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Mighty Songs for the Moment
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Mighty Songs for the Moment

Partners: Mighty Writers

Duration: 2020

Description: Poetry and songwriting workshop with Mighty Writers; 2020

“Soon together again
Soon warm with friends
Soon to gather again
Communities will be born again.”

From “Share Love, Strength & One Core”
Words by Zina Ahmed (15), Calvin Turner (16) & Annabelle Kustor (9)
Music by Zina Ahmed & Ami Yares

In March 2020, when the pandemic hit, World Cafe Live and Philadelphia’s Mighty Writers got together to offer young people a new way to be heard.

World Cafe Live teaching artist Ami Yares invited young people who had submitted writing to Mighty Writers’ weekly writing competitions to join him and turn their poetry into songs. Three different groups of writers met Ami over Zoom. They got to know each other, brainstormed how the students’ poems could combine and together worked out ideas for song structure, melody and rhythm. The artists came to the collaboration from their strengths—the young people as writers and Ami as a musician/songwriter.

Think of these songs as simple “snapshots in sound” from the unprecedented Spring of 2020. The lyrics speak to the beauty of the season, the isolation of the moment and the hope of rising again from the shared crisis. We hear Ami singing in his studio and the young people speaking into their phones. It’s like we can feel these collaborators closing the distance we’re all experiencing word by word, note by note, voice by mighty voice.

A special online release party allowed the songwriters to share their poems live, talk about the songwriting process and have a dialogue with the audience about writing during this time.

The Summer 2020 pilot of “Mighty Songs” was supported in part by the Pennsylvania Humanities Council, the Federal-State Partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

This project has continued for next rounds of songwriting workshops.

“Share Love, Strength & One Core”

Words by Zina Ahmed (15), Calvin Turner (16) & Annabelle Kustor (9) / Music by Zina Ahmed & Ami Yares / Performed by Zina Ahmed, Annabelle Kustor & Ami Yares

POEMS

Zina Ahmed / Community

I see people walk around every day
People who seem to be alike, but different
I see a community

People who unite, that’s what we call unity
If we don’t know each other, why does it seem like we do?
Why does it seem like the woman
standing over there was walking besides me just the day before?

I can’t explain why these feelings are here
But I can tell you that in fact we are the same
You may have not seen that person a day in your life,
but you think you know them

We all breathe the same air
Watch the same shows
Feel the same water droplets falling from the sky

Some listen to the same music
Some work in the same fields
And some may even think of the same things

Just because we don’t look the alike, doesn’t mean we aren’t
You see, we all take part in the area we live in
Every person plays a role

Those people, They leave their houses to provide for their families
Don’t you, don’t your parents?
They have feelings, responsibilities, priorities
And so do you

That’s the person you saw at your church,mosque, or synagogue.
Can you spot the similarity?
You both believe in the same thing
You’re part of what we call a community
A group of people, diverse in many ways,
but who have many things in common

Calvin Turner / Warmth

It’s April now, the world is getting warmer
still, it lies so empty, cold and sober
the warmth is with us, but it stays inside
burning and burning with no release

Walk alone outdoors, out into the cold
see emptiness, barren, with no warmth to behold
outside, moving quickly shifty, tired eyes pass by
belonging to cold souls with masks to hide behind

Little shimmering glimpses of warmth can be found
faraway laughter echoing from homes
warm lights that show we are not alone
few kind strangers willing to pass on a smile

They still stay away and stay cold to stay safe
for now, we are not allowed much warmth
but warm hearts, minds, and smiles still stand
at least six feet apart but together

For it’s a cold time right now in April
but soon the cold will end
soon we’ll be together again
soon we’ll be warm with friends,
and communities will be born again

 

Annabelle Kuster / Communities

A community is a big family
With many different cultures, ages, religions,
And a lot of different backgrounds.
People in every community differ,
but everyone in the community
Share love, strength, and one core
.
My community is a quiet one,
But before COVID-19,
It would be loud,
Loud enough to notice,
But not enough to be Annoyed.
But really, It depends on Who you are.

My community is quiet,
Sad,
But also very peaceful.
Quietness,
With no cars passing,
Nor people walking
And talking
Right by my front door.
Sadness, Alone in my house,
With nothing to do.
No friends to hang out with,
No more playdates.
That’s how My community Is now.

 

LYRICS

Verse 1
We all breathe the same air
Watch the same shows
Feel the same water
Falling from the sky
Even listen to the same music
Work the same fields
And some even may think
Of the same things

People leave their houses
Provide for their families
These feelings that they have
Of things to be done
Weighs on their shoulders
The need for assurance
That things are complete

We just got to remember

Chorus:
Share love, strength, and one core
Share love, strength, and one core
Share love, strength, and one core
Share love, strength, and one core

Verse 2
We walk alone outdoors,
Out into the cold
See emptiness, barrenness
With no warmth to behold
Little shimmering glimpses
Of warmth can be found
Faraway laughter echoing
We are not alone

They still stay away
Stay cold to stay safe
for now, not allowed
Not much warmth
but warm hearts, warm minds,
and smiles still stand
at least six feet apart

Bridge:
Soon together again
soon warm with friends
Soon to gather again
Communities will rise again
Soon together again
Soon warm with friends
Soon to gather again
Communities will be born again

 

“Springtime Bliss All Around Me”

Words by Laila Butts (11) & Victoria Sindlinger (15) / Music & Performance by Laila Butts, Victoria Sindlinger & Ami Yares

POEMS

Victoria Sindlinger / Nature’s Springtime Bliss in Philadelphia’s Streets

Look at the cherry tree on your street.
Do you see its blossoms, pale and sweet?
The bumblebees come, the bumblebees go,
Pollinating the blooms as they do so.

If the petals have fallen off your tree,
Observe its leaves, a pretty light green.

Beyond the tree, looking way up high,
Lovely clouds float in the light blue sky.

Oh, the warm breeze that flies by you,
It feels so good, so free and true.

Suddenly, you see an Osprey high in the air
Perhaps returning home right then and there.

Dandelions, violets, forsythias bloom,
Threads of color on nature’s loom.

Even invasives are beautiful today;
On the starling’s back the sunbeams play.
Hear the robins and cardinals sing,
Hear their lovely melodies ring.
Looking at all this, do you not feel
The joy of a mountain spring, right now, right here?

 

Laila Butts / Happiness All Around Me

I sense happiness all around me
It is like a bright canary yellow
I see it in my friends and family
I feel it in the warmth of my skin
I smell it in the home garden by the window
I taste it in the ice cream overdosed with sprinkles
I hear it in the laughter of my loved ones
When I am happy I am free

 

LYRICS

Verse 1
Look at the cherry tree on your street.
Do you see its blossoms, pale and sweet?
The bumblebees come, the bumblebees go,
Feeding the blooms as they do so.

Verse 2
Beyond the tree, looking way up high,
Lovely clouds float in the light blue sky.
warm breeze flies by, you are free and true
It feels so good, it feel so new

Chorus
I sense happiness all around me
Bright canary yellow,
Graceful garden green
See it in my friends and fa mi ly
Feeling it in the warmth of my skin
When I am happy I am free
When I am happy I am free

Bridge
Looking at all this, do you not feel
The joy of springtime bliss right now, right here?

 

“Mother”

Words by Alayah Dunlap (14) & Oyin Moore-Scott (13) / Music & Performance by Oyin Moore-Scott & Ami Yares

POEMS

Alayah Dunlap / Untitled

Word to my mother, I love her
From her curls to her heart
The one soul I wish could never depart
She’s my mother

No one else goes above her
The first hand I’ve ever held
My first love, My true soulmate
She’s my mother

My first teacher
My biggest fan in the bleachers
The hand I hold when I’m falling
The hug that keeps me together
So word to my mother, I love her

My best friend, My rider till the end
My smile when I’m most unhappy
She always listens when I get a bit chatty
Cuz she’s my mother

She holds more value than ur gold
And she’s tougher than ur diamonds
She’s priceless, Mothers are one of a kind
And luckily I chose this one to be mine
So word to my mother, I love her

Oyin Moore-Scott / My Protector

My guide, my protector
What’s the name you ask.
The name’s MOM/Madre
We all either have one or had one.

They go by many names
that you may know like
Mommy,Momma,Mom,Madre,etc.
And so
The reason we are here is
because of our guides and protectors.
My protector
has been there
for me through thick and thin.
My protector is
that encouraging little voice within saying
“You got this, I’m here.”
Mi madre cares for me with no complain,
For u yours does the same so try not to be a pain.

LYRICS

Verse 1
My guide, my protector
My love, a soulmate
Through thick and thin
Unbreakable bond we create

Pre-Chorus
They go by many names that you may know

Hook/Chorus
Mommy, Momma, Mom, Madre

Verse 2
The hand I hold when I’m falling
The hug that keeps me together
The little voice within this storm you can weather.

About Mighty Writers

At Mighty Writers, we teach kids to think and write with clarity. We do this work at nine storefront centers and now online.

Online, or in-person, we take students through every genre of writing but always with the same goal: to get kids to think clearly and write with clarity.

Writing workshops typically run four sessions and are designed for various age groups. To see what we’re offering online at MW at any given time, visit our website.