Watch Yulia Mahr’s video for ‘Prelude 2’

BAFTA-winning artist and filmmaker Yulia Mahr reveals her new video for Prelude 2 the third single from VOICES 2.

The ‘Prelude 2’ video is an artistic response to our turbulent times and highlights the plight of refugees.  According to the United Nations, more than 20,000 migrants and refugees have drowned in the past seven years trying to cross the Mediterranean. Many people including women and children, lost their lives while trying to escape persecution and poverty.

The inherent beauty in Mahr’s imagery is contrasted with harsh brutality of war and global turmoil. The film also is a metaphor for the sensation of drowning that people feel when overwhelmed. Despite its sombre mood, positivity runs throughout: a sense of potential in a future as yet unwritten, with a younger, activist generation emerging.

Yulia Mahr said “When I was a little child I almost drowned, saved at the very last moment by my mother. I still remember the sensation so vividly – it was hazy and dreamy and the seconds went by in slow motion. I wasn’t panicking but it was totally overwhelming – a feeling of the inevitable unfolding. I’ve tried to bring something of the memory of those moments to this video. And my own sense of the power of that, in juxtaposition to the amniotic fluid that gives us life.”

The powerful themes of humanitarianism running through VOICES and single Prelude 2 were informed by Yulia’s own upbringing. She was born in Hungary. At the time, under communism, most women had to work and so Yulia was, in those early years, raised largely by her Grandmother.

Her Grandmother had been a simultaneous translator between five languages . Herself a refugee during the Second World War, who had escaped to Chile – she had worked with and befriended Allende, Neruda and Che Guevara. She raised Yulia in Budapest and her deep humanitarianism and warmth fed the inspiration for VOICES.

When Yulia was seven, she and her mother fled Budapest. They arrived in the UK. Her mother, intent on getting a university education, put herself through college in her mid thirties. They found a place to live by answering an ad in Time Out  for a single mother who was either a refugee or migrant that needed a place to live.

She explains, “I was born in Hungary at a time when it was a Communist country. I have such vivid memories of our street, where the buildings were still peppered with bullet holes from the revolution in 56, and where some were still in ruins from World War Two.

In those days each person was allocated a certain predetermined amount of living space, so every flat would contain multiple generations or sometimes even different families. I lived with my great grandfather, my grandmother, aunts, father and mother in three rooms.

My grandmother had fled persecution by the Nazis to the safety of Chile for 20 years – and so in the confines of our flat I was raised on stories of escape, persecution, community and hope. My grandmother remained a humanitarian throughout her life – helping refugees and being part of an international movement towards peace.

In the end my own convoluted story saw my mother and I replicating the large scale migrations of the 20th century and I arrived in the UK  – lonely, confused and desperate for security.

While I could rarely see my grandmother after that – her spirit has never left me and it is this spirit that informed the conception and writing of VOICES.”

VOICES 2 follows directly from its first part, the soundtrack to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Order your copy here.

VOICES 2 – Released: 9 April 2021

VOICES 2 Artwork by Yulia Mahr

The second album in the pioneering audio-visual Voices project, co-created by Max Richter & Yulia Mahr, arrives in record shops and onto digital music services on 9 April 2021.

VOICES was inspired by, and features text adapted from, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. VOICES 2 follows directly from the first part, embodying the Universal Declaration’s aspiration to build a better and fairer world. T

he message at the core of Max Richter’s Voices 2 is one of hope. The music, and the video for the debut single ‘Mirrors’, invites us to take a breather from the rolling news agenda and to reflect instead on the aspirations in the Universal Declaration.

Positivity and a sense of potential in a hopeful new future, runs throughout VOICES 2. Yulia Mahr, Max Richter’s filmmaker and visual-artist partner, captures the image of rejuvenation in her video for ‘Mirrors’ as flowers bloom.

Yulia Mahr on ‘Mirrors’: “For all its challenges, this moment also offers us an opportunity to build anew; rather than just restarting the old world, we can invent a new one. Therefore, I have made my first film for the second part of Voices a hopeful one. The flowers are all negative versions of themselves – out of the negative, out of the dark and disconcerting – can be born a future that is full of beauty and the positive. It’s hard to see it still, but it’s potentially there. History is not inevitable. If we come together, we can create a kinder world.”

Max Richter: “There are always opportunities for new beginnings. And that’s one of the things that’s so hopeful about that text. It lays out a very fundamental and simple set of principles, which are completely available to us at all times, but we do have to choose them. That’s the challenge, isn’t it?”

Order your copy of VOICES and VOICES 2 here.

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