Last weekend, following the 25th Annual Stellar Awards ceremony held in Nashville, Tennesee, Kirk Franklin banded together a group of gospel music artists billed as Artists United for Haiti to record “Are You Listening: A Love Song For Haiti.” The single was immediately made available for sale on the internet. None of the artists charged a fee to participate, and all net proceeds from the song will be donated to Haiti Earthquake Relief Efforts.
The touching ballad speaks of the helplessness one might feel watching the news of the tragedy unfold from so far away, but assures that help is on the way. The chorus rings passionately, “Is there anybody out there listening? And does anybody know my name? No, my friend we were not there, but we’re here and we care, and yes, we feel your pain.”
“Are You Listening” premiered on the Gospel Music Channel earlier this week. But just in case you missed its debut, you can view the official music video online here:
Among the artists who contributed their gifts to the recording of “Are You Listening” were Yolanda Adams, Jeremy Camp, Shirley Caesar, Dorinda Clark-Cole, Natalie Grant, Fred Hammond, Tamela & David Mann, Mary Mary, Donnie McClurkin, Bishop Paul S. Morton, J. Moss, Smokie Norful, Marvin Sapp, Karen Clark-Sheard, Kierra “KiKi” Sheard, BeBe Winans, CeCe Winans and Marvin Winans.
The song gets support from an an all-star choir which includes Shari Addison, Kathy Taylor Brown, John Gray, Bishop Darryl Hines, Stephen Hurd, Karima Kibble, Judith McAllister, Nicole C. Mullen, Jessica Reedy, The Neville Sisters, Troy Sneed, Micah Stampley, Melinda Watts, and Brian Courtney Wilson.
Strictly from a music lover’s perspective, it’s hard to ignore the treasure trove of amazing talent assembled for this effort. The vocal arrangement alone is fairly astounding. Too many times, a song with solely a pair of dynamic voices can turn into a competition for who can deliver the impressive squals and runs that make Gospel audiences go nuts. But even in a room filled with voices that are known to blow off rooves individually, no one artist dominates or steps on another.
In addition to the African-American gospel artists that most people are familiar with, it’s great to hear deftly-placed contributions from CCM artists as well. Established alterna-rock worship leader Jeremy Camp and the soulfully big-voiced Natalie Grant deliver heartfelt leads and help underscore that empathy for Haiti runs just as strong for people without brown skin.
Just because our lives in America by and large weren’t affected directly by the emergency in Haiti doesn’t mean we should allow ourselves to turn a blind eye to what’s happening. I’m certain the American public feels brow-beaten by now. Every time you turn on the radio, TV, or internet, there’s another desperate plea for help. However, the simple fact is that the situation is as grim and desperate as described. And depending on where you got your information, it’s worse. But again…
Please understand that $5.00 means so much more to a devastated and hungry family in Haiti than it does to a struggling student in the US who can afford the luxury of a cell phone.
Even if you can’t give money, time, or goods to the cause, you can still put your hands together and pray. James 5:16 says “the effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much” and you know someone’s life is waiting for your intercession right as you’re reading this. In whatever way you choose to help, please don’t forget the people of Haiti.
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