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Young Irish rappers spread joy with ‘banger of the year’ The Spark



Ian Youngs,Entertainment & arts reporter

Sean Downey Children in colourful outfits performing The SparkSean Downey

The song’s opening line declares: “Think you can stop what we do? I doubt it.”

A group of energetic pre-teen rappers from Ireland have found viral fame after a song they wrote for a youth project racked up almost nine million views, being hailed as “the song of the summer” and “the banger of the year”.

The Spark is an infectious techno-rap track whose life-affirming lyrics and joyful video encapsulate the exuberance of its creators, all aged between nine and 12.

“This might actually be the best song… ever?” enthused one fan on social media.

“The next gen of Irish rap superstars,” wrote another, while someone else said: “This gave me my first bit of real joy in weeks.”

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Garry McCarthy, creative director of the Kabin Studio, a youth arts hub near Cork, who masterminded the song, said the scale of the reaction was unexpected.

“It’s amazing to see the recognition that it’s getting internationally, just for something really positive,” he told BBC Radio 4’s The World Tonight.

“I think it’s the reaction from adults which is amazing. They’re looking at this and they’re like, this is just pure fun.

“There’s nothing false about it. These kids are being who they are, their natural selves, they’re not trying to be anyone else, like you might see with other rappers starting out.

“It’s very honest. It’s very Irish, but it’s very global.

“What they’re talking about, I hope, inspires young people to express themselves and to just give music, give creativity, give expression a shot and just see how it feels, because expression and music are very, very powerful.”

Garry McCarthy The young performers posing together on a streetGarry McCarthy

About 15 people performed on the track, with another 10 or 15 in the video

The song was one of many that have been written in the Kabin’s weekly workshops, which aim to create youth empowerment through music.

“On that particular day, we felt like the group needed a bit of energy, so we just put on a drum ‘n’ bass beat, and then just started coming up with chants,” explained McCarthy, who is a musician and producer.

It was written partly for Cruinniú na nÓg, the annual Irish celebration of youthful creativity, which will take place next month.

Members of the Kabin joined forces with children from a centre housing asylum seekers, with about 15 people performing on the track itself and another 10 or 15 in the video.

One of the participants, 10-year-old Dylan, told Radio 4 he is enjoying the spotlight.

“I came home and my mum was like, ‘Dylan did you see that your video went viral?’,” he said.

“Now I’m on the radio. This is what all those days of practice were leading up to, and it was worth it, to be honest.”

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