Viewed through a screen or read about from a distance, the tragedy of youth violence can seem like an abstract concept, a far away statistic — but for many it’s a daily reality. You might be tempted to write it off as simply gang violence, but it’s all too easy for innocent people to fall victim to circumstance, as singer-songwriter Louis Dunford reminds us in his heartbreaking debut single, “London’s Requiem”.
Produced by Jakwob, the song tells the story of London’s worsening problem with knife crime and points to some of the factors that have led us to the current crisis; state apathy, social divisions, a failing economy and a scarcity of job opportunities are just some of the reasons he puts forward. What it leads to is a disaffected generation with nothing to live for, struggling to make their way in an increasingly hostile environment.
The video then takes the issue down to the individual level, following a group of teenage friends who, one by one, fall prey to the shocking randomness. As Dunford’s pained vocals soar across the fragile piano melody, we see the four friends dwindling until only one remains, left to his solitude with nothing but a stack of funeral programmes for company.
“This was actually the first song I ever wrote,” Dunford explains. “It strangely feels more relevant to me now than it did when I wrote it. I wrote it when I was around sixteen or seventeen about the people I encountered and the things I saw growing up in London.”