Atwood Magazine’s writers share a favorite musical memory in support of Hope and Homes for Children’s End the Silence campaign to eradicate institutional child care.
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United Kingdom-based charitable organization Hope and Homes for Children believes that every child should be awarded the privilege of growing up with a family. With a mission “to be the catalyst for the global eradication of institutional care for children” and a vision of “a world in which children no longer suffer institutional care,” they work to improve living conditions in communities all around the world so that orphanages become a last resort for families, regardless of where and how they live. Hope and Homes for Children partner with different governments, donors, and other organizations in order to raise awareness to their work and be able to achieve their goals.
At the end of last year, Hope and Homes for Children started a campaign called End the Silence: “#EndtheSilence aims to transform the lives of the 8 million children confined to orphanages around the world, suffering in silence.” (Instagram, November 2017) Through this campaign, artists including Sir Paul McCartney, Sir Elton John, Ed Sheeran and Wolf Alice have shared one of their first musical memories from their childhood in order to raise awareness for the organization and support its efforts to provide a better life for children. Actors as large as YouTube and the UK government have collaborated with Hope and Homes for Children and End the Silence to create a more positive future.
Inspired by the campaign, a few Atwood Magazine writers have decided to #EndtheSilence and share some of our favorite musical memories from childhood with you. – Nicole Almeida, editor
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:: “Bad Girls“ – Donna Summer ::
Natalie Harmsen’s memory
I have a lot of really eclectic musical memories from when I was very little. I remember dancing around without a care in the world in my parents’ basement to KC and the Sunshine band. I can close my eyes and picture my feet tapping on green carpet with my dad blaring the Bee Gees — whom my mother despised. I also remember my mom’s black Rolling Stones cassette tape being slotted into her gigantic boom box, which required the longest extension cord in the world, so that we could listen to music in our backyard during the sticky summer months. I can easily recall The Beatles’ “Yellow Submarine” being a personal favourite. My dad also played an excessive amount of ABBA which I didn’t appreciate until I saw Mamma Mia! for the first time.
Donna Summer’s iconic jam “Bad Girls” however, was always a personal favourite. I listened to this song in my dad’s car when I was really little, and I had no idea what it was even about. Plot twist, many years later, I discovered Summer wrote it about an assistant who was mistaken for a prostitute. Looking back, I just remember really liking the rhythm because it made me want to dance. We would drive around when he had to take my Oma to get groceries, and I would eat the red and white candies he had stashed in the glovebox while this song played. Everything was so much more simple back then.
:: “Hello” – Adele ::
Hannah Lewis’ memory
I have loved music for as long as I can remember. I was known to put on a concert or too as a child and devoted my childhood and adolescence to refining my skills. After completing a music degree, I very quickly learnt about the social impact that music can have upon humanity. This became acutely apparent when I went to a concert during Adele’s Australian tour. After listening to her albums for hours upon hours, it was overwhelming to say the least when the concert started. There was a stadium of fans, the biggest concert Adelaide Oval had seen, and everyone each had their reasons for being at the concert. Her albums were interweaved into the soundtrack of all of our lives and I knew at that moment that I wanted to become a music teacher, so that I can provide opportunities for students to value music like I did.
:: “Come Together” – The Beatles ::
Sara Santora’s memory
Music has always played a huge role in my life. Some of my earliest memories revolve around singing along to Aaron Carter’s “I Want Candy” in my living room and listening to Macy Gray in the backseat of my mom’s car. I have always been attracted to the intense emotions that would come over me as I listened to specific songs, even if I didn’t fully understand the content or message.
“Come Together” has always been a favorite of mine. I have this vivid memory of an elementary-aged version of myself sitting on the school bus as this song came on. I live in Florida and so the busses were hot and the windows were down–everyone’s hair blowing around and getting beaten to death against a backdrop of a golden sun. I was a loquacious child, (still am) and rarely paid mind to what was playing on the radio, but, on what must have been an off day, I decided to stare at the window and piece together what it was that was coming through the bus speakers while everyone around me talked and giggled. I remember hearing “Come Together” and thinking, “what an odd song,” but something about it drew me in, and I began listening for it more whenever I would get on the bus. It wasn’t until I was middle school age that I heard the song again, though by then it would be through computer speakers in my house vs. speakers on the bus. I’ll never forget how it felt finding that song and hearing it again after a few years. It felt like being reunited with an old friend after a long time apart, and to this day, this song feels like a homecoming to me. I feel almost safe when I hear this song, and something within me turns. I can’t explain exactly what it is about this song that makes my mind move in different ways, but that’s the beauty of music. You never know what will hit you in all the right ways at exactly the right time.
:: “My Happy Ending” – Avril Lavigne ::
Nicole Almeida’s memory
I grew up with rock and punk music blasting around my house because of my older brother’s obsession with Blink-182 and Sum 41. I naturally gravitated towards this kind of music (rock is still my favourite genre) and when I first listened to Avril Lavigne, she became everything my 7-year-old self wanted to be. I loved her attitude, boldness, how unique she was, and that she was a girl out there doing what only boys were famous for doing. I just remember thinking that no one else I knew was doing the same thing she was, and I loved her for this. Her album Under My Skin was the first album I remember actively pursuing and asking for, and once my parents gave me the CD I played it obsessively on my Walkman (simpler times). “My Happy Ending” was the song that really stood out to me on that record and represented it as a whole, I remember belting out to it on my room’s floor and in the car and in all those moments where I really felt like I was Avril Lavigne. This was the first moment where I really felt connected to music, and considering the kind of music I like today and who some of my favourite bands are (female-fronted rock and roll bands are my favourite thing in the world) it makes sense that Avril Lavigne was my favourite musical idol.
:: “Blister in the Sun” – Violent Femmes ::
Kelly Wynne’s memory
I think it’s fair to say I was born a rock fan. I grew up listening to Nirvana on the radio and hearing stories from my parents about their concert run-ins with Aerosmith and R.E.M. Together, my parents have an impressive repertoire, and I owe a lot of my musical identity to the songs they played as I was young. Blister In The Sun by Violent Femmes sticks out as a special song in my personal history because of the memories I have associated with it. To me, it’s the “driving song” because my mom would constantly have it playing on the radio during car rides. It didn’t matter where: it seemed to be playing all the times. I think it was one of the first songs I knew the words to. When I got my own car and made a CD to keep in the counsel, it was the first song on my playlist. When I grew up and my mom and I roadtripped the California coast, it was our staple; a song that framed our most mundane memories of grocery store trips now narrating our cruise down Highway 1. It’s a song that has taken a million different forms for me since I first heard it, a moment I could never remember no matter how hard I tried. It’s the song I put on when I need comfort or stability, or when I’m about to start a new adventure and need a little piece of my past self to get me through.
:: “Learn to Fly (acoustic)” – Foo Fighters ::
Kaitlyn Zorilla’s memory
My love of music was born sitting in front of the glass case where my dad kept of all his CDs. Throughout my childhood and into my early teenage years — even when CDs were starting to become outdated — I would sit on the ground in front of this case tucked away in my parent’s room and rummage through the seemingly endless stack of albums that my dad had acquired over the years. After every trip, I would leave with a few more CDs, until eventually I had gone through most of the albums there. I still have a big stack on the table next to my bed and they never fail to remind me of the joyful path to musical discovery my dad gave me as a curious child.
My dad had been — and still is — an avid Nirvana turned Foo Fighters fan. He had every Foo Fighters album on CD and so naturally I gravitated toward them; they are the first band I ever truly loved. Since then, my dad and I have kept up with all their new releases and got to go to Dave Grohl’s secret birthday show in LA a few years back — a show that turned out to be the best I’ve ever seen. But there is something so special about those early songs, something that takes me back to being a little girl with an undiscovered world at her fingertips.
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photo © 2018