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See a music video written, performed and produced by these Sheshatshiu youths

N'we Jinan, a non-profit organization that helps Indigenous youths make music, has teamed up with a group of teenagers in Sheshatshiu to produce and release a music video, called Free to Be.

Free to Be features original singing, dancing and writing from students

Close up of teenage girl in an interview
Terese Rich says the experience of writing a song verse has helped her learn to express her feelings. (Heidi Atter/CBC)

Six students from Sheshatshiu say they feel inspired after producing their own music video — and they hope its release Wednesday will inspire others.

The song, called Free to Be, showcases dancing, singing and original writing from six Sheshatshiu Innu Nation young people with the help of N'we Jinan Creative Studios, a non-profit organization that helps Indigenous youths create music.

Terese Rich, one of the students who took part in the project, says her verse is about her own experiences within her community — how she hates it "when people change and they turn to, like, drugs and stuff," she said. 

She said she hopes people will understand her experiences when they hear her verse, as her words reflect things that "happen every day."

N'we Jinan's mobile production studio, which travels to Indigenous communities across the country, has been operating since 2014, with group hoping to "empower youth to explore creative communication and share their artistic voices," according to the organization's website.

Terese says the experience has inspired her future goals as well.

"I can make my own band, actually, maybe my own music too," she said.

"I think like the way I put it down on the music verse, that really helped. So maybe that could help me too, to express how I feel about things."

WATCH | Here's the official Free to Be music video: 

Sheshatshiu students pen and perform new song Free to Be

3 months ago
Duration 4:10
Watch the official Free to Be music video and hear from the Sheshatshiu students who made it happen with the help of N’we Jinan — a program that teaches Indigenous youths about sound recording, music production, songwriting and performance.

Harper Gregoire, 13, says the project has helped him to get outside his comfort zone.

"I've always been really scared of just people in general," said Harper. 

"But I feel like me doing this, and it just being posted to the world … if I know that I'll be OK and my life's not going to end by this being posted, maybe I'll like, maybe I'll grow up to be, like, a bit easier, and trusting myself that things will turn out OK with being in public."

Close up interview of a teenager
Harper Gregoire says he hopes to be an actor some day and the experience has helped him become more comfortable in public. (Heidi Atter/CBC)

He said he hopes it inspires other youths in Sheshatshiu.

"I hope kids look at it and say, hey, or kids at least from around here will think, 'Hey, that's my town. They did something in my town,'" said Harper.

Students sitting behind long tables in a classroom. Pizza boxes on the tables.
The students' peers applaud at a pizza party held for a private screening of their new music video. (Heidi Atter/CBC)

Free to Be was recorded in Sheshatshiu by students Terese, Harper, Mason Penashue, Deanna Jordan-Montague, Starla Penahsue and Nykeesha Malleck.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Sarah Blackmore is a reporter with CBC at its bureau in St. John's.

With files from Heidi Atter and Katie Breen

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