‘We got the energy’: Irish children’s rap video goes viral

It is called The Spark and has been declared the song of the summer – a viral sensation from a group of children in Ireland who filmed the video in a day.

Since launching on 15 May, the song has amassed 8.6m views and been hailed as a drum’n’bass-beat masterpiece with infectious energy.

“The response has been amazing,” Garry McCarthy, the producer, said on Monday. “The kids’ energy and positivity has inspired people. It’s a really catchy song.”

The Spark was created on a shoestring budget by Rhyme Island, a youth rap project based at Kabin Studio, a non-profit at Knocknaheeny, a suburb of Cork, in collaboration with Creative Ireland, a government initiative that funds Cruinniú na nÓg, an annual celebration of youthful creativity.

The song features about 30 children aged nine to 12 from the neighbourhood plus a group who live in refugee accommodation in Lisdoonvarna, County Clare.

Over two and a half high-octane minutes they dance, run and rap. “Think you can stop what we do?” asks the opening lyric. “I doubt it,” the performers declare. “We got the energy, we’ll tell you all about it. I searched for my spark and I found it.”

The song is an anthem for Cruinniú na nÓg (Gathering of Youth), which will hold hundreds of free creative events for children and teenagers across Ireland. The initiative started in 2018 and will this year be held on 15 June.

Since the national broadcaster, RTÉ, posted the video, it has lit up the internet. “Music fans, have we got a new, totally infectious bop for you,” said the US’s National Public Radio. “Poised to be the song of the summer,” said Irish Central, a US-based news site.

The idea for the song began in March during one of Kabin Studio’s weekly workshops, said McCarthy, 38, the creative director, who uses the name GMC. “We were looking to work with something upbeat and put on a drum’n’bass track. We found the beat and started coming up with chant and chorus ideas.”

The children developed the chorus and first verse during an Easter camp, after which tutors took the material to a direct provision (asylum seekers’ accommodation and support) refugee centre in Lisdoonvarna, where more children helped to complete it, said McCarthy.

Both groups then teamed up to shoot the video at Kabin Studio, on the top of a 202 bus, and in central Cork. Seán Downey, a tutor who uses the name SwanIGuess, filmed and edited the video.

“We do things quickly. We’re doing this all the time – new songs every week. This one just happened to go a little bit further,” said McCarthy. It was not a commercial project, he said. “We don’t want to make money off it. If it does make money we want it to support Kabin Studio and kids in direct provision.”


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