The UCT Ikey Tigers released a new video of their team song “Warrior Poet”, Recorded, shot and edited at Cosher Recording Studios in Cape Town.
It’s not everyday that we get to have a group of people in the studio that are a team outside of music, but we recently just got that opportunity when the UCT rugby team came through to record a version of the Ikey Tigers team song “Warrior Poet”, originally written and recorded in 2008.
The original song, written by Andy Schar, was introduced as the theme song for the Tigers, to create a sense of team camaraderie and also to touch on the fact that singing as a team is part of the Tiger’s identify.
The original track was beautifully done and has a light rock pop feel, but it was decided in September of 2020 to do a remake of the track using singers from the team as well as some ex team players. This was initiated by the Tiger’s management, who saw an opportunity to add some team cohesiveness and positivity to the difficult year that was 2020.
The Song Process
Firstly, the track was given to Ross Rowley, our in house composer, to dissect the elements and write something which was slightly more modern African and added a slightly more epic feel. This was sent back as a basic idea of what was possible for the track.
After the initial rewrite, where Ross added a fuller orchestra and more powerful musical elements, studio owner and head producer Cosher stepped in to produce percussion and to add more elements which both uplifted the feel of the track and also added to the more South African feel specifically, with elements like the kwela style guitar and additions such as marimba taking the fore where there was once a lead guitar in 2008.
Once the track was completed, the team players, whose voices were to be used as leads, were invited to the studio to record vocals with producer Cosher. A few interesting things happened.
A rap had been added in the new version as well as an intro section which touched on Zulu, English and Afrikaans, making the track even more accessible for a contemporary South African audience. With Cosher’s help, the rap which had initially been too slow was sped up and lyrics added, to give the rap lyrics a fuller, more rounded feel.
For the song performance during the day, each of the team’s strongest singers was asked to sing on a verse, and lead through the chorus parts of the track, where the rest of the team would get involved to add a choral feel with lots of team voices being part of the experience. This is what makes the track full and creates the team “vibe” which is so important.
After the track was completed it was then decided that a Behind The Scenes video should be done in order to really allow the track to be shared, both amongst the players and also throughout the UCT community and further afield.
A day was set aside, a shot-list was discussed and the team came in for a second day. Each section that was recorded was captured on video filmed by Ross Rowley, along with different sections of team members adding their bit to the experience. This created a background of team cohesion which would become evident in the video later as well.
Ross then took the footage to the cutting room where he also began the edit.
The editing process was quite painstaking as areas of the song had to be mixed in with quick cuts to various team members as they sang certain parts. Sections which were only a few words, but important to help create the vibe had to be cut perfectly with transitions to match.
It’s important to remember that whilst the mainline singers were the strongest vocalists, these players are not professional vocalists, so the atmosphere being created is one which is coming from people who don’t spend their time behind the mic, which makes the achievement one which is praiseworthy. Kudos also has to go to Cosher, who spent a lot of time in the engineering chair making sure that the lads sang as close to on key, and on time, as possible, helping them learn how to do this.
The final product is a mix of faces and singing abilities, made to sound like a team who is giving it their all, peppered with moments of seriousness and expertly stitched together with smooth transitions and well placed burns and grades.
The video is a product that the Tigers themselves should feel proud of, as they gave it their all and their cohesion as a team created the sense of togetherness which was so sorely needed after 2020.