context: each year, a lack of even basic medical treatment kills thousands of people in Africa, Asia, and Latin America because their governments, bled white by debt-servicing requirements, are unable to fund health programs. According to the United Nations Programme for Development, many countries spend a greater proportion of their budget on debt repayment than they allocate to education, health, and other social services. In 2001, UN Secretary General Kofi Annan announced that 38% of the budget of African countries was devoted to debt servicing. This figure alone shows how the vital needs of populations are being sacrificed to truncated economic rules.
Cancellation of third world debt is simply a question of political will and depends on the commitment of citizens in Europe, Africa, America, Asia and Oceania. And artists can sometimes encourage or maintain this commitment [from World Village, Drop the Debt press release].
drop the debt: an album, a humanitarian initiative, a campaign… All of these issues in one CD, released in 2003 but still available and, most of all, still very up-to-date in its music and in its aim. Sixteen titles, a hundred musicians, fourteen nationalities, one message: for Drop The Debt, a group of world renowned musicians has come together with compassion, humour and determination to raise awareness of a devastating humanitarian crisis.
aim:in each country where “Drop the Debt” has been released, there is a partnering organisation involved in debt cancellation. Although battles are not won by singing, campaigners sometimes win them with a song on their lips. “Drop the Debt” intends to inspire all citizens who hear it to ask the questions needed to change world debt policy.
the CD: three quarters of the 16-track CD are original compositions written specifically for the album. The rest are original versions of existing material, making the entire album original, unlike so many compilations issued these days. Several artists featured on the album have made huge names for themselves in the world music scene in recent years, including Cape Verde’s Cesaria Evora, Brazil’s Chico Cesar and Lenine, Zimbabwe’s Oliver Mtukudzi, Cameroon’s Sally Nyolo, Columbia’s Totó La Momposina, and Venezuela’s Soledad Bravo. The raw power of their words and music is undeniable, as it comes straight from the heart - and in some cases, first-hand experience.
committed labels: the CD has been released by World Village (Harmonia Mundi). “The driving force behind the World Village label is that the music we release usually finds us, just as it would in any village. If we feel strongly about the music, then we’ll release the CD. It’s as simple as that - there won’t be any ‘market research’ beforehand. Therefore, the music we choose can be any new music, as long as it has soul. World Village will favour artists that are original and have a great story to tell. They may be well known and already have a buzz going, or they may be a totally new discovery. World Village may even release traditional music, as long as it is amazing and avoids cultural clichés” declare the label promoters.