Tuesday, November 18, 2014

African Stars Release Ebola PSA in a Song

Long before and Irish producer assembled some pop stars to make a Christmas charity record to raise funds to battle the spread of ebola, three of Africa's top musicians wrote and released “Africa Stop Ebola.”

All proceeds from this song go to: Medecins Sans Frontiers/Doctors without Borders MSF


Public service announcements can be useful, particularly if their messages are presented by celebrities. But a catchy song, performed by a starry cast, can be even better. That, at any rate, is the reasoning behind “Africa Stop Ebola,” a new song packed with information about what people can do to help stop the spread of the Ebola virus, for which some of Africa’s top musicians – among them the reggae singer Tiken Jah Fakoly, the duo Amadou & Mariam and the rapper Didier Awadi – have banded together.

The song, which was written by Kandia Kora and Sekou Kouyaté, both of whom are among the performers, is based on ideas and lyrics sketched out by Carlos Chirinos, a professor at New York University who specializes in music, radio and social change. It runs about five and a half minutes, and is packed with warnings (not to touch the bodies of the sick or the dead, to avoid shaking hands) and encouragements (trust doctors, wash your hands).


“We are trying to build the public’s confidence in the public health sector,” Mr. Chirinos said in a telephone interview from London. “This is where the stature of the artists is so important. They are all recognized and respected in their countries, and we felt that people would listen to them. We are combating myths about Ebola not being real, or that it is something that can be cured by a church, or a traditional healer. There have been cases where health teams have turned up at a village and were turned away, or were stoned – some people have been killed. So we’re trying to send a message, that the only way to stop Ebola is to trust in the health services. And also, that there is hope – that the crisis can be overcome.”



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