Canen’s Song

1601362_1523943927822668_3095287498262989007_nSeeing an old college friend’s post on Facebook recently reminded me that—ugh—I never opened, much less returned, an email she sent me over a year ago. No good reason. I forgot about it amid my daily blizzard of emails. But now I felt it was time to make amends, and before writing back to her with my apologies, I found the email and was rewarded with a transcendent gift.

My friend is someone with Brooklyn roots similar to my own, who I’ve been in touch with periodically over the years. We may not be plugged into each other’s lives with day-to-day familiarity, but she’s lovely and funny, and it’s always great to see her and compare notes on the latest in our lives.

Her email, first praising a post I shared on Facebook about my daughter’s writing, shared a link to a website featuring her own daughter’s artistic talents as a singer. It offers a few videos of songs she has recorded over the last two years, at the veteran ages of 11 and 12. My old friend later explained that at the time her daughter was recording, she was inspired by Girl Rising and Malala Yousafzai to make a contribution of her own to human rights and girls’ rights; so there is a “Donate” button on her website, in which people can make a contribution to her Amnesty International fundraising page.

Okay, so you know how all of our children are wonders of humanity, each in their own special way? But, occasionally, you come across a prodigy of intellect or art or sports or anything really, whose gifts are so rare and transporting, you relish them as you would the gifts of an amazing adult, and perhaps you pause for second to wonder what lays ahead for them, and hope that they have parents who will support their ambitions and joys while also watching out for their well-being and their childhood.

Well, if you sent me one of these video recordings of my friend’s daughter (one of my favorites is below), and told me to close my eyes and enjoy some music that Adele or Lorde recorded at 11 or 12, I would have listened and not been at all surprised that it was one of them.

I asked my friend if she herself has a singing gift I didn’t’ know about.

“Here is how I sing,” she responded. “When I was in 6th grade, we had required chorus. I was one of only two kids required to sit in the library during required chorus.”

Her daughter’s performing name is Cănen (pronounced Cannon), which is inspired by the Roman goddess of song, “Canens.”

Please, listen for yourself (at—and don’t forget to return any outstanding emails from old friends.

Eric Messinger is the editor of  New York Family. He can be reached at