Ethiopia's musicians joined forces with hundreds of politicians Thursday to record a charity song, inspired by the success of trans-Atlantic musical projects that raised millions of dollars for the victims of the 1984-1985 famine. The Ethiopian artists and some 500 legislators gathered in parliament to launch "Find a Solution," a song they hope will help end the stigma of AIDS in the Horn of Africa nation. The initiative comes less than a week after Irish pop star Bob Geldof organized a remake of the "Do They Know It's Christmas?" hit song that raised more than $60 million for the victims of the 1984-1985 famine.
Ethiopia's top hip-hop singer, Abdu Kiar, said he hoped the new project would raise awareness of HIV, which has infected 2.2 million people and orphaned 1 million children in the country of 70 million. "If we have anything like their [Live Aid and Band Aid] success, we will be happy" Abdu said. "They are an inspiration, but we Ethiopians must also show what we can do."
The charity song was proposed by the National Coalition for Women Against HIV/AIDS, an organization led by prominent Ethiopian women. Ethiopia's first lady, Azeb Mesfin, a member of the group, said songs are traditionally used in Africa to communicate important information and that the new song would help spur discussions on HIV as it plays on the radio and television. "We hope that people will be able to sing the song in their communities as they go about their daily chores, to help people discuss HIV/AIDS openly," Azeb said. (AP)