’d never heard of before
[ we are glad we aren’t the only ones!]
He came up with the original idea of shooting the video with the harp on a vélorail. I thought it was great, so I found this lovely vélorail station in Médréac, not far from Rennes where I live.”
The aesthetic is indeed perfectly reflected. It is one of gentle introspection, video has a slightly whimsical magical ambience: “It’s the harp that picks me up on its own when I arrive on the platform, as if it had a mind of its own. Settled together on a vélorail, we set off together on a journey to an unknown destination that never seems to end.”
At its heart though, the music video represents a deep message about the nature of modern relationships. 21st century life means many of us are always on the move, especially if you’re an artist. The combination of film, music and words explores the importance of keeping loved ones close, when you have this more itinerant lifestyle:
“For me, the title À distance is about long-distance relationships, but also more broadly about the people we care about who live far away from us. When I wrote it, I was travelling on the train (as I often am). So I think the idea of the vélorail is a very good one to symbolise the endless journeys we make to see our friends and family all over the place, to discover the world and meet new people!
Music allows me to travel, and it’s my dream to continue playing in different countries all over the world. I’m happy that the image of a happy, serene and luminous musical journey is conveyed in this clip.”
We couldn’t agree more, but we did wonder about the practicalities…
“For a project like this, we had to take several parameters into account with regard to the harp. Firstly, I had to find a way of attaching it to the vélorail without damaging it, as there is a lot of shaking on the rails. To do this, I cut out a cardboard base to protect it from direct contact with the vélorail grid, then we fixed the harp in place with straps and a piece of fabric.
Next, it’s an outdoor project, so you have to think about the weather. We had two vélorails available. We were able to put all our stuff on one of them, including the harp cover. At the very end of the shoot, it started to rain, so I was glad to find the cover to protect it a bit.
Finally, we had to find a way of playing the harp without being in too uncomfortable a position, while still moving the vélorail without pedalling. Raphaël designed a wooden bench that we made and installed on the vélorail. That way, I could sit comfortably and play. To make the vélorail move forward without pedalling, we chose either to film on downhill slopes or to use Raphaël’s energy to push the vélorail. So the illusion is perfect!”
Congratulations to Kevin, Rapahël, Ronan and the whole creative team, we think it’s just beautiful.