John Lennon's Imagine chosen for Peace Day in Tenerife
My song said to be better than John Lennon's classic hit
Peace Day was going to be celebrated at the C.E.I.P. Antonio del Valle Menendez school in Garachico in Tenerife and John Lennon's classic song Imagine was a natural choice for the children to learn. And so it was to be, but I was really honoured too by having my song Real Love and Communication included as well. And I was going to perform it with the help of many of the Canary Islands youngsters on backing vocals.
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Peace day at a Tenerife school
Goretty Romero the English teacher had been already teaching the pupils Lennon’s hit for weeks before I began working at the school as her classroom assistant, and I suggested to her that I had a song with simple to understand lyrics on the subject of world peace that the children might like.
I told her the words and brought my guitar in and she agreed it would be ideal for the one day event. I typed the lyrics on to the school computer and we printed copies for all the children in the class so they could learn the words.
For a couple of weeks before the big day I brought my guitar to school daily and we would practise Imagine and then I would sing and play Real Love and Communication.
My song starts with the lines: "There's too much hate in the world, too much pain in the world, and too much violence in the world..." and the chorus is simply "We all need a real love and communication (yes, we do), we all need a real love and communication."
Green Man Festival
The song was originally released on the Green Man Festival CD and has always proved popular with people who have heard it but it really came to life in a new way with the children singing it too. Goretty suggested to them that they waved their arms on the choruses as well.
John has always been a musical hero and mentor of mine and I knew he would really approve of this.
Just before the event we had a final rehearsal in the music room. Unfortunately on the day the school was due to celebrate Peace Day it rained heavily so it had to held inside but the bad weather failed to dampen the spirits of all the teachers, parents and children who attended the happy celebration.
As well as songs, some of the children in other classes read poems and some of the little ones had signs around their necks with the letters PAZ, which in Spanish means peace.
The school provided amplification and a microphone and stand for me and Goretty and the children all sang backing vocals on the stage area behind me. I felt really proud to be making this sort of contribution to the festival.
The event finished with everyone singing the popular song Odio por Amor (Hate for Love), by Grammy award-winning singer Juanes. The lyrics have the one chorus line in English: “It’s time to change,” signifying that peace is what the world needs.
Afterwards, one of the boys, whose name is Juan, said: "Steve, I think your song is better than Imagine." I knew it wasn't really, but what a compliment. It was one of the best compliments I have ever had!
© 2009 Steve Andrews