Friday, December 7, 2007

Great Divide :: Hanson

Last Saturday, December 1, was World AIDS day. Perhaps I should have written this post last week, in advance of that day. However, I wasn't quite ready to come out of the musical closet, so to speak. Dylan and I sometimes like to joke about this when we talk about our appreciation of this particular band (Sorry, Flunker – I'm outing you, too). We like to say, "You know, there are just some things that you can't share with the people around you – things you have to keep secret from your friends, and from your family... This is one of those things..." And then we'd usually launch into some entirely absurd cover of "MMMBop."

But right now, I'm not interested in a flashback to the 1990s. Like I said, Saturday was World AIDS Day, and since most of us who write for this blog are passionate about music and about social justice (often simultaneously), I thought I'd take a moment to talk about the song "Great Divide." Last year, on World AIDS Day 2006, Hanson released a new single that they'd recorded with two children's choirs in Mozambique and South Africa after becoming interested in the movement to fight global AIDS. The song is available on iTunes – and here's the best part - all the proceeds from its purchase go to the Perinatal HIV Unit at Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital in Soweto, South Africa. In addition, while on tour this fall to support their new album, The Walk (2007), Hanson has been making speeches and organizing barefoot walks in every city they've played in, to raise awareness about global poverty and encourage people to become involved in AIDS activism.

Let me take a break for a moment. I imagine some folks are having trouble digesting all of this. Social justice, global AIDS awareness, activism, and Hanson!? I was as surprised as anyone else. But, then, it appears that Hanson, despite being three silver-spoonfed white boys from Oklahoma, aren't the strangers to social activism that we might presume them to be. In fact several years ago, after becoming disgusted with the corporate music industry and the massive media mergers that occurred in the late 1990s, Hanson left their major label and started their own, independent record label. They made a documentary about the experience, called "Strong Enough to Break." It's a far cry from "MMMBop."

So, in honor of World AIDS Day, in remembrance of the 25 million people who have died of AIDS since 1981, and in solidarity with the 22.5 million people in Sub-Saharan Africa who are currently living with HIV or AIDS, I am posting the song "Great Divide" and encouraging folks to download it and spread the word.

More information on the global AIDS epidemic: http://www.avert.org/worldstats.htm ; http://www.fightglobalaids.org/

More information on HIV/AIDS in Africa: http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/static/in_depth/africa/2000/aids_in_africa/default.stm; http://www.avert.org/aidsinafrica.htm

More information on the Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital, where the proceeds from "Great Divide" go: http://www.chrishanibaragwanathhospital.co.za/bara/index.jsp



Great Divide
The earth is shaking under siege
And every breath will meet its fate
Still we hunger for a moment of freedom
Even though the hour's late

I find hope and it gives me rest
I find hope in a beating chest
I find hope in what eyes don't see
I find hope in your hate for me
Have no fear when the waters rise
We can conquer this great divide

When every eye is on the fortune
It can only breed contempt
They say blood is thicker than oceans
Still we box our brothers in

I find hope and it gives me rest
I find hope in a beating chest
I find hope in what eyes don't see
I find hope in your hate for me
Have no fear when the waters rise
We can conquer this great divide

And we're gone
And we're gone
And we're holding on
And we're holding on
And we're holding on

I find hope and it gives me rest
I find hope in a beating chest
I find hope in what eyes don't see
I find hope in your hate for me
Have no fear
Have no fear when the waters rise
We can conquer this great divide

4 comments:

gitfiddler said...

Wow! Go Hanson!

Dylan said...

i forgive you for outing me =) i'm sure it would've come out eventually either way..

Quaking Aspen said...

a very brave coming out! cool.

1ControlledChaos said...

I know exactly how you feel! I'm a huge Hanson fan and am kind of in the closet about it, unless you really know who I am. :)

-1controlledchaos