Belgian musician Stromae released a music video for his new song “Santé” (French for “Health”), featuring Kyiv’s bridges, local bus stations and ships plying the Dnipro River.
Ukrainian Shelter Film is one of the production companies behind the video for Stromae’s first single in the last three years. Over 8 million people have viewed it since Oct. 15. The video was directed by Ukrainian Jaroslav Moravec and Stromae’s brother and artistic director Luc Van Haver.
“Santé” is an ode to those who work around-the-clock, while others are out partying. The video shows various workers — call center operators somewhere in Africa, restaurant workers in the Middle East, fishermen in Kyiv — dancing carelessly.
Although Stromae didn’t participate in shooting in Ukraine, other actors were filmed in Kyiv. They wave their arms from side to side, perfectly in tune with the loping beat, showing that they also deserve to have fun.
The production company spent nearly six hours filming a scene on a tug to film the fishermen. They used 100 kilograms of live fish but then released them into the water.
“We wanted to tell the stories of ordinary people who work hard every day to make our lives more comfortable,” said Dasha Deriagina, Ukrainian producer of the video. “Despite the problems, these people love their work and try to enjoy life.”
Belgian singer, songwriter and producer Paul Van Haver (better known by his stage name Stromae) sings “So how about we celebrate to those who don’t celebrate / For once, I’d like to raisе my glass to those who don’t have one…”
The new single is Stromae’s first since “Défiler”, which the singer used as a soundtrack in the 9-minute promotional video for his own clothing line. It was released in 2018. However, it has been eight years since the pop star released his iconic Racine Carrée album that includes world-famous songs like “Papaoutai”, “Formidable”, “Tous les mêmes”.
To date, Stromae has sold 8.5 million albums worldwide and his 2013 album Racine Carrée had been the first in France to sell over two million copies in more than a decade.
Stromae took a break in 2015. He had performed 200 concerts in just two years and felt that he had a burnout. He also suffered from panic attacks and health problems caused by the malaria vaccine he took that year.
This is not the first time famous artists have come to Kyiv to stage their performances or shoot videos. They like the post-Soviet vibe of the country and many exotic locations, including the Vernadsky National Library of Ukraine, featured in the music video for a song by British singer Zayn Malik, and a modernist building called Flying Saucer featured in a promo video for the Three UK British telecom company.
Ukraine also has many talented production studious, offering a high-quality service cheaper than in the U.S. or Europe. Ukraine’s Shelter Film, for example, also filmed a music video for British pop star Dua Lipa, while Ukraine’s Radioaktive Film produced commercials for international clients like Apple, Nike, Audi, Sony, and music videos for Coldplay and Twenty One Pilots. The company’s biggest success was the award-winning “Chernobyl,” the mini-series for the HBO television network.
“In Ukraine, you can film inside metro stations, in the airport, in the militarized units. It’s not too bureaucratized here, because in Europe it totally is,” said Volodymyr Yatsenko, general producer for Limelight film production house, which helped produce a video of Miley Cyrus and Mark Ronson, in an interview with Hromadske International in 2020.
“Prices start from 30,000 euros here. Outside Ukraine, prices start at 50,000 euros, so it’s a least twice as low here as it is in Germany or France,” he said.
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