This year, after receiving 113 entries from over 30 countries throughout the 3 months that the Fair Play website went live, we are joined at the 2nd GYAC Forum in Nairobi by musicians from Uganda (Kafulu Xenson), Vanuatu (Young Life), Colombia (De Bruces A Mí), and Bulgaria (Teddy & Tenny). Coming from the tremendous success of last year's musicians, I was definitely looking forward to Together Against Corruption v2.0. However, in response to the growth of the network and the anti-corruption movement we hope to build, this year's musicians composed and recorded not just one, but three collaborative songs. Check them out:
In Hand In Hand, our musicians point out that the fight against corruption is black and white, yes or no, "there's no middle ground;" you either stand for honesty and integrity or you don't. They also remind us that the fight is best done with a group because truly, "together we stand; divided we fall." Indeed, indeed. More than a reminder, this is a celebratory song that's best enjoyed with friends and fellow anti-corruption advocates.
Vocals: Taiwo Matthew Omede (Nigeria/Bulgaria), Andre Arno (Vanuatu), Rexson Josiah (Vanuatu)
Guitars: Nelly Charley (Vanuatu), Mike Hogan (New Zealand/Vanuatu)
Bass: Andre Arno (Vanuatu)
Keys: Rexson Josiah (Vanuatu)
Drums: Camilo Mazo (Colombia)
We Are One People is a really refreshing track, thanks to the vocals of the only lady in the pack, Teddy of Teddy & Tenny, whom you will also hear sing in her native Bulgarian. Watch out for the words: "there'll be no fear, no pain, if we just all walk the way of truth ... we will take this cause til hopes and dreams will come to life again." Really beautiful, powerful song; GYAC members should all someday sing this in a chorus.
Vocals: Teddy Slavcheva (Bulgaria), Emmanuel Nsubuga (Uganda), David Middleton Sabo (Uganda)
Guitars: Mike Hogan (New Zealand/Vanuatu), David Middleton Sabo (Uganda)
Keys: Emmanuel Nsubuga (Uganda)
Bass: Steve Bwire (Uganda)
Drums: Mathias Boe (Vanuatu)
This song is simply quite straightforward: Say No To Corruption, dammit. Make no mistake, though: it's far from the angry, hardcore, rah-rah kind of advocacy song; the chorus is genuinely uplifting: "Arise, say no, let's fight corruption. One mind one heart, let's fight corruption." You can also hear the Colombian boys rock it in Spanish here. I think we can all agree how musical the language can be.
Vocals: Mauricio Osorio (Colombia), Samson Ssenkaaba (Uganda), Robert Arno (Vanuatu), Rexly Josiah (Vanuatu)
Guitar: Oscar Franco (Colombia)
Bass: Cesar Valencia (Colombia)
Melodica: Julio Angel (Colombia)
Keys: Faber Agudelo (Colombia)
Drums: Simon Peter Kafeero Tamale (Uganda)
All of the songs were produced by Jesse Bukindu and recorded, mixed, and mastered at Ketebul Music, Nairobi, Kenya.
Extremely talented musicians + anti-corruption advocacy + GYAC members together in one Forum = really potent cocktail, if you ask me. Watch them in this video as they rocked their winning songs and "Hand In Hand":
Advocacy work is tedious and challenging; one even went so far as to say that anything worth fighting for will not happen in our lifetime. I partly agree. But it need not always be so. As I've said before, anti-corruption advocacy is as urgent as it is hip. Or the other way around. Music can bring home to people -- from far and wide -- the message of transparency and accountability and a better future. And really, I don't think I need to explain the impact of music in our lives.