Snowflakes

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I wrote this song from a poem written by my sister, Rebecca. Her words in this piece always remind me of the old jazz classics, so I felt I had to give it a shot and put her work to music. This was my first successful attempt at composing the music after the lyrics were already completed.

After trying to sing the song myself and having mixed results, my friend Michelle Stephen suggested we try it with a female vocalist. She graciously lent her voice to this, and I am quite pleased with how it turned out.

Jessica Wong has created an adorable image to accompany this track, and I cannot help but smile every time I see it. She perfectly captures the aesthetic of light-hearted innocence and joy, full of the longing expectation we experience during the season of Advent. You can see more of her work on her website.

I am so grateful to all my friends and family who have helped me out with this project. Your feedback and encouragement has been invaluable, and I could not have made this happen without you. A special thank-you to my sister Rebecca for writing such a well-crafted poem, to Michelle Stephen for singing so beautifully, and especially to Jessica Wong for creating such a wonderful image to accompany this track.

Lyrics:

Stilted, jilted
Slightly wilted
Wavering on the spot
Look up…

Coldness tickles
Wetness trickles
Softly blurring the world as I…
Breathe in…

Filled, and now stilled
Building tension
Brimming with joy
Look down…

The world, lighter
The trees are brighter
A heart is settled again…
Sigh out…

This one has been several years in the making; it is packed with sonic gems and built to withstand replays for years to come. I hope this song can find it’s way onto your Christmas playlist to help you put aside the cares of the winter and take time to relax and enjoy the beauty around you, whatever season you are in. To download the track free, just enter $0 into the purchase line at Checkout. You can then enter your email address at which you will receive your download link.

Face of the Refugee

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I wrote this song first as an instrumental blues groove, but as I learned more about the ongoing refugee crisis in the Mediterranean, a call to action regarding these events seemed to fit with the tone of the music. I was especially moved by the story of Alan Kurdi, and how he represented the millions of Syrian migrants fleeing civil war, risking everything to better their circumstances.

As Canadians, we often forget how many of our parents and grandparents first came to Canada as refugees and immigrants seeking to better our circumstances in the same way that these migrants are seeking asylum. We have in common the same desire of giving our children a safe and prosperous future. To ignore them is to turn our backs on our own history.

When we can see them as individual people with hopes, dreams, brilliant ideas, and children to care for, we can no longer simply see them as numbers in a dismal statistic. As you see their faces and hear their cries echoing over the waves, I hope that you will allow the sadness that tugs at your heart to motivate you towards compassion.

Please enjoy this music, wherever you come from.

This article by Ann Voskamp also influenced my songwriting process.

I am so grateful to all my friends and family who have helped me out with this project. Your feedback and encouragement has been invaluable, and I could not have made this happen without you.

Lyrics:

Hear our cries rebounding o’er the waves
We flee the scourge
Just to drown
Under this deluge

Tell yourself that you can’t help me
Tell yourself that we’re just numbers now

I have no choice
But pay them as they charge
Much as that wavering craft
Will fail me

Tell yourself that you can’t help me
Tell yourself that we’re just numbers
No one
Wants us
But they can’t stop us
We must get out

Once you were here
A refugee
On distant shores
Once you were me
Stood in these shoes
Desired this same hope
For your children
Yet you…

Tell yourself that you can’t help me
Tell yourself that we’re just numbers
No one
Wants us
But they can’t stop us now…

His face a tragic woe implored
His lifeless body laid
To frame your failure
Yet you…

Tell yourself that you can’t help me
You tell yourself that we’re just numbers
No one
Wants us
But they can’t stop us
We must get out

Open your heart and
Let that sorrow
Build in you
The strength to break in
Drive out the dark with love
Know your soul does plead

But don’t tell yourself
That you can’t help us
Tell yourself
We’re not just numbers
See our faces
You can’t keep us out

Rather than paying me for the song, an alternative I would suggest in light of the subject matter is to donate instead to one of dozens of organizations that work with refugees. Some suggestions include:

United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR)
Mennonite Central Commitee (MCC)
Migrant Offshore Aid Station

To download the track free, just enter $0 into the purchase line at Checkout. You can then enter your email address at which you will receive your download link.

New Single on Bandcamp

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I like to spend my Christmas break making recordings in my home studio. So I took this song, written just a few weeks ago for one of my UBC courses, and built some sound textures and vocal harmonies around it. This is the first time I decided to include some toms, which gave it a pretty driving rhythm in the second half of the song. If you would like to read more about why I wrote this song, check out my previous blog post and video here.

Enjoy!