Where the rivers meet

Local artists’ collaboration goes viral

By Katie Fender

Photo: Sandy and Michael Bashaw (center) with director David Sherman (holding megaphone) and the cast of “Where the Rivers Meet”;photo: Matt Silver

Last year, “Where There is Love,” the collaborative music video created by Dayton band Puzzle of Light and which featured an amalgamation of local artists, became a viral video in the city of Dayton. Today, the video has nearly 370,000 YouTube views. The video’s success serves as the inspiration for the sequel video, “Where the Rivers Meet.”

After the overwhelming response to the video last year, Dayton City Manager Tim Riordan called Sandy Bashaw, a Puzzle of Light member, and inquired if there would be another video. “On the strength of the first one, the city manager called us about a year ago or so and said we love this video, it’s really good for the city, it shows us in a very positive light and are you going to make another one?” Bashaw explained.

With the city agreeing to help fund their next video, Bashaw, along with her husband and bandmate Michael and their creative partner and director, David Sherman, began working on a sequel.

Bashaw wrote the song, “Where the Rivers Meet,” to be featured in their next video.

“I wrote the song and our band made the basic track,” she said. “Michael, my husband, is the flute player. That’s his studio featured in the video. He’s also a sculptor, and those are his musical instruments in the background. He’s a harmonica player, too, of course.”

Bashaw explained the inspiration for both videos came from the immigrants and growing diversity in Dayton. Bashaw, her husband and Sherman wanted to shed light on the positive influence cultural diversity has brought to the city of Dayton.

“It came out of the notion that immigrants, particularly people who are refugees from other countries where there is political unrest or violence, where their lives are threatened, can seek asylum here,” Bashaw said. “We have a number of folks here that were in those circumstances, and then the city realized that those immigrants were starting small businesses two to one over native Daytonians. And so we should view this influx of immigrants as assets.”

Bashaw and her husband have always been interested in world music. When they learned there was a large group of people from Turkey new to the area, Michael drove over to one of the Turkish centers on the east side to see if anyone was interested in collaborating musically. “That’s how he found the father and son that are playing the drum in the video in front of that big blue wall,” Bashaw said.

About a dozen local bands, singers, dance groups and artists came together for the video at the invitation of Bashaw and her husband.

“We searched them out,” Bashaw said. “We’re very interested in the fact that Dayton has an office of human relation council called Welcome Dayton, and Welcome Dayton’s mission is [to] help immigrants who are coming here from other countries – to help them fit into the city, to help them find housing, jobs, and, if they want to start businesses, you know, help them with whatever resources they need. So we’ve made a conscious effort to include those people – and for me and Michael, that means music.”

The trio are the main creative team for the video.

“We make the basic track, we leave instrumental place[s] for other artists to add their contributions and then we send the basic track to everyone who is involved,” Bashaw said. “Prior to that, we already made plans with our director and editor, David Sherman. He and Michael scouted the locations, and then we had talked about what musicians were available and we had made contact with the musicians to see if they were interested.”

Once the recording and filming are done, the difficult process of editing begins for the creative team. “We go through all the tracks we have and figure out where each artist really shines,” Bashaw said. “Sometimes two different artists will play the same section of the song really, really, well, but we want to include their very best performance.”

In the music video, various shots of Dayton, specifically shots of the five rivers, make appearances, along with the Puzzle of Light studio, and the artists who all help to sing different parts of the song. Most of the artists are the immigrants and different cultural groups the team sought out. The video, “Where the Rivers Meet,” can now be viewed on YouTube.

Puzzle of Light plays at Jay’s restaurant in the Oregon District on first Fridays and has been there for about five years. They also play at the Trolley Stop, also in the Oregon District, approximately every six weeks. Looking toward the future, Bashaw anticipates another video may be in the cards.

“I don’t think it will be a sequel, so far,” Bashaw said. “Now that we sort of stepped our game up with this one, in that we did all the aerial stuff, I don’t know what David has got up his sleeve for the next one. He’s such a creative guy, I’m sure he’ll think up something impossible. We were talking about shooting on rooftops.”

The time frame remains uncertain as the creative team remains very busy with other projects. “We like to say, around our house, we have too many browser windows open,” Bashaw said.

The videos “Where the Rivers Meet” and “Where There is Love,” can be viewed at welcomedayton.org/rivers-meet-music-video and createdayton.com, as well as by going to youtube.com. For more information about Puzzle of Light, please visit puzzleoflight.com.

Reach DCP freelance writer Katie Fender at KatieFender@DaytonCityPaper.com.

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Katie Fender
Reach DCP freelance writer Katie Fender at KatieFender@DaytonCityPaper.com.

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