Four years after my more introspective debut album, Under My Skin, pregnant with my daughter and not knowing how much time I might have to work on music after her birth, I released my second album, Who Are My People? (2013). This one draws heavily from my time in West Africa, serving as a Peace Corps volunteer in Togo and Benin. Find it and listen to samples on CDBaby here.
One of my favorite tracks on the album is “La Belle Vie,” a song about gender equality that I wrote for my Togolese middle school chorus as part of my work in Girls’ Education and Empowerment. You can watch a slideshow of my pictures from Togo set to the song below. “La Belle Vie” was featured in the radio piece “Girls of Togo,” which I produced for the Women’s International News Gathering Service (WINGS) drawing from my 2010 radio series Radio Réussite, (produced in French while living in Togo).
A mother hopes for a nice life for her children. She wants them to have a good education, to run a business one day, to be a doctor or a teacher. But she has never been to school. What do you think of this?
Let’s wake up, let’s change. Yes, boys can sweep and cook. Yes, girls can study and lead. Everyone can succeed in the career that they desire, If we choose equality.
Let’s wake up, let’s change. Everyone is worthy of respect. Everyone has the right to health care. Everyone can live in prosperity, if we choose equality.Translation of lyrics to “La Belle Vie,” Carla Seidl 2010
Another song to highlight from this album is the title track, “Who Are My People?” which relates to my search across various continents to find a culture where I felt I belonged. You can watch a funny dance improvisation I did to this song below, some years later, once I felt I had finally found the people/culture I was seeking!