June 26, 2017

Story: Of Blues Riffs and Blue Reefs

In May of 2016, almost exactly 70 years after Operation Crossroads detonated an atom bomb over its lagoon, a film crew from Natural History New Zealand, Stanford University researchers, and a traveling electric violinist stepped onto the radioactive shores of Bikini Atoll. The team went to examine the long term fallout from the twenty three atomic bombs detonated in the remote Marshall Islands from 1946-1954.

In the just released PBS special ‘Big Pacific’, Professor Steve Palumbi spearheads the effort to examine the land and reefs of Bikini to see how life has recovered from the nuclear testing. Genetic testing by graduate student Elora Lopez is designed to see if the radiation damaged the island corals. On land, samples from coconut crabs, which eat virtually nothing but radioactive coconuts, will reveal if genetic mutation occurred.

But there was also a different voice on the expedition: singer-songwriter and electric violinist, Razz.  Her goal - to explore the deeper meaning of the nuclear tests on Bikini by bringing the classic song Cross Road Blues to the site of Operation Crossroads. The iconic Robert Johnson blues song speaks of a deal with the devil made at the crossroads for fame and fortune. Directed by Dan Griffin of GG Films, in one of the most inaccessible locations on the planet, Razz’ live performance highlights the risks of making such deals. 

Crossroads - A Deal with the Devil – watch video here 

On this expedition, Palumbi’s research goal is to understand the hidden costs that still lurk in the DNA of Bikini survivors. Razz’ music video, with haunting electric virtuosity, visualizes the planetary cost of a different deal with the devil.

 

Crossroads - A Deal with the Devil – https://youtu.be/Q6jE8yjE3rQ
Performed by Razz, Razz@Razzvio.com
Percussion – Kevin Proctor, Kevin@kproctor.com
Audio Produced, Mixed & Mastered – Kevin Proctor, Tassajara Studio
Director– Dan Griffin, GG Films, dan@ggfilms.com
Producer– Steve Palumbi, spalumbi@stanford.edu

Camera and Editor – Dan Griffin

Audio-for-Video Mix – Robin Garthwait, GG Films

Animal Sequence – Faith Torgeson

Drone Footage – Courtesy NHNZ Big Pacific

Cross Road Blues – Robert Johnson
A StoryCats Production

 

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