2021 was our 25th Anniversary Year, and we were looking forward to good times with Hello 21.
We wanted to play gigs again, and hoped the pandemic would finally end and things would return to normal.
While we were spending our time in lockdown digging up old photos from our past to celebrate the anniversary, our old singer Michael was languishing in a Chinese prison cell, where he was held on bogus spying charges. We were following his ordeal for over two years, hoping he’d be released finally, but in March he had his trial and it was clear that unless a compromise was reached in the following months, he’d stay in prison for a very long time. Time was running out, and we thought we had to do whatever we could as a band to help his cause.
By June, the song “The Plane To Toronto” was born. We recorded it and released a lyric video. We got significant media attention in Hungary and Canada and the overwhelmingly positive feedback inspired us to take this a step further, and in August we put together a collaboration music video with people around the world standing up united for Michael’s release.
A month later, Michael was released. He was listening to the song on the way back from the airport and called it the soundtrack of his liberation. This was the most defining moment of our 25-year career.
Although the pandemic nightmare is still not over, we did get to play 3 really good gigs this year (the one in Instant was maybe our best gig ever) and our song Christmas Is Canceled was featured in the horror comedy Black Friday (featuring Bruce Campbell of Evil Dead fame).
Our 2021 Spotify stats have been even more impressive than last year, it’s mind-blowing that over 80K people in 104 countries have listened to our songs.
Keep on listening to them in 2022 as well! Happy New Year!
Yesterday we played our first gig following a 19-month hiatus due to the pandemic. It was a blast. Check out the gig photos in the gallery! We’ve also updated the press photos. Photo credits: Nothern Lights Photography – Norbert Pandur-Balogh.
Our former singer Michael Kovrig has been arbitrarily detained in China for almost 1000 days. We released the song The Plane To Toronto in July to raise awareness of his situation. The overwhelmingly positive feedback we received inspired us to take this project a step further. We invited people from around the world to collaborate with us on a music video for this song. We wanted to demonstrate that people around the globe are willing to stand up for Michael and send a clear message to all governments involved. This nightmare has to end. We want Michael to be released, now.
We have received over 60 videos from 15 countries of 4 continents. From Times Square to the Red Square, from the beaches of Australia to the mountains of Colorado, from the Eiffel Tower to CN Tower, people of various age, nationalities and backgrounds stood in solidarity with Michael. And we won’t stop until Michael’s free.
We invite everyone to create selfie photos or videos holding our Free Michael Kovrig poster or a handmade one and upload it to Instagram / Facebook / Twitter with the hashtag #freemichaelkovrig You can also send them to us, and we’ll share the best ones.
And please, share this video too, help us spread the message. The more people we reach, the sooner we have a resolution.
Our collaboration music video project to free Michael is getting a lot of coverage in Canadian media. We’re really thankful for all the support this initiative has received so far, and we hope that we’ll get a lot of cool video contributions. (Please make sure to follow the instructions!) Stories have been published by the Globe & Mail, and the Toronto Sun, and we could talk about the project on CTV News Channel and Alex Pierson’s show on Global News Radio 640 Toronto. We also had a chance to introduce the song to US audiences through an interview on KEXP’s Sound & Vision. You can find all these embedded below.
Our former singer Michael Kovrig has been innocently imprisoned for more than 950 days. We’ve released The Plane To Toronto to raise awareness of his situation. The song only has a lyric video so far, and we’d like to take it one step further by creating a crowdsourced collaboration video. We’ll create a video where you’ll be acting as if you were passing around Free Michael signs, as you can see in the trailer below. You can either download our artwork from here or use this simple design, or create your own hand-made one.
You should record a vertical full HD (1080 x 1920) video with your phone. The video will be cropped to square size, so make sure that both the top of your head and the bottom of the sign will fit in the square. If you can record a square 1080×1080 video (Clips on iPhone should be good for this), that’s even better. Please shoot it outdoors. If you have a background characteristic of your city, the result will be even more amazing!
If you record with the selfie camera, the video can be mirrored (depending on your settings). This is not a problem, we can flip it horizontally.
Here are some instructions and a sample video:
Start with looking into the camera standing still for a few seconds. Don’t stand too close to the camera, so that everything fits in the square cropped video!
Reach out to your right for the sign and pull it in front of your body
Hold the sign for a few seconds
Hand it over to your left
Stand still facing the camera in the starting position for a few more seconds
The video should be about 10-15 seconds long altogether.
Please send it to firstname.lastname@example.org via wetransfer before 20 Aug.
If you have any questions, just drop a mail to the same address.