Paris, October 29, 2014. A collective of African musicians have come together to record a song to help raise awareness about Ebola in Africa. The song, entitled “Africa Stop Ebola”, features the singers Tiken Jah Fakoly, Amadou & Mariam, Salif Keita, Oumou Sangare, Kandia Kouyate, Mory Kante, Sia Tolno, Barbara Kanam and rappers Didier Awade, Marcus and Mokobe.
The song is a message to citizens about what they can do to help stop the spread of Ebola in Africa. The song is performed in French and vernacular languages widely spoken across the region to ensure that the message is understood regardless of the level of literacy and education of the population.
The United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki Moon, recently said in an article that fear and misunderstanding are the biggest challenges to stop Ebola. There has been a lot of misinformation in West Africa with many people claiming to have medicines that cure the disease, and this has created mistrust in the health services.
“Africa Stop Ebola” reassures listeners to trust the health services, and also sends a message of hope that this disease can be overcome. Messages in the lyrics include the importance of sanitation and personal hygiene, not touching the sick or the dead, and what people should do if they feel the Ebola symptoms.
Nelson Mandela, the great South African leader once said: “The curious beauty of African music is that it uplifts even as it tells a sad tale. You may be poor, you may have only a ramshackle house, you may have lost your job, but that song gives you hope. African music is often about the aspirations of the African.”
The song will be distributed to radio stations across Africa with support from the World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters (AMARC), and an accompanying video clipwill be available online with the hashtag #AfricaStopEbola. The video clip will be broadcasted on TV stations in Europe and across Africa.
Music industry executive Valerie Malot, who is the Artistic Director of the agency 3D Family in Paris, is the Executive producer of the project. The key messages in the lyrics of the song were developed by Carlos Chirinos, a Clinical Assistant Professor at New York University who specializes in behavioural change communication, music and radio in Africa. The song was co-produced by Carlos Chirinos and Leon Brichard from the band Ibibio Sound Machine, and mixed by Grammy Award winner Sound Engineer Beatriz Artola.