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. 🙂

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 SoundCloud page and many other streaming sites – 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:

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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