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'Football Style': Musical documentary transcends cultural borders

Published:Tuesday | October 9, 2018 | 12:00 AMStephanie Lyew/Gleaner Writer
Hugo Vliese showing off his skills.
Hugo Vliese showing off his skills.

When Omar Reid, aka 'Reido', began working on the music video for his song Football Style, it took on a life of its own. What was originally supposed to be a three-minute video, evolved into a six-minute documentary merging sport and music.

In collecting all the elements to show the various side of the sport, he ended up with valuable footage, more than he needed, and too important to discard. At the centre of it was a 16-year-old freestyle footballer from the Netherlands, Hugo Vliese.

Speaking to The Gleaner, Vliese said that before the artiste reached out to him on social media, he did not know much about Jamaican music, but was eager to show his talent in a production of that nature. "The radio stations in the Netherlands are playing more house (electronic dance) music and Top 40 songs." He added, "When I heard Reido's football song for the first time, I did recognise a little bit of the beat and style from other reggae and dancehall songs that I have heard. I also checked out some of his previous music and liked the energy."




Vliese is ranked No. 12 in Europe, and in the top four in Holland. As part of the concept, he recorded and submitted a video doing a few tricks that was then added to the production. "As a freestyler, you are free to invent various stunts with the ball, and at the moment there are a lot of new tricks to be learnt," Vliese explained.

Reido told The Gleaner, "It was important to have the diverse elements added to the music video, which evolved into a documentary on the sport being played at numerous levels in different settings."

Along with the freestyle football scenes, the artiste also featured Jamaica's senior women's team - the Reggae Girlz - high-school football teams, as well as youth in communities across the Kingston and St Andrew area.

He says that football is primarily a male sport, but they benefited from having the opposite sex show off their skills. "The female footballers are doing well in the qualifications rounds, and deserve more attention than they get, plus their feature also gives it a better look - all puns intended."

He noted that the idea was to have the song and music video complete for promotion during the 2018 FIFA World Cup, but the concept of the team, made up of Studio 9 Productions and Seventeen Records, was not completely satisfied.




They now have an end product they can be proud of. "Even if people don't love dancehall, football as a world sport has a place in many person's hearts - from the spectator to the player," he said. "It is not bound by the music genre; instead, it is essentially a mesh of two different worlds with action-packed scenes, commentary and a discussion of the technical aspects."

This is not the first of the artiste's efforts to create a music video which has evolved into a documentary. The first was Help Save Jamaica, a collaboration with Jamaican vlogger Quan Nelson. It was released last August, showing the state of pollution and highlighting the Riverton fires.

"Once the art is fluent, people from all social standings, and globally, can relate. Similarly, all football lovers will appreciate the essence of this production."