Billy Talent, Kardinal, Lights, Harmer Contrast Their Childhood With War Kids

By Karen Bliss 2/1/13 |

Billy Talent, Kardinal Offishall, Sarah Harmer, Lights and Kay are among the Canadian musicians who reflected on their own childhood for a series of online video clips, as part of War Child Canada’s powerful advertising campaign, entitled JAM.

So far the Billy Talent, Kardinal and Harmer videos have been released. Next week, starting Monday, the rest of the clips will be posted: Kay (Feb. 4); These Kids Wear Crowns (Feb. 5); Arkells, (Feb. 6), Lights (Feb. 7) and Jonas & The Massive Attraction (Feb. 8). Keep up to date on War Child's Facebook page.

Last year, Toronto-based advertising agency john st. created a poignant ">online and television advertisement in which bullets magically transform to crayons and bubbles and colourful drawings rain down. The intention is to draw attention to the importance of protecting the childhood of millions of these children living in war-affected communities. Kids in war-torn environments are entitled to a fun creative childhood, free of harm, not forced to pick up guns or be fearful of everyday life.

For this phase of the campaign, Canadian recording artists were asked various questions about their childhood, including the most influential moment from their childhood, the importance of childhood and their favourite childhood memory.  The videos aren’t fancy, just people sitting in one spot talking about things that seem so commonplace to most of us in the Western world.

But implicit in their responses is that children everywhere have the right to a worry-free, fun-filled, nurturing environment with full bellies, and happy and safe homes and neighbourhoods — which we know is not the case even in Canada.

Says Kardinal in his video contribution to the campaign: “If it wasn’t for me having an amazing childhood from my parents providing and allowing me to experience so many different opportunities, I would definitely not be the artist and the person and the man that is here standing before you today speaking aloud. Unfortunately, there’s some kids that are just exposed to a lot of different poisons within their communities and, I think, when you poison a child figuratively speaking from an early age, it deters them. It disallows them from having the best chance possible they could have if they were able to have an amazing childhood…” Watch the whole clip below:



Recalls Billy Talent drummer Aaron Solowoniuk in one of four clips the band did for War Child. “One of my favourite memories from childhood is being able to just hop on my BMX bike and use the rotary phone to call my friends,” says Billy Talent drummer Aaron Solowoniuk in one of his clips. “We all lived in different areas of town, but there was this forest in the middle that we all would meet at. Just to live in a safe enviroment where I can pick up the phone and phone my friends and we can all meet in the forest and jump our BMX bikes all day long. It was the coolest and we would spend our entire day just doing that.”

Add Billy Talent frontman Ben Kowalewicz: “My favourite memory of childhood was just playing with my friends and just having those moments where you’re just running around laughing and there’s not a care in the world. And those moments where it’s pure and it’s real and it’s genuine.”



War Child is an internationally recognized charity that works with war-affected communities to help children reclaim their childhood through access to education, opportunity and justice. War Child takes an active role in raising public awareness around the impact of war on communities and the shared responsibility to act.

Harmer, whose sister Barb has worked for the organization for many years, currently as director, music & special initiatives, says in her clip: “My memories of childhood really involve a lot of freedom and a lot of carefree days to just explore my imagination and be a kid. That’s really important to me. And I know it’s really necessary for true childhood — and that’s what War Child Canada works on.  And they work in troubled areas with families and children so that kids can be kids and they can have that freedom and security and comfort to live as kids should. So childhood is such an important thing to protect. It’s precious. Please support War Child Canada and their work.”



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