Musicians Making a Difference for Haiti: Arcade Fire
By Bryan Schaaf on Mercredi, mars 7, 2007.
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Below is an interesting article on a band called Arcade Fire, who we have known about for some time. What we did not know is how involved they have been with Haiti. The band had recently contacted Partners in Health, an important NGO based in Haiti which has pioneered treatment for Tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS in low resource settings, to see how they could be involved.
This was not their first socially conscious endeavor. Arcade Fire has also provided music for the "Project Red campaign which raises money for the Global Fund through purchases made in the private sector. You may have seen the commercials with red cell phones. Turns out -- the band also blogs about Haiti in their online journal frequently. Arcade Fire devoted the proceeds of the first single from their new album (available through ITUNES) to PIH. In addition, a portion of every ticket sold from every concert in Europe and the United States will go to PIH.
On the right hand side of this page, you can find an excerpt of a song they had written about Haiti. For those of us in DC, we can catch them at the DAR Constitution Hall on Friday, May 4, 2007 at 8pm. More info on the band and their tour can be found at www.arcadefire.com
Music in Haiti can be a powerful way to connect with history, with a cause, to affirm you identify, or to just have a good time. Some of Haiti's best Ambassadors are musicians and we applaud Arcade Fire's decision to remain engaged.
The Arcade Fire, a Montreal-based “indie” rock group, is making a name for itself not only as one of Canada’s hottest bands but as advocates and fundraisers for global health equity. Most visibly, they provided the music—free of commission—for a series of television advertisements to boost sales during the holiday shopping rush of the “(PRODUCT) RED” campaign to raise funds for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. But they didn’t stop there. At the end of December, they dedicated proceeds from the iTunes release of the first single from their eagerly awaited new album to Partners In Health. And most significantly for us, the band has committed to give PIH $1.00, £1.00 or €1.00 of every ticket sold on their upcoming European and North American tours.
After learning about PIH by reading Tracy Kidder’s Mountains Beyond Mountains and Paul Farmer’s Pathologies of Power, Win Butler and Régine Chassagne, the husband-wife duo who formed The Arcade Fire in 2003, contacted us about their desire to help. Although the band’s interest in PIH is relatively new, their dedication to promoting understanding of Haiti’s complicated history and solidarity for its long-suffering people is not. Régine’s Haitian background has influenced the band’s music significantly. The song “Haiti” appeared on their first album, Funeral. The lyrics are indicative of Régine’s deep personal bond with the country: “Haïti, mon pays, wounded mother I'll never see. Ma famille set me free. Throw my ashes into the sea…” In addition to expressing the issues through their music, Win has used his online journal (link) to write snippets about Haiti’s historical relationship with France and the United States and to encourage support for Partners In Health.
With the release of The Arcade Fire’s second album, Neon Bible, in March 2007, they will be touring both in Europe and North America. Following a series of warm-up concerts in London, Montreal and New York through the middle of February, the band will tour Europe from March 7 through April 7, with appearances in the Ireland, Scotland, England, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, France, Germany, Holland and Belgium. Dates and locations for the North American leg of their tour have not yet been finalized.
But wherever they go, they intend not only to entertain their fans but to educate them about the major global health issues of our time—from the weakening of the Global Fund to the structural violence that has plagued Haiti and other poor nations for years, causing major public health disasters.
À Propos Haiti Innovation
Haïti Innovation est une société de conseil dévouée à la cause d’Haïti. Fondée par d’anciens bénévoles Peace Corps, l’équipe d’Haïti Innovation détient une expérience directe inégalée en matière de travail humanitaire et de développement à la grandeur du pays, le tout en collaboration avec leurs contreparties haïtiennes.
We also encourage active dialogue in our News section to promote new ideas and provide timely answers to evolving problems that face Haiti's development. Please visit our News section to view and contribute to our blog.
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