Some time ago a number of Africa’s best-known musicians gathered in studios in Mali and Paris to record Africa Stop Ebola, a jaunty, reggae-inflected groove with a catchy harmony chorus.
The musicians taking part include: from Mali, Amadou & Mariam, Salif Keita, Oumou Sangaré and Kandia Kouyaté; Guinean singers Mory Kante and Sia Tolno; Ivorian reggae star Tiken Jah Fakoly: Congolese vocalist Barbara Kanam and Senegalese rapper Did Awadi .
The song was written by Kandia Kora and Sekou Kouyaté, with input from Carlos Chirinos, an academic at London’s SOAS and New York University, who produced the track. The song’s lyric gives very direct practical advice to listeners, advising them to go to the doctor, trust the doctor; don’t touch the sick or the dead, and wash your hands. They simple messages that need to be reiterated in order to halt the spread of disease, and to encourage the sick to seek medical help in a part of the world where medical treatment is sometimes viewed with suspicion and worse. The song is sung in a mixture of French and local west African languages including Malinke, Soussou, Kissi and Lingala. It includes lines such as: “Dear parents / Follow the advice of medical authorities / Ebola came to hurt us / Respect their advice”; and “Ebola is a problem for us / We cannot greet someone / You cannot kiss someone / It does not mean that person makes you ashamed / It’s just a reality”, all interspersed with the chorus: “Ebola, Ebola, invisible enemy”.
And the artistes have pledged that all profits from sales of the song will go to Médecins Sans Frontières.
The song has been getting lots of play on radio stations in Africa, but there are now plans to record an English version of the song, to widen its appeal. And a concert is planned to take place at London’s Barbican in mid-January.
Watch it HERE
You – or your friends and relatives – can also buy it here on iTunes.