International Albinism Community Heals through Music

According to an online article from PRI, there is a terrible injustice being meted out to people with albinism in Tanzania.
Upon birth, their limbs have price tags on them, as their pale skin is considered magical by local witch doctors and bad luck by neighboring communities. The children are often hidden away as they grow up to protect them from being hunted, captured, or killed. With the help of an international music producer, the people of Tanzania are raising their own voices in song to express their hopes and dreams of being accepted and understood.
Albinism is a genetic condition that doesn’t allow the body to produce melanin. The result is pale hair, eyes, and skin that are pigment-free and puts them at the mercy of the sun. Many people with albinism die of skin cancer before they reach 40.

When Ian Brennan, an American music producer, heard of the plight of these people he was determined to make a difference in the best way he knew how—through music.

By encouraging people of the different communities to express their emotions through music, it could help others better understand the lives of these persecuted people. This is particularly poignant, as children and adults with albinism are generally not allowed to sing or dance in their native surroundings.

The musical compositions that were created have been turned into an album called White African Power. The group is called the Tanzania Albinism Collective. The music ranges from haunting solo selections to beautiful multiple voice presentations blending with accompaniments of instruments foraged from around the communities—beer bottles, a bow and arrow, sledgehammers.

A small group of the Tanzania Albinism Collective is now touring Europe and is proud to be bringing a “voice” to people rarely heard outside their own villages. To read more about the development of the project and the people involved, click here.

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