The latest release by the irresistible Piano Guys, entitled “Peponi“, has become yet another YouTube sensation for the classical duo. But, this one is an extra special treat. Pianist Jon Schmidt and Cellist Steven Sharp Nelson partnered with vocal powerhouse, (and my personal friend), Alex Boyé to create an African “spiritualization” of Coldplay’s hit song “Paradise”. Alex Boyé is a British-born Mormon convert of Nigerian descent who currently lives in Utah, USA. Alex is a husband, a father, and a professional singer and actor. He gives his whole heart and soul into each performance, and allows his music to stand as a testament of his life and faith.
“Alex has this contagious energy that gave new life to the song and to us. He sings the tune in 4 different languages: Swahili, English, Yoruba (his mother’s native language), and Alex’s own African “scat” (we’ll call it…Scafrican) =) Most of the words you hear are translated from the lyrics in the original Coldplay Tune.” – The Piano Guys
The stylized Coldplay cover, entitled “Peponi”, takes its name from the Swahili word which means Paradise. The team chose a stunning remote location in Southern Utah as backdrop for their music video – which, quite literally, required them to take their music to higher ground – much, much, higher ground! Enlisting the help of two helicopters, an army’s worth of bungee cords, and a lot of prayers – the combined result of talent, creativity, and sheer guts speaks for itself!
I consider myself extra-blessed to be able to know Alex Boyé personally, and to have performed with him and watched him perform live on many occasions. The best thing about Alex is that he is not just a stunningly talented and moving musician, but he’s also a stunningly warm and genuine person. He’s real. Alex’s life story is one full of great trials and triumphs. It’s a rags to riches to rags to everything-in-between story which is so dramatic it sounds like something written straight out of Hollywood, but it’s all true. Alex was one of the very first member spotlights of the “I’m A Mormon” public service campaign video series – seen here:
I simply couldn’t stop smiling when I watched the newest music video of my friend Alex, a former British boy-band star who lost everything and at one time wandered the streets homeless, and in desperate straights, searching for a purpose to his life…now singing and dancing on top of a cliff performing a song about Paradise, and literally “rising above” the world! There’s no more fitting allegory of Alex’s life, of his testimony, of his faith. Alex will be the first to tell you that no matter what happens to any of us in this life, we can rise above it, and we can go even higher and farther than we ever could have imagined, as long as we hold tight to God, and follow His directions. In this last video, filmed about 5 years ago, Alex shares his personal story of how he ended up coming to Utah and being involved in musical missionary work.
“We took a risky, but oh-so-valuable turn when we called in helicopters to air-lift us and our instruments where none had gone before! (Please excuse the Trek reference). . .We don’t mind telling you that when that helicopter began lifting our brand new-never-before-played grand piano into the air we couldn’t help close our eyes and cross our fingers. We consider it a blessing of Heaven that it worked!” – The Piano Guys
With God, all things are possible. Yes, even airlifting pianos. Thank you Piano Guys and Alex Boyé for adding so much joy, beauty and hope to the world…in addition to your marvelous music! May the Lord bless you with continued success and guide your path with His inspiration and loving hand. “Onward, and Upward!”- MoSop