This is the first song I wrote with Sarah and the residents at Petit-Château Klein-Kasteeljte. It was a freezing cold day, and there were many residents gathered around, drinking hot tea and coffee. One fellow shared a line in Dari: Zindgi shans dowam dara. We discussed the translation of the line and came up with this: In life, there are second chances. This became the first line of the song and refrain. At the end of the song, we chanted the line in Dari several times. The song drew to a close with a slow chant of the line: Life is here and now.
That afternoon at the refugee center, we wrote the refrain to the song. It was not until a few months later that I sat down to finish the song with a fellow from Italy, Artur Bianchini, who was volunteering with Serve your city for a couple of months. The verses were developed from original text for the song that was written by the residents to the center combined with our own ideas for weaving them together.
A couple of years after writing this song, I played it at a Poetry Café Sarah hosted, where a resident from the center from Afghanistan offered a different interpretation of the phrase: Life gives second chances. I love this nuance because it gives the idea of life as magnanimous and an entity in itself. This is one of my favorite songs to sing with people. It has great energy. People cannot help but moving along to the rhythm. I try to always bring my little bag of handheld rhythm instruments for people to play.
To read more about the writing of this song, visit Guiding Song Blog: Never Give Up
These are recordings from the center that show the process of writing the song:
This is the final recording from the day we wrote the chorus for the song:
This is the original video from the afternoon we wrote the song:
This is a video of Artur and me playing the finished song:
This is a live performance of the song at Sarah’s Poetry Café: