As the Olympic Games come back into world media spotlight, Felix Buxton of Basement Jaxx has teamed up with London Opening Ceremony Pandemonium Drummers to collaborate on a single celebrating the ‘Champion in us all’.
Written by Pandemonium Drummer Denis Fernando (BA English, 1997) and produced by Felix Buxton, Champion celebrates and showcases the on-going legacy of the volunteers from all the ceremonies. It is an anthem of unity, hope and positivity, celebrating the legacy of an event that united the country and placed London at the centre of a buzzing international community.
Featured in the BBC1 documentary One Night in 2012 broadcast, the one thousand volunteer Pandemonium Drummers were the beating pulse of 2012’s Olympic Opening Ceremony. The diverse group united for that performance alone, but the Olympic Opening Ceremony was just the beginning of the story. Sticking together, the group has performed at over 150 events ranging from the FA Cup Final and Heineken Cup Final to community and charity festivals, fundraising balls and parades.
Champion was written in aid of Teenage Cancer Trust and is dedicated to the late Stephen Sutton MBE, who performed with the drummers at Wembley Stadium for the UEFA Champions League Ceremony in May 2013. The group made him the only Honorary Pandemonium Drummer. He hit the headlines worldwide as he bravely faced his last days a year later, achieving a ‘bucket list’ goal of raising millions for Teenage Cancer Trust.
Felix Buxton, producer and member of the internationally known duo Basement Jaxx, said:
“It was my absolute pleasure to get involved in this project. I met the Pandemonium Drummers when they became part of a Peace Concert I put together to promote ‘Peace One Day’ in September. I was impressed by their spirit and that they were very much a band of the people, of all ages and backgrounds, merrily banging their buckets and dustbins together to create a joyous noise. I was glad to be involved as the song is for a worthwhile charity that is active in helping and healing young people. The song features two individuals who have themselves been struck by cancer and the song is written by one of the drummers who was seeking to capture the spirit of unity he felt being a volunteer as part of the Olympic Ceremony in 2012.”
Reflecting on his experience at London 2012’s Opening Ceremony, Denis Fernando, songwriter and Pandemonium Drummer, said:
“The Opening Ceremony was inspiring, uplifting, bold and courageous. Rather than a piece of history, it feels more relevant today than ever. It was a transformative experience that I cannot forget. Champion is inspired by what it was like to be at the centre of the Opening Ceremony, but its words are for everyone. The London Games showed us at our best with our arms wide open as the world watched, and this is a joyous celebration of that spirit.”
Denis Fernando (BA English, 1997), Pandemonium Drummer and writer of Champion, is a campaigner and musician who draws on his experience as an activist, which included being the NUS Black Students Officer, a National Executive member position.
Denis performed as a drummer in the opening ceremony of the Olympics in 2012 and reprised this role for the Peace One Day 2015 concert with Basement Jaxx. The independently released debut single of his music project Red Cable Sunday, Prelude to the Nocturne (2010), featured on Radio 2 (Alan Titchmarsh) and Radio 3 (Late Junction). He performed at City Showcase – the festival previously led to big breaks for Amy Winehouse and Keane. Latest single Relentless (2015) was featured on RTE Lyric and BBC 6 Music (Tom Robinson).