John Cody & Perla Batalla Team Up on 'The Great Divide' to Raise Money for the Unison Benevolent Fund

Today marks the release of “The Great Divide,” an English-language song co-written by Canadian songwriter John Cody (Bonnie Raitt, Tom Cochrane) and former Leonard Cohen backing singer Perla Batalla. All net sales generated by “The Great Divide” will go to the Unison Benevolent Fund.

Initially composed in 2019 for the CBC Radio podcast The Band Played On, covering the teacher-student sex abuse scandal that occurred at Bell High School in Ottawa during the 1980s,  the episode featuring “The Great Divide” was downloaded over 1 million times and has been in constant demand ever since.

Cody, one of the abused victims, has now created a moving video for the song, which features performances of Batalla and himself.

Out of the three teachers involved with the scandal at Bell High School,  two have died in the wake of allegations. A third plead guilty to abusing 10 former students and was convicted and  sentenced last year.

Services by all the musicians involved in the recording of “The Great Divide” were donated – including mixing by engineer Kevin Dietz – and the video, completed by Cody at his home studio, includes a mini-documentary detailing the song’s background and its significance.

Suffering some serious health issues of his own, Cody – along with the blessing of Batalla – is assigning all net sales generated by “The Great Divide” to the Unison Benevolent Fund,  a non-profit, registered charity that provides counselling and emergency relief services to the Canadian music community in times of hardship, illness, or economic difficulties.

“Unison has done so much to help me and others during difficult times that they’ve provided me with a lifeline,” says Cody.  “Without them, I’m not sure how I’d survive. I wanted to give back and this is the best way I can figure out how to do it.”

After more than 20 years as an acclaimed and successful singer and songwriter, a slew of related medical conditions and resulting surgeries ended Cody’s music career about five years ago. This includes colon cancer, which led to cancer of the larynx that stripped him of his singing voice. He also suffers from a severe degenerative neuromuscular disease that has robbed him of his mobility. Nonetheless, Cody continues to push on, writing and creating music while fighting for his life.

To donate to Unison, please visit HERE.

To purchase “The Great Divide,” please go to a streaming platform of your choice: Spotify, iTunes, Amazon, Apple Music.

For Perla Batalla’s Apple music site, please visit HERE.

For further inquiries or interviews, please contact John Cody at

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Michael Raine is the Editor-in-Chief at Canadian Musician and Canadian Music Trade magazines. He also hosts the Canadian Musician Podcast.
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