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

Image source, Sean Downey

Screenshot, The first line of the song declares: “Do you think you can stop what we do? I doubt it.”

  • Author, Ian Young
  • Role, Arts and entertainment reporter

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

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

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

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

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Garry McCarthy, creative director of Kabin Studio, a youth arts center near Cork, who planned the song, said the magnitude of the reaction was unexpected.

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

“I think it’s the reaction of the adults that’s surprising. They’re watching this and saying, this is just pure fun.

“There’s nothing fake about this. These kids are who they are, their natural selves, they’re not trying to be anyone else, as you can see with other rappers starting out.

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

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

Image source, Gary McCarthy

Screenshot, About 15 people performed on the track and another 10 or 15 in the video.

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

“On that particular day, we felt like the group needed some energy, so we just put on a drum ‘n’ bass beat and then started creating chants,” explained McCarthy, a musician and producer.

It was written in part for Cruinniú na nÓg, Ireland’s annual celebration of youth creativity, which takes place next month.

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

One of the participants, Dylan, 10, told Radio 4 that he enjoys the spotlight.

“I came home and my mom said, ‘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 led me to, and to be honest, it was worth it.”