Ofra Harnoy reimagines Sonny's Dream in new video with Kelly-Ann Evans

Renowned cellist Ofra Harnoy teamed with up singer Kelly-Ann Evans to bring a new voice to a well-known song about love and loss and mothers and sons.

Newly released video is a love letter to Ron Hynes and Harnoy's new home

Ofra Harnoy and Kelly-Ann Evans filmed some of their video at the Black Sheep, a club in downtown St. John's. (Submitted by Ofra Harnoy)

When renowned cellist Ofra Harnoy turned her eye to an album about the songs of Newfoundland and Labrador, she was certain one of Ron Hynes's best-known songs would be on it — and she knew a voice she wanted to hear beside her own.

Harnoy recruited Kelly-Ann Evans to sing Sonny's Dream — Hynes's timeless song about love and loss and mothers and sons — for her album.

"I actually heard Kelly-Ann sing and I was absolutely blown away way before we even thought of this project," Harnoy told CBC News.

"But when we did, we were sure we were selecting Sonny's Dream to be on the album [and] I just imagined her voice singing that part."

The video for the song is being launched this week, with an exclusive first appearance on CBC.

WATCH | See Ofra Harnoy and Kelly-Ann Evans's collaboration on Sonny's Dream:

Ofra Harnoy's take on Sonny's Dream

2 years ago
Duration 5:57
Renowned cellist Ofra Harnoy has teamed up with singer Kelly-Ann Evans for an especially poignant cover of the Ron Hynes tune

The video shows Harnoy and Evans performing the song at the downtown St. John's pub the Black Sheep, and also includes a dramatic sequence inspired by the classic song's lyrics. Evans plays the mother who pleads with her son to stay home, while actor Tristan Hayward plays the role of Sonny.

Poignancy heightened in pandemic

Sequences were also shot along the East Coast Trail, near Outer Cove.

Harnoy said the poignancy of Sonny's Dream is especially meaningful in the COVID-19 pandemic.

"As a mother with two kids, I haven't been able to see my kids in almost a year. So, you know, it really kind of resonates for me as a mother," said Harnoy, who moved to St. John's with her partner and producer, Mike Herriott, who grew up in N.L.

Harnoy described the video, like the album, as something of a love letter to her new home.

Actor Tristan Hayward plays Sonny in the Harnoy video. In the background is a photo of Ron Hynes's father. (Submitted by Ofra Harnoy)

"For people who can't travel right now, [they're] able to see St. John's, Newfoundland, this incredible oceanside community [with] gorgeous visual views during the video, and this timeless story of a mother not wanting to let her son — or child — leave her," she said.

Herriott, who produced the video with Harnoy, said the new arrangement is a departure from what many people know through the Wonderful Grand Band and Hynes's own performances before he died in 2015.

"We're used to hearing this song with perhaps guitars and drums," said Herriott.

"I think that by putting it in a slightly different context, we hear things in a new way, and it creates a new light to the song — not to reinvent the wheel, at all, but to perhaps hear our voice and our own perception of the music while still staying true to the initial intent."

Harnoy, meanwhile, said the video has a few Easter eggs in the video, including a photo of Hynes's own father — the daddy in the lyrics, who was indeed a sailor. In another sequence, a photo of Hynes himself can be seen.

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With files from Mark Cumby