When I last spoke to Irish musician and actress Maria Doyle Kennedy, we were smack in the middle of Trump's presidency. Neither of us are American, but the effect of the political climate in the United States had permeated both of our native countries—Ireland and Canada. I distinctly recall hearing the anger in Kennedy's voice as we discussed it, my own rage finding a kindred spirit. In her most recent project, Kennedy has forayed into the director's chair to create a music video for her own song "Colour Code."
The song itself covers everything from racial prejudice to incarceration of people of colour to police brutality. At its heart is Kennedy's smooth vocal and her husband and partner Kieran's Spanish-influenced guitar. "Colour Code" is a beautiful track, sparked by the death of Sandra Bland and her family’s campaign (#sayhername). Maria found the death very upsetting.
Kennedy's video rivals the beauty of the song. It opens on a siren as a woman holds a dying black man on a staircase. Dancers of different races and sizes stand in rows, flowing between choreographed and improvised movements. In between the dancers, an agitated child cries. The people on the stairs change, flipping between race and gender. "Colour Code" ends on a heartbeat, perhaps reminding us that life is one of the many things we all have in common. It's a unifying and sincere video from a special artist.