LJWorld.com weblogs New Ideas, New Possibilities
Springtime - and Pharrell Williams creates the song "Happy" which has now spread around the world
It's spring - and this is the time for Happiness
The equinox - the first day of spring - was at 11:57 A.M., March 20th, 2014.
Pharrell Williams has created a song which deserves to be played around the world. It almost won an Academy Award this year. Cities and countries have created their own versions, which are fascinating to watch.
Most of these are sung and danced below. Pharrell deserves tremendous credit for what he has done. I would give him a Nobel Prize for peace, music, and dance.
Through dance and song a new, worldly environment is created
Through dance, music, and song, he has created a new environment in which the entire world can participate. And they are doing so. To date at least 59 countries and cities have now responded with their own versions of "Happy" through dance and song, and they are also included below.
Happy was first released on November 21, 2013 at the same time that a 24 hour music video was also released. You can sing and dance to any part of the 24 hour video, which also appears below. Never before has a video that has lasted for 24 hours been attempted, and frankly it is a great success.
Happy has been highly successful, at the top of the US Billboard Hot 100 chart, and also charts in 15 other countries, including Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, New Zealand, Poland and the United Kingdom. In Great Britain it has sold 1 million copies, topping the charts for three million-selling singles (and he is only one of three artists who have ever had 3 million singles, the others being The Beatles and Rihanna.
Pharrell Williams wrote the song, and it was recorded at Circle House Studios in Miami, Florida.
The original song plays for 3 minutes and 53 seconds. It is in the key of F minor. The 24 hour video can be accessed at any point during the video.
"Because I'm happy, clap along if you feel like happiness is the truth," Williams says as he sings. The song was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Song.
Stunning originality throughout the world
What is particularly stunning about this song is the number of completely original versions which have been made in cities and countries throughout the world - and new ones are being added each week. This is not a matter of corporate sponsorship, or governmental activfity; rather, it is groups of people in each city acting on their own, because they like the song. This may be the first time in history that groups in cities and countries around the world have created their own versions of the same song.
After school center
At the present time, Williams is creating a $35 million afterschool center in Virginia Beach, his hometown. He also started a charity, "From One Hand To Another," which is working with at-risk communities throughout the United States.
He is very much into the science fiction series Star Trek - his label name is "Star Trak", and he thinks highly of Carl Sagan, the late astronomer and science lecturer. His wife is Helen Lasichanh, and he has a son named Rocket Man Williams. There is a long interview with him in GQ Style (Autumn/Winter 2013), in which he describes his religious point of view: "On paper I'm a Christian, but really I'm a Universalist."
A Wonderful Creative Work for Teachers
Because so many cities from around the world have responded with their own versions of Happy, the opportunity for teachers is incredible. Very few projects have this kind of distribution around the globe. Each set of students could pick a city, and prepare a presentation on it along with the video for that city. This would work well for grade school students through college. It is a tremendous opportunity in world education, involving geography, dance, and music, which should not be missed.
Some schools might like to team up with other schools, or the entire city, to present their own video. Students who live on the farm have a very special opportunity to involve animals and farm life for people in cities who have never experienced a farm.
Pharrell Williams in GQ on Happy
Pharrell Williams is very clear in this interview about what he likes most about Happy:
This is a new version from Kiev, Ukraine. The video reflects the reality that Ukranians are facing right now. It first begins in a very light hearted way, but then switches to Maidan Nezalezhnosti (Independence Square in Kiev) and has a very different feeling.
Here's the original song, which lasts for 3 minutes and 53 seconds.
The First 24 Hour Video of *Happy*
Here is the 24 hour version. You can access this at any point during the 24 hours.
Around the world with Happy
Now, let's go around the world with Happy. It is a fascinating look at many of the world's cultures and different ways of doing things.
Milwaukee Panthers Basketball team
Can you imagine the Jayhawks, Shockers and Wildcats each doing a version? That would be incredible.
Another video from Bamako, Mali
Abidjan, Ivory Coast
Another video from Cameroon
Ouagadougou, Burkino Faso
Cape Town, Africa
Another video from Cape Town
Queen Latifah show
Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Syracuse University, Syracuse, New York
London, United Kingdom
Moscow, Soviet Union
El Paso, Texas
Berlin dance edition, Germany
Teatro Marrakech, Morocco
Hong Kong dance edition
Prague, Czech Republic
Another video from Craiova
Yet another video from Craiova, Romania
Ramnicu Valcea, Romania
Hanoi Flea Market, Vietnam
Rio de Janeiro Carnival Edition
Another version from Craiova, Romania
Rio de Janeiro
Colorado Springs, Colorado, USA
French flashmob kids
Washington, DC (one org)
San Benedetto del Tronto, Italy
Clug Napoca, Romania
New Orleans, Louisiana, USA
Alba Lulia, Romania
Morgan State University, Baltimore, Maryland, USA
Norwegian Cruise Line
Clark Atlanta University, Georgia, USA
Truman State University, Missouri, USA
Olympic Coastal Village Ice Skaters and Friends (Sochi, Russia)
La Antigua, Guatemala
Frankfurt (Oder), Germany
St. Jude's, Tanzania
Seoul, South Korea
Napa and Sonoma Counties, Caifornia
Trisomie 21 Tunisia
The Graduate Institute, Geneva
High Tatras, Slovakia
Suceava, Romania (capital of Moldova in 1338 to 1565)
Muenster, Germany, dance edition
Tel Aviv, Kino Kitchen Studio
Santiago de Chile
Mexico City, Mexico
Richmond, Virginia, USA
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
World Down Syndrome Day
UN World Day of International Happiness - Pharrell Williams
Morocco, Hit Radio
University of California, Irvine, California, USA
Making of Happy Split
El Jadida, Morocco
Happy from GLEE
TSNB Church, Cincinatti, Ohio
North Carolina Central University, North Carolina, USA
Amundsen High School, Chicago, Illinois
The Making of Happy - Split, Croatia
Les Roches Bluche, Swiss Alps
Hip Hop Class
With the words, so you can sing along, in English and Portuguese
Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony
I am also going to ask Michael Tilson Thomas, whose 70th birthday is this year, if he would like to perform and perhaps write a symphonic variation on "Happy" for symphony orchestra, with dance, to be performed in San Francisco this fall. It may also be performed and written by other symphony orchestras in other parts of the world, just as the popular song has generated many new performances in many countries.
Now, for Kansas: a contest for spring, summer and fall
I would like to make the following proposal. Every state that shows an interest makes their own video during the spring, summer and fall months of 2014, taking into account all areas of the state. Kansas could be a great lead for this. Nowhere in the current videos, for example, do I see people dancing among sunflowers, or the prairies and plains. There is no dancing before corn husks or farm machinery. It's all cities. For Kansas, the video could include all the different aspects of the Kansas countryside, as well as the cities.
The Jayhawks, Shockers and Wildcats
And think what would happen if the Jayhawks, Shockers or Wildcats had won March Madness this year! Even though they didn't win, all three teams and cities - Lawrence, Manhattan and Wichita - should take part in one or more videos. This would enable the Jayhawks to have continued fame for their excellent work long after the games themselves are past.
Contact me if you are interested in this project
Contact me if you have an interest in this video project in the coming months, at email@example.com.
What a great way to begin Spring!