The coolest summer camp that I’ve ever heard of, Girls Rock Philly at El Centro de Estudiantes, has just released their two annual compilations of youth and teen-written music. Each year, campers age 9 to 12 and 13 to 18 work in two different groups to write, record, and perform music inspired by anything they want. And for many of the young people involved, this is their first time playing their instrument of choice. With that in mind, Youth Session and Teen Session collections, released recently on Bandcamp, are super impressive. It’s all about channeling your focus, learning to collaborate with others, and enjoying the all the awesome things that creative collaboration in a recording studio has to offer.
The first comp, Youth Session, is made up of seven totally cool and unique tracks that are so original in their content and honest in their message. The singer of Connect 4 holds nothing back as they dive into a song all about summer. The track by Perfect Imperfections is an angry ballad about finding and losing a friend. While these songs are rough around the edges, that’s totally fine, because the message and the heart and the determination behind what went into creating these comps is what makes them so great. And there is so much potential in these campers — we hope they keep at it.
The second comp, Teen Sessions, holds just as much power as their younger campmates. While there’s a little more polish in these songs simply because of the artists’ ages, these tracks still exude that same raw energy and excitement of picking up an instrument for the first time and having the freedom to do literally whatever they want with it. The track by Iris is really beautiful. There’s so much expression in the guitar playing, while the singers harmonize in an angsty yet thought-out way when singing about a lost love. I hope they keep making music together because, if I didn’t know this was a summer camp program, I’d assume they were a cool new band from Philly!
Another great thing about this camp: they record their final projects at a professional studio, Miner Street in Philly, and then perform for friends and family at Union Transfer. Talk about lucky. These young folks should all be so proud of the work they’ve done this summer, because for beginners, these songs make up an outstanding project.
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