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  • Nikolaï Clavier

Ode to a Sleeping City Goes Viral

Updated: May 18, 2021

On the 16th of February 2021 a video was released featuring six times Dutch champion in figure skating, Niki Wories, dancing on the frozen canals of Amsterdam. The video quickly got picked up by the media and was shown on national TV to over a million viewers. The YouTube post has over 120k views and news reports all over the world have been showing the film.

The film is directed by cinematographer Jaap mar Diemel, and he contacted me two days before the shooting to compose a piece of music. This has been one of the most exciting and last-minute jobs I've ever done. We wanted a romantic piece for orchestra and solo cello. So I composed a piece over night and sent Jaap a demo where I played the viola instead of a cello. He loved it! Next day he went on the ice with Niki Wories, and using my demo she made one of the most beautiful choreographies known to man.

Same day as the shoot Diederik Smulders came into my studio and we recorded the cello part. Diederik has a warm and deep sound in his cello, and I managed to capture that with my Røde NT1 and Oktava mics:

This was a unique opportunity, because the canals of Amsterdam only freeze like this every few decades. Jaap saw an opportunity and took it, and as a result we have this beautiful video to show for. The sound design was elegantly done by Burak Oztas and the editing by Emma Mandjes. The song is now available in two versions on Spotify:

It has over 20.000 listeners and is by far my most popular song on Spotify. I made a longer version of 3 minutes later, because Niki will be using it for her next dance routine in Canada. It will be nice to see what comes out of it.

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