Haapu adds to the canon of Global Citizen protest songs

Published: Fri 2 Aug 2013 12:43 PM
Haapu adds to the canon of Global Citizen protest songs
Auckland-based musician Seth Haapu today released a new song entitled "One Billion Reasons" as part of the Global Citizen Album.  The original song is a personal reflection on extreme poverty and the urgency to make a difference. It's part of the worldwide Global Citizen movement, which aims to inspire people to help the world's poor.  The Global Citizen Festival dominated world headlines in September 2012 and is set to raise the profile of extreme poverty with a reprise in Central Park this year.  Stevie Wonder, Alicia Keys, John Mayer and others are lined up to play to a crowd of 60,000 on the 28th of September.
The NZ version of the Global Citizen initiative has brought together some of the most popular artists in the country and invited them to write and record a contemporary protest song.
"We wanted to ask artists to write sincere and meaningful songs about the state of the world," said Ella Rose, the Creative Director for the Global Poverty Project (GPP) who's driving the effort.  "We wanted them to add to the tradition of greats like Woody Guthrie, Joan Baez and John Lennon.  Even though there has been progress in helping the developing world, the scale of the suffering is immense, and we hoped musicians would once again be inspired by these complex subjects like social justice and inequality."
The title of Haapu's track underscores the fact that there are over 1 billion people living in extreme poverty.  Despite a reduction in the percentage of people living in extreme poverty (from 50% in 1981 to 24% in 2012), one in seven people worldwide lack access to the most basic needs.
The United Nations defines extreme poverty as "a condition characterized by severe deprivation of basic human needs, including food, safe drinking water, sanitation facilities, health, shelter, education and information. It depends not only on income but also on access to services."
For Haapu, the song is a compassionate reminder of why we should care.
"The song conveys that sometimes its easy to look away from the scale of the suffering, but it's a challenge to close your eyes when you realise so many are struggling to survive," said Haapu.  "I wrote the song to remind myself of our shared humanity, that we’re a global community with solid reason to care.”
Haapu is well known for his thoughtful and poetic songs but wasn’t well informed on global material.  He said that he spent time looking into the challenges of extreme poverty and the impact on people's lives.
"We have a great deal of information at our fingertips " said Haapu.  "Anyone with an internet connection has an opportunity to grasp what these 1 billion people endure every day as they strive to feed their children, stay warm and just exist."
Rose said she's inspired by the creative outpouring from musicians like Haapu. These original songs are a response to the challenge to write a modern 'anthem' dealing with these subjects.
"Seth's song is a perfect example of how the creativity and genius of a songwriter can surpass anything you ever imagined," said Rose.  "He really feels the pain of these 1 billion people and he's distilled that into this song.  Even more, he's captured the deeply unsettling knowledge of this imbalance and how we channel that into positive solutions."
The song "One Billion Reasons" was recorded at York St Studios in Auckland. It premiered for a national audience on TVNZ's Good Morning show this week.  Haapu will play the song live at the Global Citizen Concert at the Town Hall on August 4th.
The track is available for sale on iTunes with all proceeds going to charity.  It is also available as a free download to anyone buying a ticket to the Global Citizen Concert this weekend. The Global Citizen platform offers rewards for positive actions that foster global citizenship.
The Global Citizen Album will be marketed in NZ and around the world in the lead up to the Global Citizen Festival with the help of GPP operations worldwide.
To see a video of "One Billion Reasons" go to:

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