Kids pen song of unity, healing in aftermath of Baltimore riots

WASHINGTON — A song of healing has emerged from the pain of the April riots in Baltimore, and the words came straight out of the hearts and minds of the city’s kids.

“What inspired me was the destruction of our city,” says 12-year-old Taniyah Kutcherman.

She heard the riots from her bedroom window and came up with the words that would become the chorus of a song called “Believe in Baltimore.”

Taniyah could not get those words out of her head. Later, when her music teacher asked the class to create lyrics for a song about the riots, she handed them over.

“I learned when you are writing a song, you say whatever is on your mind and you show your passion,” she says.

Taniyah’s music class is part of a program called “Believe in Music,” created by local musician Kenny Liner in 2012. Liner says he wanted to give the kids an outlet to tell their story, and he was amazed by the lyrics the children in the program produced.

He took those lyrics to Sam Sessa, who works at the Towson University public radio station. Sessa then reached out to members of well-known local bands who put those words to music and recorded the song with the kids. They all volunteered their services free of charge, along with a local production company that created a video.

“I think this project went a way to showing people outside of Baltimore how different communities can come together and do something special,” Sessa says.

For Yanaudi Pinder, 15, who cowrote the song’s bridge, it was an inspirational experience. She plans to study music in college, and now sees the power of turning a message of unity into song.

“I just thought about how there was a lot of separation between everybody,” she says. “I felt like we needed to come together.”

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