The Story of “Together we are Strong”

August 3, 2010

I will never, ever forget the night we came back from Bangkok after checking on Rino’s heart.

 Rino was exhausted from all the tests and went straight to bed. I felt so helpless, so angry and sad. I looked at Rino’s photo and started crying. I asked myself over and over, ‘What the hell can I do to save his life?’ I looked in at Rino sleeping. And right there and then I made a vow that I was going to move heaven and earth for this lovely boy. I was going to do whatever it took. I was not going to allow him to die. And this was the moment that his song came into my heart.

 Words and images, fragments of my feelings and love – and hope – were crowding into my head and piece by piece I started to write it all down. All my sadness and frustration came pouring out. This was the hardest song I have ever written. Every line I wrote I cried my heart out.

 The next day I recorded the song and put together a video to go with it. People I showed it to were moved to tears. I began to understand that the song had potential. Yes, it had been a way for me to purge my soul of all the pain, but with a little work this could be something special.

 I went over it with my friend and producer, David Donald, and he readily agreed to record and produce ‘Together We Are Strong’. But the first thing he did was to adjust the lyrics. They were (of course!) very personal and emotional – too much so for a professional production.

 The first session was laying down the drumwork and keyboard, with the help of Ovada Showband. And two days later I brought the kids from Rino’s school to the studio and recorded the choir. I can honestly say that this was the highlight of my entire career. When I heard those clear voices all singing ‘Together We Are Strong’, with the pure voice of little Noelyn singing lead, it really moved me.

 Musicians from all over the island were turning up. Rino’s teacher, Richard, laid down a beautiful mandolin track. Martyn Hillery added a fantastic harp. It’s amazing just how many musicians are now involved from jazz to blues and heavy rock. And all with one goal: to create an anthem for Rino.

 At this point in the story all that is needed is the guitars and lead vocals, but that’s in the pipeline now. I’m collecting the best singers on Samui and each of them will sing one line, followed by a powerful chorus in the style of ‘We Are The World’, but with one difference. This one’s about Rino and … together we are strong.

here is the Video of  Together we are Strong

A Studio Diary about the making of  “Together we are strong ” is coming soon.