The Newcomer Creative Voices Project

Making space for children to represent themselves, their own voices, and their own lives, on their own terms through collaborative ethnographic songwriting centers children as “competent social agents” (Mayall 2002) and focuses on children’s voice (both figurative and literal), children’s rights, as well as their musical agency and creative processes. The children Kael collaborated with to compose and record three individual songs are competent social agents who were involved in active decision-making in the creative processes of songwriting and recording, and these decisions directly shaped the music they created for this project. Kael’s youngest songwriting collaborators to date—7, 9, and 11 years old—met with Kael over Zoom to compose their songs, which were later recorded in a studio in Toronto.

Even though none of these youngsters had any previous professional songwriting or recording experience, they expressed musical agency in a range of interesting and exciting ways throughout this research project…and they created beautiful, energetic, and entertaining songs!

{Dr. Reid is an outstanding scholar who uses innovative and child-led research practices to support children and young people in sharing their stories and lived experiences through song. Their research has great impact on individuals and communities and promises to amplify the strong voices of children and young people around the world.{
Dr. Andrea Emberly
York University, Toronto, ON

Butterfly (2021)

This song is about this young girl’s very strong emotional and almost spiritual connection with butterflies. Describing a special interaction with a butterfly, she sings about how these beautiful, cherished insects connect her to her homeland of Nepal and her new life in Canada.

Composed by: “Amisha” (child collaborator)  and Kael Reid
Produced by: Lisa Patterson and Kael Reid
Amisha: lead vocal
Kael Reid: acoustic guitar and background vocals
Raneem Barakat: piano
Ernie Tollar: flutes
Doug Friesen: bass
Lisa Patterson: percussion and synth

Butterfly Lyrics
I’m standing outside, early morning
In the garden of our apartment
Morning glories open to the sun

If I just stand still and breathe
If I’m patient, if I’m quiet
You’ll come rest on my hand for a while

Chorus
Butterfly
You’re so sweet
Lift me up
On your wings so high
Butterfly
I believe
I can glide
On your wings so free

I flew across the world to get here
From Nepal to Canada
I left behind the flowers and Ama

But you are always here for me
You whisper that you trust in me
You flutter to me
When I need a friend

Chorus
Butterfly
You’re so sweet
Lift me up
On your wings so high
Butterfly
I believe
I can glide
On your wings so free

Bridge
You show me how beautiful
You show me how colourful
Change can be
You unlock my heart

Chorus
Butterfly
You’re so sweet
Lift me up
On your wings so high
Butterfly
I believe
I can glide
On your wings so free
Butterfly

Hermione & Me Lyrics
She is smart and she is organized
And surprise, so am I
She is kind and I am too
Did I mention that we know a lot?

She goes to Hogwart’s in England
I go to muggle school in Canada
She reads about magic every day
And I all read about her

Chorus
Hermione and me
Like friends across the sea
A Mudblood and a Muggle
A witch like her I would be

She adventures with Ron and Harry
I adventure with Aarushi
She saves the world with magic spells
I save the world with good luck

She speaks English and she speaks wizard
I speak English and Nepali
We both like school, we both like to study
I think we’re pretty lovely

Chorus
Hermione and me
Like friends across the sea
A Mudblood and a Muggle
A witch like her I would be

Hermione and me
Like friends across the sea
A Mudblood and a Muggle
A witch like her I would be

Bridge
Together we would rid the world of Riddle
Expelliarmus! We would say
Riddle be gone today!

When I grow up
I’m going to be an architect
And when she grows up,
She’ll be a professor

I’ll paint every room in her house gold
She’ll teach me how to mix potions
We’ll fly around the world helping kids with homework
And hug them when they get hurt

Chorus
Hermione and me
Like friends across the sea
A Mudblood and a Muggle
A witch like her I would be
Hermione and me
Like friends across the sea
A Mudblood and a Muggle
A witch like her I would be
Like her I would be
And like me, she would be

Hermione & Me (2021)

The young composer of this song draws many comparisons between herself and Hermione Granger, the super-smart and somewhat snobby Mudblood and a favourite character of hers from the famed Harry Potter novel series. This young girl revels in the fantasy of being Hermione’s close friend as together they explore the world and their lives and take care of little children around the world. 

Composed by: “Suhana” (child collaborator) and Kael Reid
Produced by: Lisa Patterson and Kael Reid
Suhana: lead vocal
Raneem Barakat: piano
Kael Reid: acoustic guitar and background vocals
Doug Friesen: bass
Lisa Patterson: percussion and synth

My Crew (2021)

The young boy who composed this song performs an energetic spoken word narrative about the various adventures he experiences with his friends, and how important his friends are to him. He shares with the listener that his friends lift him up out of a life of boredom and through teamwork and cooperation, they travel to the past uncovering some of the world’s mysteries, and into the future with the aim to make the world a better place. 

Composed by: “Kagami” (child collaborator) and Kael Reid
Produced by: Lisa Patterson and Kael Reid
Lead vocals: Kagami and Kael Reid
Kael Reid: acoustic guitar
Piano: Raneem Barakat
Electric guitar: Rohan Staton
Background vocals: Amisha, Suhana, Raneem Barakat, Kael Reid
Bass: Doug Friesen
Percussion: Lisa Patterson

My Crew Lyrics
If I had no friends
I’d be bored out of my mind
I’d be stuck with my little brother
Playing by his rules all the time

If I had no friends
I don’t know what I would I do
I’d spend the rest of my life
Sitting around just wishing for my crew

Pre-chorus
My crew, we co-operate
My crew, we give and take
My crew, we play all day
My crew, we stay in sync  

Chorus
My crew-oo-oo-oo-oo (2x)

With my crew, I can do almost anything
We could even build ourselves a time machine
Then, we would travel back through history
To the mystery of Atlantis and Stonehenge

Pre-chorus
My crew, we co-operate
My crew, we give and take
My crew, we play all day
My crew, we stay in sync

Chorus
My crew-oo-oo-oo-oo
My crew-oo-oo-oo-oo

Then we’d travel into the future
We’d meet ourselves when we’re older
We’d be true and kind, and help people find each other
And spend our time singing happy rhymes 

Bridge
We’ll make the world a better place (4X)

Chorus
My crew-oo-oo-oo-oo
My crew-oo-oo-oo-oo
My crew-oo-oo-oo-oo
My crew-oo-oo-oo-oo

References

Duggan, L. & Muñoz, J. E. (2009). Hope and hopelessness: A dialogue. Women & Performance: a Journal of Feminist Theory, 19(2), p. 275-283. DOI: 10.1080/07407700903064946

Goodson, I. (1998). Storying the self: Life politics and the study of the teacher’s life and work.
 In W. Pinar (Ed.), Curriculum: Toward new identities (pp. 3-20). Garland.

hicks, b. l. (2017). Gracefully unexpected, deeply present and positively disruptive: Love and queerness in classroom community. Occasional Paper Series, (37). Retrieved from https://educate.bankstreet.edu/occasional-paper-series/vol2017/iss37/9

Madison, D. S. (2012). Critical ethnography: Methods, ethics, and performance. Sage.

Muñoz, J. E. (2009). Cruising utopia: The then and there of queer futurity. New York, NY: New York University Press.

More Research

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