Saturday, March 29, 2008

Meeting Tom and Lorne (Finally)

Lorne, Me and Tom
A couple of weeks ago, I finally had the opportunity to meet the songerwriters for Facing Sudan, Tom Flannery and Lorne Clarke. After three years of emails and phone calls here and there, it was great finally meeting them face-to-face.

Tom Flannery performing at the Old Lynn Concert seriesTom was performing at the Old Lynn Concert series, which is run by Lorne Clarke. His set included "Crayons and Paper," a song from the film.

I met Tom and Lorne online three years ago while searching for music for the movie. Originally, I had envisioned Bruce Cockburn's "If I Had a Rocket Launcher" as the opening song of the film. However, Cockburn's record label never returned my calls.

And that was a very good thing.   I ended up stumbling across a site online called This site featured music by Tom Flannery and Lorne Clarke, including several songs about Darfur and a whole song cycle about the Rwandan Genocide. In fact, Lorne's song, "How Do We Sleep at Night?" from the series on Rwanda became the opening song of Facing Sudan. This song is so much better than the Bruce Cockburn song, for it captures the mood and the feel of the film more than any other song and it introduces a powerful theme that runs throughout the film.

After contacting Tom Flannery for permission to use a song called "It's Called Genocide," Tom replied that I could use the song for free. All that I needed was to properly credit him for the song. He then went on to say that this would be a "a gentleman's agreement." But if I were to appear at the "Oscars with Demi Moore" on my arm or on Larry King with a "new Armani suit," we would have to renegotiate the deal. Needless to say, that never happened. Tom's email did, however, lead to a complete re-envisioning of the film as I soon began to discover more about how music could enhance the film I was trying to make. And in the process, I also discovered two kindred spirits several hundred miles away.

Tom then pointed me to several other songs that could be of use, including some from Lorne Clarke. I soon heard from Lorne, too, who was also enthusiastic about the project. Together, they both offered their services to write more songs as needed.

As the film was coming together, I realized that Tom and Lorne could provide musical continuity to the film. I purposely pulled the planned narration from the film and decided that these two singer/songwriters could provide the needed social commentary through their music. Tom and Lorne's soundtrack holds the film together, linking the images to the emotion. The music thus becomes the conscience of the film.

I could not have made the film without them. And Facing Sudan would not be the film it is without their voices.

Tom and Lorne are both very passionate individuals, using music as a way to comment about politics and life. Understanding that I was tackling this project completely on my own, Tom and Lorne offered all of their music for free use, including all of the songs specifically written for the film. Once a rough cut of the film was complete, I sent the film to Tom and Lorne with suggestions as to where I would like additional music. The two got together then on a Sunday afternoon at Tom's house in Scranton, Pennsylvania, and pushed out the music in a few hours.

The two are very prolific. At the duo posts music (for free download) every week. Over the last four years, they have had over 1 million downloads.

I encourage all of you to go to the site and give their music a listen. They are both extremely talented individuals who deserve to be heard. It was a pleasure to finally meet them. It was a little strange, however. Although we had not previously met in person, I felt like I had known them for a long, long time.

I am so thankful that three years ago I accidentally stumbled across their music. Today, I count Tom and Lorne among my friends and, in fact, I have become one of their biggest fans.

To view more images of Tom and Lorne from my visit, please go to the Flickr page.

To get acquainted with the music of Tom Flannery and Lorne Clarke, please visit their website at

Tom has a new album available online. The album is entitled Love in the Present Tense. This is a great album and is available for download for only $6.99. Take a listen here.

In addition, Lorne's new album, Moonlight and Cider is also available. This album features a great new version of Facing Sudan's title theme, "How Do We Sleep at Night?" Take a listen here.

Don't forget, the soundtrack to Facing Sudan is also available. Download it here.

No comments: