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Last Updated: Thursday, 29 May, 2003, 12:10 GMT 13:10 UK
Making One Giant Leap
Jamie Catto
One Giant Leap began after Catto quit Faithless
Jamie Catto, one half of the production duo behind the global music project One Giant Leap, has told the BBC World Service about the worldwide journey that went into making the groundbreaking project.

Primarily a musical production, the idea behind One Giant Leap was to "celebrate creative diversity" around the world, and featured the spoken thoughts of artists as diverse as Dennis Hopper and Kurt Vonnegut together with contributions from performers such as Robbie Williams, Asha Bohsle and Baaba Maal.

Securing the cooperation of some of the biggest names in music over nine countries was a massive task.

Catto outlined how he and co-producer Duncan Bridgeman, formerly manager of Take That, persuaded Michael Franti from the band Spearhead to contribute.

"We first heard him when he was being interviewed by John Peel," Catto told BBC World Service's The Music Feature programme.

"We recorded it straight off the TV, chopped it up in the computer and made a rhyme out of it, and sent it off to him wondering whether he'd be offended or flattered.

"Luckily he was flattered, and invited us into his studio in San Francisco."

Maori music

Much of the project occurred in the same way, with many artists being found almost by chance - it was only after Franti mentioned a friend of his, Inya, in New Zealand that the team met the Maori people in Waiheke, and from there came one of the most moving sections of the project.

Robbie Williams
Robbie Williams also puts in an appearance
"Off we went over there, and just had our heads blown off by how incredible the Maori people are in New Zealand," Catto said.

"We never were educated about it in the school that I went to in London, and they were so beautiful, so welcoming, so unpretentious, that they really made us learn a lot about ourselves - so much so that I decided to get a big tattoo while I was there.

"It was agony, I bit off much more than I could chew and it went on for about 12 hours.

"Luckily there was an amazing, amazing traditional singer from New Zealand called Whiri Mako Black over the stereo, and as I went into a trance it really did become like anaesthetic to the pain.

"The moment the tattoo was finished it was like, 'Inya, who is she, where is she', and we went off to track her down."

Mako Black was persuaded to sing a Maori song - named Tamakoru - for the project, which was subsequently overlaid with images of people praying around the world.

Stripped-down sound

Catto added that One Giant Leap also allowed people to hear some artists without some of the stylised production that typifies much recorded product today.

He said that for him this was particularly important when he worked with African singer Angelique Kidjo.

Dennis Hopper
Dennis Hopper is one of the "visionaries" in the project
"I never fully enjoyed the way her producers put her sound together once they put her into a big studio," Catto mused.

"I really didn't like the '80s drum noises, and it's very frustrating hearing such an incredible talent butchered in the production process."

For One Giant Leap Catto and Bridgeman stripped Kidjo's sound right down to the bare essentials, using little but her voice for her track.

The next leap

At the other extreme was the use of the techno reworking of Tori Amos' Professional Widow, done by Armin van Helden and a number one hit in the UK in 1997.

Catto described the piece as "One of the only techno pieces ever made that is just fantastically good."

Coldplay showed One Giant Leap rather than have a support band
After the success of the project - sections of it were shown at last year's Glastonbury Festival, and it was also rewarded with a Grammy nomination - Catto now plans to do another.

He told The Music Feature that he particularly keen to get Brit award-winning group Coldplay on board for the sequel.

"Chris Martin and the rest of the Coldplay crew have been inspiring everybody with A Rush Of Blood To The Head, doing brilliantly all over the world," Catto said.

And the chances of securing the band's co-operation would appear good.

Instead of taking a support band on their latest tour, Coldplay opened their set with a 40-minute cut of the One Giant Leap film.

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