Meet the Little Song Team
Posted: Sat 15th Aug 2015 23:18
I am Victoria Leith ('Miss Vicky'), creator and founder of LittleSong. I have been singing with children for over 20 years in China, Africa, America and the UK. I qualified as a teacher with a B.Ed (Hons) Degree in 1998 and now have two darling daughters, who I sing to and write songs for every day! I believe that music is such a powerful tool for life and helps us learn and grow in so many positive ways.
I was the class teacher of Pre-K 3 in TEDA International School for nine months in China (which is where I wrote some of the songs for LittleSong!), Music teacher in Millway Middle School, Director of Music in Kiddie Keep Well Camp in America and a volunteer teacher in Swaziland in a primary school in Mbabane for a year when I was 19 with Fiona Young, who you will read about in the Meet the Team page! I also worked as part of a performing arts collective with Richard and Fleur... we have all worked together at some time in our lives! I had a big change of how I write songs when I volunteered for two years, singing three times a month in Cynthia Spencer hospice. It was here that really showed me how calming and peaceful music can have such a tangible and spiritual effect on the human body and spirit and how important it is to have access to it daily, no matter our age! I play various instruments, from the piano (my first love!) recorder and penny whistle, percussion (including tapping out rhythms on my own body!) and guitar. I even had a guitar made for me a few years ago by an amazing luthier called Peter Gosden and this guitar is like my third baby! I may have started the idea of LittleSong but to have all these wonderful friends on board, who all share the same vision and love for music for children, it is a dream come true that we can bring such positive music to you all!
I am Richard Leigh and I work as a composer and teach for the Northamptonshire Music and Performing Arts Trust (NMPAT). This work includes directing Zingaresque (the county youth world/folk ensemble) along with teaching composition, violin, choirs, group voice/body percussion work-shops, working with hospital & outreach students & composition commissions. I traveled to Swaziland many years ago with Victoria and spent much of my time capturing different voices and songs to bring back to the UK and to use within my work and the hundreds of children I work with. I am really keen to let as many people know as possible that yes, they CAN sing which is why I am thrilled to be part of the LittleSong team!
I am Fiona Young, a lawyer by profession and a songwriter at heart! I come from musical origins on both sides: my maternal grandfather was a talented violinist and was renowned in his native Shiraz, Iran for teaching girls music at a time when it was generally boys who learned. My mother, Mina Beint, has recorded, (with Richard Leigh another Little Song collaborator), CDs of Persian chants and spiritual music. My paternal grandfather was a talented pianist and my brother and cousin form the talented musical duo Rowshan. From this musical background it's little wonder that I started my song writing path at the age of 14 penning tunes in school break time with my friend Victoria Leith. We won a school prize for musical composition and performance two years in a row and performed together all over the UK.
In 1994 we travelled to Swaziland and inspired by the people we met, our beautiful surroundings and exciting experiences we collaborated on composing and writing countless songs, using our skills at creating soulful harmonies to give our music an original and ephemeral style.
As a mother to two children, I have carried on my family tradition of singing and chanting prayers as part of the bedtime routine. My children and husband find this a soothing and calming end to the day and have learned, as I did as a child of the healing power of prayer and song.
I have been involved with Virtues and child spiritual development projects since my teens and am passionate about the power of music in instilling in children the positive messages of character development.
I am James Mohajer (Just ‘James’) and I am currently studying to be an international human rights advocate, though I had initially set out to be a primary school teacher! Having spent one year teaching music at a primary school in Zambia, I came to understand the effect that music can have on a child’s development and happiness, and this really inspired me to be a part of this amazing project!
I play the guitar, the piano, the drums and I sing, and by writing songs, not only can express myself, but learn how to help others, especially children!
I am Fleur Missaghian and I am a drama and singing teacher who loves to help people find their inner voice, both spoken and sung! I have enjoyed singing with children and adults in China, Germany, Poland, Ireland, France, Scotland, Wales and England. I qualified as a teacher with a PGCE (with Distinction) in 1995 and have a Masters in Drama from University South Wales in 2012.
For Sherman Cymru (Cardiff), I ran a Women’s Community Singing Group for refugees and ladies (a project supported by the Welsh Refugee Council) for over a year, singing folk and world-music songs. Altogether 60 people sang and performed with the group! We had so much fun!
In 2011 I travelled to Chengdu, Sichuan Province in China with my brother, Kalim Bartlett, who is a Beatboxer by the name of 'Tangent'. We worked alongside Chinese arts practitioners from an amazing company called 'Hua Dan', leading drama, singing, writing, beatboxing and dance workshop sessions with middle school children in Mien Yang, performing for the International Day of the Child in July.
I love singing serious as well as silly songs and I sing every day, often to my cat before breakfast who joins in with her loud purring!
My name is Vincent Martino, I am an osteopath and a father of a 21 month-old daughter, Violette, and another daughter who will be arriving very soon! I grew up surrounded by music as my father was a singer and songwriter and my three sisters are wonderful musicians. I really value how important music and rhythms are in children's education, even from a very young age.
As a health practitioner, I understand that when a baby is growing inside the womb, it is exposed to the sound of the mother's heart beat, her breath, her digestion- therefore it has been surrounded by melodies and rhythms for 9 months and when it is born, it longs for music!! I remember my daughter's first cries being calmed by the song I used to sing to her prior to her birth.
I was born and grew up in the south of France but my father's side is Italian and mother's side is Spanish. I have observed how powerful music is in the process of learning a new language. This is why I am so happy to be part of the Littlesong team to bring you children's songs en Francais!
I am Tom Leith and I lived in China with my wife Victoria, working on a series of songs that fused my music and traditional Chinese instruments. I have worked in the field of music for 20 years, both as a hobby and professionally and now am even studying at University to get my Music Tech degree! I love going out into nature and the world at large and recording the amazing sounds of life that make up our intriguing planet earth. There is nothing better than waking up at 5am to go and capture the early morning sounds of a busy working harbour and the ocean!