At the crossroads of a child’s wonder at discovery and an adult’s grief over what’s been lost stands Canadian singer/songwriter Kele Fleming’s song-of-the-times, “Vanishing of Bees”.
Fleming re-released “Vanishing of Bees” accompanied by a new live video featuring her full band to continue the efforts of the UN World Bee Day. Additionally, 100% of digital sales of the single via Bandcamp will be donated to the David Suzuki Foundation.
With the double whammy of a worsening climate emergency damaging our planet and a worldwide pandemic ravaging our population, there’s no time like the present for this clarion call-to-action that Fleming also describes as “a beautiful lullaby for a time passing and a way of life that is threatened”.
In what the Vancouver Sun’s Stuart Derdeyn calls “a lush pop ballad boasting a soaring vocal on the chorus”, “Vanishing of Bees” powerfully juxtaposes a nostalgic, youthful world view with the harsh reality of today’s global environmental crisis.
“In the song, I call upon the memories of my childhood self - my wonder and love for the natural world,” explains Fleming. “This is contrasted with the adult voice in the song...a voice that expresses grief for what has been lost...youth and the natural world threatened.”
A child in love with the trees
Gentle giants swaying above me
This verdant world set me free
The fourth single from the Vancouver folk pop artist’s fourth studio album The Song I’ll Write for My Whole Life, “Vanishing of Bees” made its first public bow on UN World Bee Day in 2019 as a fundraiser for the David Suzuki Foundation’s Butterflyway Project. “This project supports the protection and sustainment of key pollinator habitats and is very close to my heart,” explains Fleming. “The protection of bee and pollinator habitat is crucial to the sustainment of Earth's ecosystems and our human food systems.”
A self-proclaimed “nature champion”, Kele (pronounced “Kelly”) Fleming wrote the songs for her latest album while on vacation in remote areas of B.C. and Ontario in 2019. “My writing for this song, and for the whole album, is preoccupied with capturing what we may soon lose in the climate emergency, and grieving that loss,” she notes.
Released in October 2020, The Song I’ll Write for My Whole Life was recorded at Vancouver’s Warehouse Studio with JUNO Award winner Sheldon Zaharko of Zed Productions at the helm. Fleming was joined in the studio by her band: Ron Yamauchi on piano/keyboards, Aaron Trory on bass/vocals, Tony Lee on drums/percussion and Scott Fletcher on guitars including the banjitar on “Vanishing of Bees” that “sounds super rad” according to Derdeyn’s review.
“The song features my signature jangly guitars, as well as the bee-like droning and buzzing of Scott’s banjitar,” Fleming elaborates. “The drums & bass were fashioned as an homage to Childish Gambino’s ‘Feels Like Summer,’ a song quite similar in theme to VoB.”
Now available on Kele Fleming’s YouTube channel, the live performance video for “Vanishing of Bees” was filmed with Fleming’s band at Vancouver’s Pandora’s Box Rehearsal Studio. “This was the first and only time I was able to play with my band since the pandemic began,” Fleming says. “Instead of a planned live concert for the album release, in Nov 2020 we gathered to record and film all songs off of the album live during a short reprieve of public health restrictions.”
Check out the live performance of “Vanishing of Bees” here on YouTube:
Performing live certainly won’t vanish completely for Kele Fleming. She’s looking forward to getting back on stage much more often soon after public health restrictions lift again.
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