Six Degrees Overview
In one of his biggest hits, Michael Jackson sang ‘heal the world, make it a better place’, and he is not the only one to send out this message. A variety of female singing stars have just united to release a single in support of Action Aids’s 6 degrees campaign, and we have all the news on it right here at music.co.uk.
The 6 Degrees project is essentially based on the 6 degrees of separation theory that can connect us to anyone throughout the world. This theory worked for Epic Records President Amanda Ghost, who was able to connect herself to Hajara Mukyala, a 20 year-old single mother from Kampala. Although some of these connections might be tentative, they can also be inspiring, and Hajara’s story inspired Amanda, just as I am sure it will inspire some of you. Hajara lives in povery in one of the poorest slums in Uganda’s capital. She had an unlucky start to her teenage years, having suffered rape at the age of 14. She was sent away by her parents as she became pregnant, and found that the only way to support herself and her daughter was to earn a living as a sex worker. Lay all the facts bare and you’ll discover that even sleeping with up to 5 men a night, only earns around £1.70, and submits Hajara to the violence of local men. To us this will seem disgusting, wrong, and against basic human rights, but sometimes women living in poverty don’t have a voice, and have little choice.
Luckily, there are charities like Action Aid that support projects in these countries to support women, and teach them about safe sex, give them medical assistance, and other opportunities. Hajara for example is learning a trade and hopes to leave her old life behind her soon. But there is a lot more that can be done, hence the launch of the 6 degrees campaign. It aims to unite women all around the world, and raise awareness of what the unlucky ones have to go through. One of the ways they hope to do this, is with the release of a single.
The Single Release
The 6 Degrees project has chosen to release a cover of Chaka Khan’s ‘I’m Every Woman’ in support of the project, and has recruited an interesting mix of singers (some of which I’ve not heard of) to contribute vocals on the track. The line-up includes Róisín Murphy, Alessi’s Ark, The Cock and Bull Kid, Micachu, and the unique vocal talents of Sinead O’Connor.
I’m very familiar with the Chaka Khan version of this song, and used to the up-tempo music and belting vocal. I didn’t know what to make of this version at first, it’s certainly different. They’ve given the track a much slower, melancholy feel, with opportunities to hear the different vocal styles of all the singers. It comes across as a mash-up of folk and soul, that works well in places and not so well in others. The intro and melody are well written, but perhaps its vocal line-up is a little too diverse and doesn’t always fuse together well. It was interesting, but I was expecting something a little more exciting. Having said that, for the purposes of a charity single it could work well. I think they should use it as a soundtrack to video footage supporting the campaign. It has that reflective nature that would go well with a strong visual message. This is just my opinion though, I would recommend everyone having a listen to this song themselves. Make up your own mind, listen to something different, and support a worthwhile cause at the same time.
Free downloads and more information on the project available now at www.actionaid.org/sixdegrees