WATCH: The young people of Berens River First Nation, in Manitoba, have taken a popular song and turned it into something that may look at their First Nation community in a different light. Lauren McNabb explains.
WINNIPEG – Children from the remote Berens River First Nation in Manitoba have posted a YouTube video that combines images of decay on the reserve with an upbeat popular song.
The Cup Song, a traditional song combined with a percussion game played with cups, has been recreated on YouTube multiple times — but the Berens River video stands out with its slick production and haunting images from a place where many young people feel they have to leave to succeed. The community is 275 kilometres north of Winnipeg.
“When I’m gone, when I’m gone, you know you’re going to miss me when I’m gone,” Tatyanna Munkman sings and Alex Semple plays guitar as they walk from a rotting vehicle to a beautiful waterfront view.
The video, posted on YouTube on Monday, finishes with smiling students playing the infectious beat on cups in the school gymnasium.
WATCH: Berens River First Nation students sing The Cup Song
“It sure would be prettier with you,” a voice says in Ojibway at both the beginning and end of the video, translating a line from the song.
The video is the brainchild of Berens River music teacher Ken Davidson.
“They all like to sing. I think they’re all very musical and I thought, ‘Wouldn’t this be a great thing to involve the entire school,’ ” Davidson told Global News’ Lauren McNabb. All 300 students at the school were part of the process.
The Frontier School Division hired a production company to help create the music video, which offers a glimpse of lives remote from what most Canadians experience.