I first met Ranagri in 2014 when we filmed a Big Comfy Session with them.
Thinking back now, I’m somewhat embarrassed to say that in the weeks leading up to that session, I was less than enthusiastic about it. I knew very little about Ranagri part from the fact the line-up included harp and flute…which at the time, suggested to me they wouldn’t be an act I was into.
Out of the seventy plus Big Comfy Sessions we’ve filmed, Ranagri is without doubt the session that surprised me the most. I really liked them:
- They were just the loveliest people
- They were serious muso’s (like, ‘proper’ muso’s)
- The tracks they did for us were flippin’ great!
All of which goes to show how little I knew (and probably still know) about music, other than I’ve been educated that bands with harps and flutes can be very cool. A few years later I saw them again at the Big Comfy Bookshop and was just blown away.
So when Ranagri got in touch earlier this year about doing some promo photos and a video, I was well up for working with them.
The band’s studio and HQ is in Malvern, Worcestershire, which right up front I have to say is one bloody gorgeous piece of land. As previously documented in this blog I’m not a particularly outdoors person but driving to this job I was blown away by the scenery…
Our original plan for the day had been to do photos first, then film a video, but for reasons I can’t quite recall (probably weather forecast) we did it the other way round. The band had booked this mad venue for the video shoot; the smallest theatre in the world! My first priority when I turned up was to check that I could actually get enough distance between me and the band to film them! With some creative positioning, that box was ticked and we were good to to…
With little room for proverbial cat swinging, this job was definitely a case of minimising the amount of gear in use. The theatre had some inbuilt lighting that was Ok so we ended up using that. The band were performing a new track called ‘The Medication Show, a Charleston romp written about Brexit…very clever.
With the video and a few promo shots in the bag we went back to Ranagri HQ for some lunch (have I already mentioned that they are just the loveliest people to hang out with?) and then we set out to get some more promo photos.
‘We’re going for a walk’ they said, ‘The track is a bit uphill, is that Ok?’
‘Of course’ I replied, having no clue what they meant by ‘uphill’.
Now, when you live in Malvern and are well used to going for evening strolls up the Malvern hills, the ‘uphill’ in question would probably be nothing more than a pleasant amble. However, for someone who grew up in a city, works in a city and spends their professional life (and most of their personal life) sitting sedentary at a keyboard, ‘uphill’ was like doing feckin’ Everest! A number of times on route to our shoot location I had to stop and seriously question whether we should be using oxygen at this kind of altitude….
Suffice to say, by the time we reached where the guys had planned to shoot, I was close to cardiac arrest. Male pride prevented me from phoning for an air ambulance; instead I ratcheted up my shutter speed to compensate for extra camera shake, stood the band with their backs to the gorgeous evening sunlight and shot away…
With a bunch of shots in the bag, we ambled back down the mountainside (ok… in reality it was probably just a small hill, but it’s still the highest altitude I’ve been this year) to round off, near-death experience aside, a bloody lovely day.
Ranagri’s new album is out shortly. It may just feature some of the imagery we shot that day, but more importantly it features Ranagri who are just great, so I’d strongly recommend getting on it asap…