“Paella”, a new video (created by Steve Zehentner) from the album Swirled World by Church of Betty (produced by Kenny Siegal), is a joyous celebration of diversity. Humanity, in its finest form, is not a melting pot where individuals lose their cultural identity, but a paella: a “little of this and a little of that”, mixed together in complementing flavors, where “the secret ingredient is love”, Chris Rael states in his simple but powerful, heartfelt lyrics.
The song is a recipe of auditory delights, including strings, bassoon, electric and acoustic guitars, percussion and vocal harmonies. The tone traverses the globe, folding in pop components with Indian and Latin grooves.
Chris Rael, songwriter, sitarist and frontman for Church of Betty shared his thoughts on the birth of this song and the video: “‘Paella’ was inspired by an old friend’s summertime paella parties in Far Rockaway [NY]. My friends have a charming old bungalow there near the beach. They surf, they’re artistic, and they’re social. They have friends of all ages and nationalities. A friend from the Basque country would make these enormous, beautiful paellas, usually a veggie one and a seafood one. People of all shapes, sizes and colors would come and the common thread linking everyone was this incredible warmth and openness. They were the friendliest, coolest, most delicious parties you’d ever want to attend. The rhythm and beauty of these events inspired me to write the song about harmony among people of different backgrounds and experiences coming together. Steve Zehentner’s video expands the principle from someone’s beach house to the whole of New York City. It was his innovation to apply this value of universal community to the larger canvas of the metropolis.”
Still photo and video: Steve Zehentner