This is a week of choirs and causes. Last Saturday I went to a fundraiser for Médecins Sans Frontières’ ebola programs, and next Saturday I’ll be going to a climate change #OnMyAgenda soirée in the lead up to the G20 meeting. Choirs are a feature of both events.
The ebola fundraiser doubled as the annual concert for Sydney gospel choir the Honeybees. This is one of the songs they sang.
‘No room at the Inn’ was also high on their playlist. I took this as a clear dig at our government’s current protectionist migration policies, which include banning migration from ebola-affected countries. I couldn’t find a Honeybees version of the song, but Mahalia Jackson will send shivers down your spine.
Another Sydney choir, the environmentalist acapella group Ecopella will be singing at the #OnMy Agenda soirée. Perhaps they will sing this song about climate change.
And perhaps they will sing this more optimistic piece, apparently inspired by a 500 year old tree, which our short-sighted, coal-bound politicians would do well to listen to.
Both gigs highlight the disappointment, anger and shame that I, and many other Australians feel, about the actions of our government in relation to not only climate change and ebola (until recently they were refusing to send on-the-ground-support to West Africa), but also the treatment of asylum seekers, and a host of domestic issues such as health, education and unemployment entitlements.
However, the gigs also highlight ordinary people’s resilience and determination that the mean-spirited actions of our government will not get in the way of us acting with compassion and foresight.
Coincidentally, sandwiched between the Honeybees and Ecopella are two other musical events — a gig that I went to straight after the Honeybees, and a party I may drop in on before #OnMyAgenda — which both feature the West African sounds of Chosani Afrique. This final video isn’t the greatest quality, being shot live at an Australia Day concert, but for me, it’s what ‘Team Australia’ is and should be about: joy, generosity, diversity and plenty of rhythm.