The Canada Song

I wrote this song a very long time ago, when my daughter, Erin, was in grade 2. (She’s now a grown up woman – how did that happen?!) I used to go into her class and sing songs every week. I think I was asked if I was up for the challenge of writing a song to go with their social studies unit on Canada. I wanted it to include the fact that the people in Canada make up so many different cultures and colours and languages – like a rainbow. The words and music came to me fairly easily (sometimes it’s a bit more of a struggle). This song told me it wanted to have a Calypso beat so I said, ok. ūüôā

The student teacher who was in Erin’s class at the time was studying French, so I got her to translate the words for me and we taught it to all the kids. It was a pretty big hit.

I performed it with the kids at a wonderful event that happens every year in schools all over Burnaby: Primary Days of Music. (Students in grades 2 and 3, all over the district, learn the same 8 songs and sing them all together one afternoon or morning,  plus each school chooses 2 songs to perform for the others at their event). That first time, a marvellous music teacher named Kay Norton came over and told me how much she loved the song and said I should write it down and share it with other teachers. I did that and got some more really positive feedback.

Since then, I’ve sung the song many times, including at several school performances, doing a show I called, “Ollie and the Impossible Odds”. I added a couple of extra verses, in a sort of hip-hop/rap style (although I’m sure REAL hip hop and rap artists would roll their eyes at that description).

About 6 years ago, I decided to teach it to the kids at the school where I currently work. My friend Jesse Waldman (guitar player, vocalist, songwriter and recording artist extraordinaire) agreed to come in and record the students singing that and a couple of other originals (Hurry Up Santa, and¬†Green, Please – you can hear them on my CBCmusic.ca page or on my SoundCloud page – see links on my Judy’s Music page) ¬† Then I ¬†went into the studio of the amazing Marc L’Esperance (drummer, guitar player, singer, recording engineer, sound wizard for the Jazz and Folk Festivals for 25 years! and photographer – man, what CAN’T that guy do well?) and we laid down the tracks. ¬†This year, for Canada’s 150th anniversary, we performed it again for Primary Days of Music, as did another teacher in the district.

I’ve been wanting to make a video to go with The Canada Song and get it out there in the world; this year seemed the perfect year to finally do it. So I spent that last several weeks gathering and uploading photos I took when I drove all the way across Canada two summers ago, found some ¬†other images on the web that fit the words and got my friend Brian Hutchison to sync the images with the music (what an amazing job he did!) ¬†It was a lot of work finding the right images and figuring out exactly where I wanted them to go. And… we did it!

Et maintenant, VOILA! You can see and hear it here:  https://youtu.be/y9ZP2Ap5sp8

I hope you will like it as much as I do, and maybe even as much as the kids at my school do!

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