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Salem
Performed by Room 21
Blankenburg School, 2004
The students in Room 21 listened to a CD called "In This World" by an international group known as Musaik  in the Fall of 2003. The group consists of Jim Fidler, Mark Belbin, Graham Wells, Mike Hanrahan and Scott Goudie from Newfoundland, Thierry Artur from St. Pierre-Miquelon and  Lekbir Halili originally from Morrocco, now from St. Pierre-Miquelon off the coast of Newfoundland. The songs on the CD were performed in English, French and Arabic. One of the songs struck a particular fancy with the class, and that was an Arabic song called "Salem."  You can listen to the song on radiomusaik Track #8.

Not understanding the words, but knowing that the title meant 'peace' the class went about writing their own words to the song. They listened to the rhythm and tone of the lyrics and wrote something that would be meaningful to the school community.

Having recieved the permission, blessing and encouragement of the songwriters to perform it, the class first put it on stage in November, 2003. Jim Fidler sent us the music without the lyrics and we were able to sing and dance. Eight students in two of the fifth grade classes choreographed a dance to perform with the song.

We hope that the words touch you in some way and encourage you to use the phrases and actions to promote peace in the world.
Salem
by Jim FIdler & Lekbir Halili
English words, Rm. 21, Blankenburg School, Philadelphia, PA

Salem (4x)

Listen to what we preach
Start the peace, stop the violence (verse 2x)
People fight in the night
They hate each others’ sight
And they think it’s all right. (verse 2x)

Salem – Start the peace – Salama
Salem – Start the peace – La Paz
Salem – Start the peace - Mir
Salem – Start the peace – Shalom

If happiness is what you give
Then happiness is what you’ll get back. (verse 2x)
Come together as one
And we’ll have lots of fun
Now the peace has begun. (verse 2x)

Salem – Gotta give folks respect
Salem -  Remind them of peace
Salem -  Walk away and ignore
Salem -  Talk it out, be polite
Salem -  Be like Martin Luther King
Salem -  Everyone is the same
Salem -  Treat us all equally
Salem -  Spread the word – Salama!

What do you think life is?
Listen to what we’re telling you. (verse 2x)
Everyone is the same
No one takes all the blame
Life cannot be a game. (verse 2x)

(Salem - gotta give folks respect…)

Listen up NOW Put down your GUNS
Peace is the WORD  -  Salama (6x)  “PEACE IS THE WORD” –  “Salama” (8x – get softer each time)
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These girls did a yeoman's job. There were originally 8 dancers but the other 4 had to be at Dance rehearsal at another school. These girls gave up their lunch recess for two days to make a dance that worked with four. They did a great job. The two in the front are mine - Stephanie Y. and Cheri. My collegue, Eileen, claims the other two, Dominique and Muneerah.
We had the dancers on stage between two sets of 12 singers.Each student had a sign which was one of the words in the song. That kept all the kids busy holding up their signs while the others danced. Worked like a charm.
Rashad holds "Salem"
This group, God Bless 'Em, managed to make it all the way thru the performance without a major disaster. I love what changes music will bring in kids. George on the left is way too quiet for an 11-year old and often quietly oppositional. Music has him learning to play guitar and being in the front row on stage - voluntarily. Josh is the only white kid in the school, Charles usually would be fighting with the person next to him, and Destiny, holding up the sign, just came to the class last week and is already a pro onstage!
At the end of the show they were instructed not to move while the dancers were finishing up. Josh had just finished putting down his sign, which said, "Salama." and the rest are watching the dancers.

The staff and parents who came to the school from the Office of Rerstructured Schools LOVED the performance and our principal was very happy with their response to her.
The class performed Salem on May 18, 2004 to an audience comprised of officials from the Office of Restructured Schools (ORS) and parents from the 26 schools in the ORS region. They did a marvelous job and we are soooo proud of them!
I can recommend Jim Fidler's music highly as an introduction to World Music. The kids love the CDs and request them often. Visit Jim's other two albums at www.jimfidler.com. He has the songs up so you can hear a large chunk of them. If you like what you hear, please tell him, and buy a CD or two. Boy, I should be getting royalties from all this! LOL!
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