Mondays On the Move: I am a word

It’s Monday, and we are “On the move” again! If you are just tuning in, Sarah and I recently created a new project we are calling “Mondays On the Move” to promote freedom of movement. Each Monday, we choose a different place to perform one of the migration songs we have written with refugees and asylum seekers in Brussels.

This Monday, we bring you to the very edge of Brussels to the commune of Boitsfort. When I moved to Brussels and learned that the city was divided into communes, my first thought was, “the city is made up of cults?” These are not that the kind of commune. Communes in Brussels are essentially an administrative method for dividing the city into manageable parts. This website shows all of the communes in the city (in case you are interested): https://be.brussels/about-the-region/the-communes-of-the-region

Each week, we make two short videos. In the first video, we share a brief description of the song. In the second video, we sing. This week, we bring you the song “I am a word” from a roundabout at the very edge of Boitsfort. I had always thought Boitsfort was on the southwestern edge of the city, but it turns out (now that I have looked at an actual map) that it is closer to the southeastern edge. I hope you can forgive my geographic faux pas in our video description.

Boitsfort (pronounced “bwah” as in the laugh of the character who is up to no good, “mwah ha ha ha” and “for”) is part of the commune Watermael-Boitsfort. It is known as the “village,” and it has a very small town feel. When my husband first arrived in Brussels, he visited all of the communes to find a place for us to live and he chose Boitsfort because it was the most quiet and close to nature. There is a beautiful forest by our house called La Forêt de Soignes (Sonian Forest or Wood).

My husband and I live in a neighborhood known as “Le Coin du Balai” or “Broomstick Corner.” Legend has it (and by legend, I mean the story our neighbor who worked as a librarian told us from a documentary she watched many years ago) that the neighborhood earned its name because the people who lived there would go into the forest and gather sticks to make brooms. Many of our neighbors have a broomstick posted somewhere on the front façade of their house as décor with a nod to history. One of my British friends calls this the hippie neighborhood, and this would also be an apt description.

You can read more about the “history and philosophy” of Boitsfort here (if you feel so inclined), though you will need to do some copy/pasting into Google Translate if you do not speak French or Dutch: https://www.coindubalai.be/histoire-et-philosophie

The roundabout (rond point en français) where we perform our song is just a couple minutes on foot from my house. It’s well known in this commune for the unique sculpture that graces the center of the circle.

The sculpture is called Equilibrio Sospeso (translated as “Suspended Balance) and was created by the Italian artist, Florentin Mauro Staccioli. There are houses and cars in this commune wiht bumper stickers that say “We love 1170.” The ‘o’ in love has been replaced with this sculpture. The number 1170 is the postal mailing code for the commune.

Also featured in this video is my big white husky, Atticus. He was very enthusiastic about joining us for this musical adventure!

Now, without further ado, I am a word.

[About] I am a word

[Singing] I am a word

I am a word

Gaza and Syria, Key of G

           G

I am a word of hope and love

D

I bring honor to the world

Am

I will push the darkness away

C

Can I come to your house and stay?

G

I am a word

I am the root of all resistance

I bring light for us to grow

I will push the sorrow away

Can I come to your heart and stay?

I am a word

I am the life you’ve left behind

The path that you now follow

The melody of your song

The place you can belong

I am a word of hope and love

I bring honor to the world

I will push the darkness away

Can I come to your house and stay?

I am a word

To read more about the making of this song, visit: I am a word

To listen to our first “Mondays on the Move” installment, visit: Mondays On the Move

To learn about our migration songs project, visit: Migration Songs

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