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The International Musical Philanthropy Genre: A Cadence for Global Community, a Chorus for Change, and a Refrain for African Aid

by Lucia Passanisi

Jan 1, 2011
In 1984, a group of famous British musicians came together to form the megagroup called Band Aid and released the holiday song "Do They Know It's Christmas?" to increase public awareness of the Ethiopian famine. A few months later, American musicians under the name United Support of Artists for Africa (U.S.A. for Africa) released the song "We Are the World" to raise money for these famine victims. Both songs were immensely popular and together created a new rhetorical form, the international musical philanthropy genre. Over twenty-five years after the release of these two songs, Sudanese recording artist Emmanuel Jal released his own song "We Want Peace" to raise public awareness for the Southern Sudanese vote for independence. This study examines the creation of the international musical philanthropy genre by analyzing and comparing the songs "Do They Know It's Christmas?" and "We Are the World". This analysis also discusses the implications of the international musical philanthropy genre. After examining the effects of this new genre, this analysis then examines how the new song "We Want Peace" challenges and expands the international musical philanthropy genre.

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