PREMIERE: Tanzania Albinism Collective Share “Life is Hard,” from “White African Power”
Recorded on the remote island of Ukerewe, in Lake Victoria.
In East Africa, being albino is virtually life threatening. The persistent belief that those with the condition are in fact demons with magical powers has led to their being hunted, murdered, and dismembered. Many albino women are raped by men who believe it to be a cure for AIDS. Tragically, many parents who give birth to albino children abandon them to the island of Ukerewe, on the Tanzanian side of Lake Victoria. There, an organization called Standing Voice works for their social betterment.
Producer Ian Brennan traveled to Ukerewe to put on a songwriting workshop, encouraging the albino community to put their grief to music. It’s a strategy for aid that Brennan previously employed on the Zomba Prison Project in Malawi, where he worked with inmates in a woefully overcrowded prison while also teaching violence prevention courses to guards and prisoners. While many albinos on Ukerewe are marginalized to the point of virtual muteness, songwriting brought something out of them and allowed them to communicate the profound loneliness and anxiety of their position.
Brennan recorded the results, and in June, Six Degrees will be releasing White African Power under the name Tanzania Albinism Collective. Today, we’re premiering the album’s opening track, “Life is Hard.” That title’s plainspoken weariness is reflected in the song’s vocal melody and underscored by a simple, slightly dissonant backing track that sets the tone for what’s to come.
You can give “Life is Hard” a listen below, and check out a quick teaser video about the project.
White African Power is out June 2 via Six Degrees.