01 December 2006

World AIDS Day + World Music

Today is World AIDS Day. While SoundRoots doesn't generally get into health issues, we see this as so much bigger. The spread of this disease is devastating whole communities, whole generations.

In 2000, heads of state made a promise to halt and begin to reverse the spread of AIDS by 2015.

New reports by UNAIDS and the World Health Organization (WHO) indicate that, as of 2006, the epidemic continues to spread in every region of the world. By now more than 65 million people have been infected with HIV and well over 25 million people have died of AIDS since 1981, 2.9 million in 2006 alone. At this rate, the WHO predicts that in the next 25 years another 117 million people will die, making AIDS the third leading cause of death worldwide. [read more]

So the theme for this year's World AIDS Day is "the promise should be kept." Here's a PSA video.

No long lectures for you. Just a reminder that although AIDS may not be a loud topic in your circle, it still demands your attention. If you can't do anything else, at least you can support the musicians who are addressing the issue through their music. Of course many big-name musicians -- particularly Africans -- are doing so. And you can't go wrong with the Red Hot series of CDs (personal favorite: the Fela covers of Red Hot + Riot).

Less-known musicians addressing AIDS include the vocal group Sinikithemba made up of HIV+ South Africans, who have released a four-song EP called Living Hope [listen]. Singing in the Shadow of AIDS is a radio documentary by Jonah Eller-Isaacs, who spent six months traveling in sub-Saharan Africa, living with local families, and discovering how Africans are using music as an effective tool in fighting HIV and AIDS. A group called The Bliss has a song called "The People of Africa" which features young rap artists from Swaziland conveying anti-AIDS messages. And Cameroonian singer Bibiche la Joie sings a song called "Dépistage" (or "HIV test") [read more about the singer and her message].

So there. On this World AIDS Day, you have no excuse for not picking up some great music or even doing more towards being part of the solution.

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