NEW YORK – American folk musician Peter Yarrow hopes that his new song “Never Give Up,” an anti-bullying anthem adapted from the words of the Dalai Lama, will inspire a new generation of “peace-builders” when it is released in Japan next week.
“We can learn to turn our anger at others into forgiveness and love them, too; even if they have done something terrible or cruel,” the former member of Peter, Paul and Mary said last week at an event in New York to debut the song.
“If we can teach children to do that when they are young, they will grow up to be caring, loving peace-builders in the world.”
Since the famous musician had a history of using music to combat social problems like harassment in schools, music producer Kosaku Yamada approached Yarrow at the beginning of the year about making a song from a poem by the Dalai Lama.
“We see too many stories of children committing suicide after being bullied. I wanted to find a way for adults to confront this and to make a happier future for them,” Yamada said, adding that he thought Yarrow’s music would be a perfect medium for this message.
After receiving the words from the Dalai Lama, Yarrow said he was moved by the religious leader’s “powerful” message of not only loving your enemies, but forgiving and working together with them.
With the music complete, Yamada went to New York in April to listen to the finished product. The music professional, reminded of the legendary folk trio’s peace anthems, wanted to record as soon as possible.
A full album called “Never Give Up: Inside the Heart of Peter Yarrow” will be released Nov. 13 in Japan. Three days later, Yarrow will meet the Dalai Lama and then perform songs from the record in Japan.
The 14 tracks, including new songs as well as covers, were chosen for their lyrics that speak to the need to eradicate the “cruelty” of bullying.
“I’ve been in Japan and I’ve seen the hearts of Japan. This cruelty is not Japanese and it’s not worthy of your country and it’s not worthy of my country,” Yarrow said.