24 Aug 2011

Tokai Shinpo newspaper story about recording for Shine On! Songs

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“Ame Ni Mo Makezu”  Children of Sakari Elementary participate in chorus musical recording in English

An English translation of Kenji Miyazawa’s classic “Ame Ni Mo Makezu,” was recorded at Sakari Elementary School in Ofunato City (principal: Isao Sato, students: 153) on the 23rd. This was part of a musical project put together by the Tyler Foundation, which is providing support to the children in areas damaged by the Tohoku Earthquake. The children that participated in the chorus made a great impression with their energetic singing, and showed that they continue to grow and progress with the aid and support of reconstruction efforts.

The Tyler Foundation, following the Tohoku Earthquake, has provided children with both material and moral support. In particular, they are trying to bring smiles to children by continuously sending their “Smile Ambassador” to elementary, kindergarten, and nursery schools throughout Iwate prefecture.

For starters, Totaro Gaetano (nicknamed Guy san), who has visited Sakari multiple times, is working as a “clinical clown.” Through utilization of games, playing and all kinds of experiences, his act has had the effect of returning a sense of calm and providing some psychological relief.

Among the Tyler Foundation’s focus on long-term emotional care and support, they have created a musical project called “Shine on! Songs” as a means of raising funds. The first part of this project will have artists such as Julian Lennon and Maxi Priest collaborating on an album; however, Sakari Elementary School students were also called upon.

The Sakari students will participate by singing an English translation of “Ame Ni Mo Makezu” called “Who I Want To Be.” The Tyler Foundation’s vice chairman Mark Ferris composed it by combining popular English lyrics known in countries throughout the world. He said this song was chosen in an effort to bring more attention and interest to the people in the Tohoku area, who although have suffered greatly, are extremely focused on advancing and moving toward recovery.

At the Japanese lyric “so iu mono ni watashi wa naritai,” the children sang “that’s who I want to be” with great strength and energy. Last week after the opening ceremonies for the school’s 2nd term, the children were memorizing by ear the unique timing and accent of the English lyrics during lunch break, while background music played inside the school.

Many children left an impression on Guy san, by not showing any signs of nervousness or tension, and by expressing a sense of growth through their singing.

A promotional video was also created, showing the children of the entire school raising their hands to the sky and singing, plus other lively activities that happened at the school.

After the recording was over, 6th year student Koki Murakami (11) said with a smile, “It was fun to be around Guy san, and I got used to the recording while going through all the repetitions. I hope lots of people will listen.” The CD is scheduled to be completed at the end of September, and will be widely available for sale via the internet. Any and all support is requested.

Click below to purchase the Shine On! Songs

http://www.shineonsongs.org/

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