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Chain Gang

Umlilo’s Fashion Funeral Music Video for ‘Chain Gang’



Ending 2014 on a fabulous note was the official music video for performance artist Umlilo’s new single Chain Gang off his upcoming EP, Aluta. In it, a black-clad and heavily-acessorized fashion pack attend the funeral of Rita who is there both in coffin and in spirit. The veiled Rita is played by Umlilo who also takes on the role of ‘Father Karl’, a re-imagined Lagerfeld who leads the ‘sermon’. The aisle becomes the runway down which the visitors saunter before paying their respects with a quick #funeralselfie.


Written, produced and sung by Umlilo, the track explores the ‘dark, pretentious and ever-fleeting’ world of modern gangs, where money is the currency and fashion is the religion. Umlilo explains further, “We live in a world where people keep getting gunned down everyday for all sorts of reasons they cannot control from skin colour, religion, poverty or sexuality. At the other end of the spectrum is this vacuous pursuit of money and bling. It all has a chain effect making us all part of a chain gang whether we like it or not. The song explores this perpetual cycle to survive, to live and die with dignity in this modern jungle.”


The conceptual ‘fashion funeral’ was written, produced and directed by Katey Carson showcasing the styling expertise of Art Mataruse who enlisted some of Cape Town’s freshest designers to contribute to the wardrobe. They include Lukhanyo Mdingi, Maxine Friessnegg, Elizabeth Megan Thebus, Birch and Elm, M4S and Renee Nicole Sander. Art says, “When approached to style Chain Gang I pretty much jumped on it because I’ve been wanting to work with a lot of black at one go. The challenge (something I enjoy) was to stick to a fashionably dark brief and play with a colour that is considered safe and easy to coordinate. The most exciting part was going into the Cape Town jungle and picking out interesting garments from young to mature talent. Another important visual element to the story is the make-up, created by lead make-up artist Charli JvR for INGLOT.


A talented team of DOP/editor, Jared Paisley, editor Stephen Horn, 1st camera assistant Zeon Van Zyl and production designer Chantel Clark helped to bring Katey’s vision to life. She says, “The concept of Chain Gang was inspired by Umlilo’s track as well as the current state of youth culture in South Africa. I wanted to explore the ‘scene kids’ and play with the notion of a church that the young and hip would attend, a dark portrayal of a place of worship where deities are replaced with fashion designers, labels, shoes and gold. I wanted to imagine what would happen if these scene kids had to attend a funeral, and express the idea that for the youth very few things carry meaning anymore.”




Written, Produced and Directed by Katey Carson


Featuring: Umlilo as Rita Vein and Father Karl


Stylist: Art Mataruse
Director of Photography: Jared Paisley
1st Assistant Camera: Deon van Zyl
Offline Editor: Jared Paisley
Online Editor: Stephen Horn
Lead Creative Make-Up Artist: Charli JvR for INGLOT
Make Up Artists: Simone Rossouw, Kim Cloete, Hilary de Villiers
Production Designer: Chantel Clark
Production Co-ordinator: Thaakirah Behardien
Gaffer: Ryno Nortje
Grip: Matthew Robinson
Production Assistants: Frances Botha, Sidni Forbes, Rudi Gremels
BTS Photography: Michael Currin
Designers: Lukhanyo Mdingi, Maxine Friessnegg, Elizabeth Megan Thebus, Elme Bekker & Crystal Birch – Birch and Elm, Luiz Delaja – M4S, Renee Nicole Sander


Also Featuring:
Zani K Moleya, Thembalethu Wolf Mfebe, Caterina Gouws, Kelsey Carson, Chantel Clark, Amelia Shelley Baldwin, Travis van der Riet, Gavin Mikey Collins, Wendell Barlow, Cynthia Fan, Sheldon Michaels, Angelo Antonio Valerio, Georgina Warner, Simoa Kefira Nangle, Jazzara Jaslyn, David Ralph Viviers, Kyle Wallace, Adri Borman, Adyan King, Morgana Marengo, Lesala Mampa, Robert Peter Haxton, Winston Alec Golden, Kireon McShane


Special Thanks:
Wild Spaghetti, Theatre Arts Admin Collective, Media Film Services, Kalahari Pictures, Michael Murphy, Irfaan Fredericks


Chain Gang


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