A Kitchener dad-daughter team creates songs for July 1. This year's O Canada has a South African flavour

Tolzee and his daughter Morolake have released a new song for Canada Day. (Karis Mapp/CBC - image credit)
Tolzee and his daughter Morolake have released a new song for Canada Day. (Karis Mapp/CBC - image credit)

Nigerian-born musician-songwriter Tolzee hopes a new song he has released for Canada Day will help younger Nigerians fall in love with the Canadian national anthem.

Tolzee, who lives in Kitchener, Ont., with his family, said releasing a new song on July 1 is his way of contributing to the country he now calls home.

"I believe it's easy to learn things when it's in melodies and rhythms," Tolzee said on CBC Kitchener-Waterloo's The Morning Edition.

Releasing a new song on Canada Day has become an annual tradition for the musician, since 2020. This year's is titled O Canada: amapiano version.

"The theme for this year's song is: we're going back to the Canadian anthem itself because the first year, 2020, was the Canadian anthem and we infused some African beats into it," he said.

"So the African-Nigerian community, they were able to relate with that. This year, we're going back to that but we're making it an amapiano style. Amapiano is a music style that originated from South Africa," he added.

"I just wanted to appeal to the younger generation like the Gen Z, the youth, because they love amapiano a lot."

Tolzee lives in Kitchener with his family.
Tolzee lives in Kitchener with his family.

Tolzee lives in Kitchener with his family. (Karis Mapp/CBC)

Tolzee collaborated with his eight-year-old daughter Morolake to produce the songs, saying the experience has helped her discover her strength.

"We did it in 2020 and it was a huge success, and since then, you know, she's never looked back," he said.

For Morolake, working with her father makes her happy because she gets to spend more time with him.

"I like … that we sometimes get to go to different places that we've never been to before in Canada. So it's really fun," Morolake said.

She hopes that by listening to the songs, people will learn "Canada is a good place they could come to."

Tolzee said that as soon as he releases one song, he begins thinking about what the one for the following year should be.

LISTEN | Tolzee, Morolake talk about their new Canada Day song and hear O Canada: amapiano version: 

He said there's a theme and goals for each year.

"The first year was just strictly the Canadian anthem. The second one, I wanted people to learn the provinces and their capital, so I did that.

"The third year was just like a prayer for Canada, showing the diversity and inclusivity, that it's a country that just accommodates people from different backgrounds."

Tolzee said the response from the local Nigerian community has been great.

"The first year, a lot of people reached out and said they were able to learn the Canadian anthem better, because it was, like, a kind of rhythm that you're used to, so they could relate to it.

"So their kids were able to sing along with them and they could dance. And before they knew it, so many of them that were trying to prepare for their citizenship in 2020 said they used that song to learn the anthem."

Tolzee said for Canada Day, people should "go out, have fun, play the song and dance a little."

For more stories about the experiences of Black Canadians — from anti-Black racism to success stories within the Black community — check out Being Black in Canada, a CBC project Black Canadians can be proud of. You can read more stories here.