Monday, February 8, 2016

Darlingside's God of Loss Papercut Music Video by Andrew Benincasa

It's happened again... I have another new favorite band. Birds Say, an album by Darlingside, a Massachusetts group that originated when its four singer-songwriter-instrumentalists were students at Williams College, played on repeat at my house most of the weekend. One of the tracks, The God of Loss, is a hauntingly harmonious tune... the kind that stays with you for days. Have a listen/look:

The song was inspired by Arundhati Roy's tragic book The God of Small Things. It tells the story of Velutha, a character who, as the band explains, "is tangled in a web of familial, cultural, and romantic loyalties. The lyrics were inspired by Velutha's attempts to preserve his humanity in the face of those competing forces."

Making of God Of Loss Video

Darlingside reached out to Brooklyn paper cutter, illustrator and filmmaker Andrew Benincasa to create a video for a Birds Say song... his choice as to which one. He mulled over a few possibilities before coming up with the thoughtfully produced shadow puppetry animation for God of Loss, a song named by NPR Music as a 2015 favorite in its Folk and Americana category.

God of Loss Papercut Music Video Production - Scene 2

Andrew's explanation of the video's story board:

"The song is about loss and the flow of time, and asks the question about what are the things we can take with us as we continue to lose so much. I thought this song was thematically perfect for a paper-cutting, because paper-cutting is the process of creating by taking away. You take a blank piece of paper and make an image by removing pieces, and shape and story are formed by what is lost. This seemed like a potentially potent metaphor for human experience, and that's the seed I grow this video out of."

God of Loss Papercut Music Video Production - Scene

Andrew explains that he built a light table with a translucent cutting mat on top and a camera mounted above. He would complete about a scene each day, cutting a spooled ream of black paper, coordinating the figures with hand puppetry and editing to perfect the timing.

Paper Cutter Andrew Benincasa

He says, ..."the work is always absorbing and never boring; laborious and bone-wearying and a lot of hours, yes, but never boring, because you know you're building up a beautiful piece, and you'll be able to share that piece with a lot of people."

Andrew Benincasa on Instagram and Facebook
Darlingside on Instagram and Facebook
Previous posts about fave music combined with paper art: Spinto Band - Oh Mandy, Lisa Hannigan - I Don't Know and Beck's Song Reader.


  1. Just. Wow.
    Thanks for sharing.

  2. Completely agree! I want everyone I know to see it.

  3. Sooo beautiful. Glad I saw this. Thanks for sharing it!

  4. very beautiful, the song, the papercutting & the reason for the papercutting! thank you!

  5. HOW UNIQUE! Thanks for sharing!
    Paper Hugs,

  6. Lilac Grove, Stephanie and Jan, I'm glad you enjoyed the post. Thanks for your comments.

  7. Thank you for the opportunity to hear that beautiful song Ann.

  8. I'm glad you enjoyed it, Francine. Have to say the tune is still caught in my mind.

  9. I was blown away by this video... and would never have known about it without your post. Thank you so much for your continued efforts to curate and share the best of paper arts with us!

  10. Comments like yours are why I do what I do - thanks Jennifer! So glad to hear you enjoyed the post.

  11. I too was blown away and the whole experience was quite emotional. It is truely beautiful art - the song, the papercutting and the combined effort. TFS

  12. Mogsy, your reaction sounds just like mine. Thanks for commenting.

  13. I discovered your blog while looking for paper cuts, and that brought me to the song and the video - so beautiful the song, so intricate the story. Definitely will share this with my storytelling group this week! Arundhati Roy came here (Singapore) years ago and she signed my copy of God of Small Things, so it's always been a special book in my library. Thank you for this gift, and may 2017 be more memorable for what it gives us than what it takes away.

  14. Thank you for your comment, Roger... I'm glad you found your way here and enjoyed the post! I see that Arundhati has written a new novel and it will be released this year - her first since The God of Small Things. Wishing you all the best in 2017.


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