Kelowna's Leah West wins Global Citizen Week contest

Leah West garnered over 2000 votes to win the Global Music Fest songwriting competition; (below) she speaks with veteran Kelowna singer/songwriter Andrew Smith at a press conference announcing she had won the competition. - contributed
Leah West garnered over 2000 votes to win the Global Music Fest songwriting competition; (below) she speaks with veteran Kelowna singer/songwriter Andrew Smith at a press conference announcing she had won the competition.
— image credit: contributed

This weekend, as Vernon's Andrew Allen rolls into town and En Karma takes the stage at Global Music Fest, local singer/songwriter Leah West will be waiting in the wings.

Monday morning it was announced her song, The Miracle is You, got the most votes in the Global Music Fest songwriting competition; the event kicks off Global Citizen Week.

"Our whole aim here is to connect people and to encourage people to engage local non-profits," said Ryan Donn, Global Music Fest founder and a director for Global Citizen Week.

West's song promotes the non-profit organization Partners in the Horn of Africa, which is based out of the Okanagan and Alberta.

The Horn of Africa is a region including Ethiopia, the organization's focus, Eritrea, Djibouti and Somalia, where drought prompted UN officials to declare the worst humanitarian crisis in the world this year. Long plagued by famine, Ethiopia has a population of 76.5 million people, a national poverty rate of 44 per cent, an infant mortality rate of one in 14 and has been devastated by HIV/AIDS.

In the lyrics of her song, West focuses on ways people can help counter the country's problems, noting the naysayers don't help.

"Well, they say it's going to take a miracle, well the miracle is you," she sings.

This is the second year the music festival, which promotes global awareness through local action, has served as the opening event for Kelowna's Global Citizen Week celebration.

Global Citizen Week draws attention to the United Nation's Millennium Development Goals, presenting ways average citizens can contribute to an international effort to improve quality of life in developing countries. It has been recognized in Kelowna for eight years and runs Feb. 24 through Mar. 3.

This year, the kick-off concerts at Global Music Fest, a two-day celebration, will include a local night and an internationally-themed evening with the singer/songwriters who participated in the contest with West performing on Friday, Feb. 25 at the Laurel Packinghouse.

Leah West wins Global Music Fest songwriting competition

The Global Citizen Week songwriting contest was designed to see local musicians help the non-profit sector by writing music that would promote a cause and could be used for future marketing initiatives the organizations launch into.

West won $2000 of recording time from Music City Studio for her efforts, while Kelowna's Brent Tyler took home $1000 of recording time from Big Audio Productions and Jeff Piattelli won $500 of rehearsal time at Music City Studio.

West is now considering going to Ethiopia as a result of the experience.

"I just think the fact that she's considering going that far for a local non-profit is pretty amazing," said Donn at a press conference held to announce the winners in the Laurel Packinghouse.

Tickets for Global Music Fest can be purchased online for $15 or at the door for $18. The line up for Friday, Feb. 24 includes Vancouver's Behind Sapphire, Yukon rockers Speed Control and headliner Andrew Allen. The following night local Celtic band Cod Gone Wild and indie pop rock darlings Rococode open for Vancouver's En Karma, one of the top Bhangra bands in North America.

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