Archive for May, 2007

“IF”

When I wrote this song in October 2006, it was the end process of a song that had evolved into a poem and then finally became a song again!

It was the gentle persistence of Wauchope’s Art Council’s Krissa Wilkinson to finish the poem that inspired its completion and subsequent rebirth as a new song.

Having seen and heard news commentaries on the seriousness of the world’s water situation, and in fact living in a country that is suffering its worst and longest drought in a century, led me to thinking on the issues of war and resources and how often the two go together.

Since arriving in Hong Kong¬† I have heard comments such as “the next world war will be fought over the issue of water”.

When two of our team were in Beijing recently, they saw and photographed a billboard which exactly expressed this idea and to actually see these words as a public statement was almost a shock.

And so I have posted the lyrics to “IF” and hope to have this new song recorded in the coming months. We have actually started but there is more work to be done re arrangement.

If There Was Oil In The Sky

Would We Let The Birds Fly?

If There Was Gold In The Clouds

Would We Glimpse The Sun Through The Desperate Crowds?

If There Was Trouble And Strife Somewhere

Would We Fight For Anonymous Lives?

Would We Cross The Politically Correct Divide

To See From Another Man’s Side?

If Our Water Became Like Our Oil

Would We War On Another Man’s Soil?

If Our Water Was Traded Like Gold

Who Would Go Thirsty As H2O Shares Were Bought Up And Sold?

If There Was Someone Who Dared

To Rock The Status Quo Just Because They Cared

No Oil Or Gold To Gain

Just A Conscience Purged Of Shame

If We Could Leave Alone Another Man’s Soil

Up The Value Of Life Over A Barrel Of Oil

If We Would Stand With Those Who Are On The Run

Use The Power Of Our Voice Against The Terrorist’s Gun

Pol Pot Never Died

His Spirit Rising Up In Another Genocide

What Will Be Done

Stalin’s Ethnic Cleansing Policies

Are Alive And Well For Burma’s IDPs

Fifty Years On The Run

If We Could Live Tomorrow Now

What Would We Change?

What Would We Allow?

Would We Take What We Want Because We Can

Or Would We Stand With The Weak And Bless Their Land?

If There Was Someone Who Dared

To Rock The Status Quo Just Because They Cared

No Oil Or Gold To Gain

Just A Conscience Purged Of Shame.

“DO YOU”….the song’s journey so far.

When I played this new song to Sal Begbie in our apartment in mid April, neither of us could have imagined what the following weeks would bring.

When the directors of the UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees) rang DJ and arranged to meet him at Crossroads to see first hand what is being done here to raise awareness for the plight of refugees, DJ was able to bring them down to this same apartment, where I was able to sing them “Do You”, in spite of a flu and bronchitis which I had battled for several days.

The directors asked permission to use this song in their national campaign for refugees which will run across Hong Kong the week of June 20th.

As I was flying to Sydney the following week, DJ made the strategic phone call to Warren Barnett,a precious friend to both me and Crossroads, to discuss what the chances were of recording the song.

Warren replied, “Give me 48 hours!”

Since then, the journey has amazed us all and we are in awe of what is happening.

Damien, Glenn, Woodsey, Guy, Brom and the Green Valley Youth Choir have all given their time and their extraordinary passion and skills freely.

The violin arrangement has been written in London and sent to Steve Woods to record, an extraordinary gift to this song.

Richard has given his time and expertise to design the jacket as his gift to this project.

Guy has once again given his brilliance to the recording and mixing of “Do You”.

And Warren is the heart that has drawn all these people together and he is the one who will master this song and send it to us here in Hong Kong so it can be given to the UNHCR, have visuals put to the lyrics and be ready for television broadcast in June.

All this in just over a month!

Our fervent desire is that this song will continue to journey far beyond anywhere we can imagine.

Thank you everyone – and to Crossroads International, whose joy in this project has known no bounds!

“NEVER LEAVE”… the paper-bag-making song

This is a song I could never have written before coming to Crossroads. It has been inspired by one of the most frequently played experiential games in our Life X-Perience Program – the Basti Life game.

‘Basti” means slum and this game simulates the typical life of a slum dweller in places such as Bangladesh and Nepal.

Making bags out of any paper that can be found and selling as many in a day to the shopkeepers, who pay them according to their mood or whim, is the life of countless millions in this world.

Thousands in Hong Kong have already experienced the pressures, and discovered the lessons in Basti Life, and this new song was written in an attempt to capture a glimpse of a life that I certainly cannot begin to really comprehend.

As someone has expressed, the poverty of those living in a slum is both cyclical and exponential. Children are born to slum dwellers and they in turn grow up without opportunity for education or change, eventually marrying within the slum and then having children of their own. And so the cycle is never broken and there is an ever-increasing population who continues to live on less than one US dollar a day.

Not that there is a complete absence of hope or joy in these circumstances. People still get married, celebrations are still had….but the reality for most is that they will never leave the slum, and that making paper bags will be what they and their children and grandchildren will continue to do, just to survive another day.

This song is usually sung following the simulation, either by myself or Bethan Davies and is performed in the actual slum area that Crossroads has built on site.

It is a common question to hear one of us asking DJ or Helen Tozer, “Are we singing in the slums today?’

And whether it is to school groups or university students and their lecturers, to Disney corporates or senior management in business, it is always a privilege.