The United Nations collaborates with top Sahelian artists to produce The Sahel Song – a five-minute vocal and instrumental composition that draws attention to the ongoing crisis in the Sahel and the resilience of its people.
11 October 2021: Today, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN OCHA) and Sahelian artists Vieux Farka Touré (Mali), Amadou and Mariam (Mali), Oumy Gueye (Senegal), Tal National (Niger), Songhoy Blues (Mali) and Bassekou Kouyate (Mali) launched The Sahel Song.
This five-minute, one-of-a-kind composition brings attention to the crisis in the Sahel, while highlighting the region’s rich musical heritage.
The Sahel crisis is one of the world’s fastest-growing emergencies. This year, almost 29 million people need life-saving assistance and protection — that’s 5 million more people than last year. “This song celebrates the persistent resilience, generosity, solidarity and strength that Sahelians continue to display despite the crisis that surrounds them, as well as their vibrant music and cultural heritage,” said Bounena Sidi Mouhamed, Deputy Head of UN OCHA’s Regional Office for West and Central Africa.
Mr. Vieux Farka Touré, a well-respected Malian musician and strong advocate for the Sahel, agreed to write, produce and record the song. Noteworthy Sahelian musicians from across the region and beyond have joined the collaboration, lending voices and music to drive awareness.
Their lyrics address youth in particular, who make up a majority of the Sahelian demographic. “The youth must show courage, strength and fight against this crisis. Peace and solidarity are the tools. If peace is built now, our children tomorrow will thrive,” said Mr. Farka Touré. “Music is a fantastic tool to share messages. Sharing awareness is of paramount importance. It has a strong impact on what happens in our countries.” The artists share a message of peace, solidarity, and hope for a prosperous future for the Sahel, in which everyone has the opportunity to thrive. To reach this goal, continuous engagement and investment are necessary.
The humanitarian situation in the Sahel is deteriorating rapidly. People’s needs across the region have reached unprecedented levels. Vulnerability is increasing due to escalating conflict, rising food insecurity, multiplying climate emergencies and the pandemic.
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