Wagin' Peace

During a week-long cross-cultural media education residency, youth from the Middle East, South Asia and the United States worked with MHP to write and produce their own music video. Produced for Seeds of Peace.

Meridian Hill Pictures collaborated with Seeds of Peace on Wagin’ Peace, a new version of the K'naan hit song Wavin’ Flag written and produced by young leaders from the Middle East, South Asia, and the United States. The song is the collaborative effort of Palestinian, Israeli, Jordanian, Egyptian, Indian, Pakistani, Afghan, and American young leaders who attended the Seeds of Peace International Camp in Maine during the summer of 2010.

The song is the product of an intensive, week-long partnership between Seeds of Peace and Meridian Hill Pictures. Meridian Hill Pictures is a media education and documentary production company that works with young people and socially-responsible organizations to use film to build stronger communities.

During the second session of Camp, teaching artists from Meridian Hill Pictures and Seeds of Peace staff designed a project to provide Seeds with a comprehensive overview of all aspects of the filmmaking and creative process. Using K’naan’s Wavin’ Flag as a foundation for the project was an obvious choice.

During the summer program, over 300 young leaders from the Middle East, South Asia, and the United States gathered at the Seeds Peace International Camp to learn leadership and coexistence skills. Wavin’ Flag, with its upbeat sound and unifying message, became the unofficial Camp anthem this summer and one of the common bonds that brought the teenagers together.

Wavin’ Flag became the “bunk song” of several cabins, the chant used to rally teams before competitions, and the song that was constantly stuck in everyone’s heads—campers, counselor, and facilitators alike. The song provided an ideal framework to further creatively express the Seed’s own experiences both at Camp and in their home countries.

Using K’naan’s version as a guide, Seeds developed their own original concept for the song and music video. In just three days, driven by pure effort and enthusiasm, they wrote and recorded Wagin’ Peace, the Seeds of Peace remix to Wavin’ Flag. They wrote lyrics in English, Arabic, and Hebrew, focusing on a message that could communicate their transformative and unifying experiences at Camp to their home communities and people around the world.

In the Camp’s “music shack,” the Seeds learned about music production and recorded their own vocals and instrumental tracks. The entire song was recorded with all new instrumentation played by the Seeds and counselors. It features Middle Eastern instruments like the oud (lute), mijwiz (double reed clarinet), and the tablah (hand drum).

The accompanying video to the song was also created by Seeds. Although Seeds of Peace and Meridian Hill Pictures staff provided guidance and instruction, the Seeds themselves took full ownership over the project. “It was inspiring to see how naturally the ‘Seeds’ worked together and made this video their own,” says Brandon Kramer, Meridian Hill Pictures media teaching artist. “Within just a few days, these campers became a mobile film crew.” B-roll for the music video was shot by Kate Fizpatrick, a videographer who documented day-to-day scenes of Camp throughout the first session this summer

Seeds also learned to “stomp”—a style of dance which uses the body to create rhythmic percussion sounds. A group of 14 Seeds with no prior experience in this style of dance dedicated themselves to creating their own choreography for the Wagin’ Peace music video. Leem, a Palestinian Seed and “stomper” was able to further develop her passion for music and says, “Stomping made me realize that we can enjoy music even without musical instruments; music is all around us.”

Contributing to the creative process behind Wagin’ Peace was a great opportunity for the campers. As counselor Orlando describes, “We had kids from all different backgrounds and music levels and it was great to see them come together and help each other out. Some had no musical or dance background at all but were simply interested in learning and exploring.”

Produced by Brandon Kramer and Lance Kramer
Edited by Cameron King
Sound Editing by Drew Kennedy

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