Canadians offer musical tribute to Obama
President Barack Obama pauses after placing a wreath at Arlington Cemetery in Arlington, Va., Sunday, Jan. 20, 2013. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
CALGARY - A longtime Calgary blues guitarist and a pair of Canadian songwriters have created a tune dedicated to U.S. President Barack Obama that is said to have made its way through diplomatic channels all the way to the White House.
"Because of You" is co-written by Canadians Peter Lamarr and Grant Van Dyke, with the musical arrangement and production done by Calgary guitarist Gary Martin.
The song was previewed for Calgary's consul general, who was so excited by it, he shipped a copy to the White House as well. It is scheduled to be played at the Calgary Democrats Abroad inauguration party Monday night.
Martin, who originally hails from Chicago, says he's a great admirer of the first black U.S. President.
"Barack Obama, as an individual, went to Chicago and learned from the same activists and mentors I did. That was our big connection — we have the same mentors that come out of Chicago," said Martin in an interview with The Canadian Press.
"Forget colour. The U.S. Constitution was finally honoured. Every man and woman in the U.S. can be the president.
"That's why "Because of You" was important because of the American public. It was the young people in particular who made the difference. For Barack, it fulfilled the constitution and that's the main thing for me."
Martin, 58, was a touring member of Detroit’s Funk Brothers, a group of studio musicians known for their background vocals and on many Motown hits including "My Girl", "I Heard It Through the Grapevine" and "Ain't No Mountain High Enough."
He has performed with artists such as Pinetop Perkins, Howlin' Wolf, Luther (Guitar) Johnson, and Billy Branch.
The main vocals on the Obama song are from Marcia Ware, a vocalist with the Funk Brothers.
Some of the lines of the song are: "For so long I didn't know what to feel. Then you came along and you showed me what was real. You make me strong. You showed me a better way and now ain't nobody ever going to take that away."
Martin plays guitar on the track as well. In the middle of the song, he says, "This song is dedicated to President Barack Obama and the American people. From the Funk Brothers we say the best is yet to come."
Martin said he hasn't met President Obama but still has hopes.
"I've never met him but perhaps one day I will. I hope the American public and the Canadians realize we're glad the constitution was honoured."
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