Colombian musical artists sing for peace
By Dialogo September 29, 2014
Can music help bring about peace in Colombia?
Some of the most prominent musicians and singers in Colombia hope so. They banded together to record “Un paso por la paz,” a song which appeals for peace and harmony throughout the country. The song and an accompanying video were released in September.
Carlos Vives, Juanes, Andrea Echeverry and about 60 other musicians from every region in Colombia participated in recording the song, which was inspired by “We Are The World,” the hit song written by Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie which was released in March 1985 to raise relief funds for Africa.
The lyrics of “Un paso por la paz” call on Colombians to imagine and sing for a country where war is finally a thing of the past.
‘Voices of the people’
The song represents a deep desire for peace among Colombians, said music producer Iván Benavides, who coordinated the project.
“It’s a very powerful song that manages to convey a message,” he said. “The artists represent the different voices of Colombia. They are the voices of the people.”
The song is part of the “Soy Capaz” campaign, an initiative introduced on September 8 by the National Business Association of Colombia (ANDI). The initiative seeks to encourage reconciliation among Colombians as part of the effort to achieve an enduring harmony.
Peace has been elusive in Colombia for more than 50 years, due to attacks by terrorist groups like the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and the National Liberation Army (ELN), as well as other illegal armed organizations.
The battle has also had serious economic consequences. The fighting has cost Colombia about 230 billion pesos (113,240,891.08 USD) since 2004, according to Semana magazine. That is more than the country’s budget for 2014, which is nearly 200 billion pesos.
The Colombian government is trying to end the conflict, through ongoing peace talks with the FARC in Havana. Federal government officials have also spoken about the possibility of holding similar peace talks with the ELN.
‘Soy Capaz’ encourages peace
While the government continues negotiations with the FARC, the Soy Capaz campaign is encouraging Colombians throughout the country to work for peace.
The campaign brings together more than 120 private sector businesses, including several professional soccer teams, representatives from different religious congregations and 14 Colombian universities. The initiative has spread across social networks, such as Twitter, where public figures and ordinary people can use the hashtag #SoyCapaz to describe the actions and sacrifices that they are prepared to make in order to put an end to the armed conflict.
“The song reflects the spirit of the campaign,” Benavides said. “The idea is that peace is a collaborative construction.”
To produce the song, Benavides, who is a renowned producer in Colombia and abroad, recruited Carlos Vives, who agreed to write the lyrics in collaboration with the composer Andrés Castro.
Artists quickly respond
Next, Benavides began contacting dozens of artists throughout Colombia in order to try to coordinate the recording sessions. The response was immediately positive.
“I thought it was an important opportunity to unite around the country, so that our talent could in some way serve to contribute to the musical memory of Colombia,” said Adriana Lucía, 33, a singer-songwriter who took part in the song.
Lucía sings vallenato and porro, two Colombian musical genres. “Sometimes we artists are uncommitted and this is an opportunity to sing and talk about what’s happening in Colombia.”
The project attracted artists of all ages. Ati Gunnara, 16, is an indigenous Colombian from Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta who took part in the recording sessions. Leonor Gónzalez Mina, 80, a pop music singer from the Colombian Pacific, also participated. González Mina, who is known as “La negra grande de Colombia,” took part even though she had been convalescing at her home in Cali.
A popular song
The song has been well received on the radio and on the social networks. As of late September, the YouTube video has been watched nearly 350,000 times, and the hashtag #SoyCapaz has reached more than 7 million people on Twitter.
To support the campaign, several Colombian companies have donated products such as milk and others have trained thousands of employees to publicize the “Soy Capaz” message in public places in major cities.
The effort offers an opportunity to transmit a message to Colombians about the possibilities offered by a country without war.
“A Colombia at peace will produce a new generation of Colombians,” said the members of the alternative rock band Pescao Vivo, who also took part in “Un paso por la paz.”
“Maybe the changes won’t be seen immediately and will bypass this generation, which includes us, but when our children are born, they’re going to grow up with a different perspective on their country and that will change people’s mindsets and it will change Colombia. We’ll be more tolerant, less stressed, a generation that will stand up for itself in the eyes of the world, with a much deeper sense of love for Colombia.”
I loved the song and the video. I feel so proud to be Colombian For peace, everything is welcome Everything that is done to achieve peace is welcome I simply liked it very much. I like the thing with the song :) Peace is a concept that brings beauty to the soul based on healthy ideas. Good for the creators of such yearning for peace Whenever it's for peace, it is an accumulation of efforts. I like it Precious and very meaningful. May God allow it to be carried out successfully for the good of that great country which we, the Puerto Ricans, love too.A I have always said that we have to give those guerrilla fighters peace, peace, they deserve every peace, peace that exists. They are a bunch of terrorists and people still don't want to believe they just watch. Everything said is very interesting We love music, especially when the lyrics are positive. What a good idea! We should sing for religious tolerance, too!! =D I like it I love knowing that people are concerned about each other and this is an initiative which shows love for one's brother. It is very educational To sing for peace is to sing for life This is really cool. We the Narcos rule You're worth crap Dilma loses to AÃ©cio in the second round of elections according to the polls. "ague"(incomprehensible) in Brazil "dimtodi"(incomprehensible) The FARC and the ELNs are not terrorists, you bunch of idiots! They are revolutionaries, the terrorists are those in favor of Uribe and the Colombian oligarchy led by beastly gringos!.... THE MUSICIANS' ATTITUDE IS VALUABLE BECAUSE OF THEIR SOCIAL COMMITMENT TO PEACE. So they want peace in Venezuela and with you and your voice to be heard all over the world. Thank you for beautiful Venezuela THIS WEBPAGE IS ONE OF THE MOST VISITED BY CLAUDIA SANABRIA DE SUMASKI. SHE NEVER LEAVES THE WEBPAGE. SHE REALLY LIKES RECONQUISTA HOY, THAT IS WHY SHE SENDS YOU REGARDS TO ALL KISSES I've always like it. It's like peace, you have to be at one with everyone else. there have already been too many deaths in the Americas Many people have died in Maturi because of the foolishness of the National Guard that doesn't want to do anything Why don't they get together and sing against prostitution, mafias, drug trafficking and hunger? That is a really good idea!! That's how it should be for the clergy and the politicians. Get together and speak with one voice That was a wonderful idea. Colombia needs peace. We have lived through lots of pain and the death of many of our innocent compatriots. It is not fair, we don't want more wars, we want peace.....I dream of a great Colombia, as a haven of peace and tranquility. Very positive for our country and to change the real imagery all of us those who love our country! share this article and, of course, the video with the song which is an example of our talent!