W.A.Y: We Are Young is the name of the debut song released by students at Sistema Toronto. Students worked with Indigenous hip-hop artist Cody Coyote and Juno-nominated rapper Saukrates to write and record the song together. Toronto-based director Zac Facts added the music video.
Toronto rapper Saukrates and Ottawa-based, Indigenous hip-hop artist Cody Coyote helped students explore the songwriting process from the start to the final mix, focusing on writing fuelled by passion for the issues that concerned them, such as global warming, self-image, cyber-bullying, and more.
“Working alongside youth participants of the Sistema Toronto program and Saukrates was an absolutely incredible experience all around!” says Cody Coyote in a statement. “It was truly wonderful, as you could see them challenging themselves to try something new while working together creatively to put together meaningful lyrics as a team, and it was also beautiful to witness them supporting each other throughout the whole experience.”
Sistema students wrote the lyrics, while Cody Coyote plays cello and violin. The vocals were recorded with the help of Saukrates. Many of the students have been learning to play music with Sistema for years.
Students worked on the project through February and March of this year.
Sistema Toronto is a registered charity that provides free after-school music programs, as well as other social development initiatives, in underserved neighbourhoods.
The organization is based on the model originally developed in Venezuela in 1975 by José Antonio Abreu. The goal is social change through ensemble-based music education, recognizing that music can help build communities, and empower kids to express themselves and grow into future leaders.
Kids learn violin, viola, cello, double bass or percussion, and/or participate in choir and Music & Movement classes. Along with music’s well documented effects of aiding brain development, spatial and mathematical skills, it helps build skills such as problem solving.
Find out more about Sistema Toronto here. Good luck to all the young artists involved.
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