Wakiso, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Artists and opinion leaders across the globe have embraced the power of music to encourage the public and warn about the dangers of the new strain of Coronavirus’ COVID-19, which is ravaging the world.
In some of the lyrics, artists, both local and international are seeking to lift the spirits of persons fighting a disease, whose genesis, mutation, management and treatment, remains strange to mankind. Some of them carry a spiritual message, so powerful at a time of self-isolation, quarantine and social distancing in response to the spread of novel coronavirus (COVID-19).
One of the first hits was released by musician-turned politician Robert Kyagulanyi commonly known as Bobi-Wine featuring Nubian Li. In their lyrics, the two musicians explain how coronavirus spreads and how it can be avoided.
Coining a catchphrase “Sensitise to sanitise,”The song has since received an international appeal being played across countries like Kenya, the United Kingdom among others.
One of the highlights of the power of music comes from a Georgian family which is using the spiritual song He’s Got the Whole World in his hands, to bring some lighthearted hope to the world by modifying the song into what they have called the COVID-19 version.
In the version, the family mentions how God has the COVID-19 virus in his hands, alongside the Health workers, government officials, the media reporters, the homeschooling parents, the quarantined, panicking shoppers, and jobless workers.
A few days ago, in a similar effort to raise spirits amid the COVID-19 outbreak, US entertainment Mogul Tyler Perry launched the “‘Whole World In His Hands’” Challenge,” a musical collaboration with renowned music stars, with a hope that the challenge will sweep over the world.
Through Instagram, he said that he was trying to do “something to make us all feel a little bit better”. Perry was quickly joined by a collection of famous faces and voices, including Jennifer Hudson, Yolanda Adams, Travis Greene, Mariah Carey, Usher, Queen Latifah, Kelly Rowland, Oprah Winfrey, among others, each taking a verse of the gospel classic.
Ugandan artists, Abdu Mulasi, Mesarch Ssemakula and Moses Ssali aka Bebe Cool have also hit the studios to record more music rallying fellow Ugandans to keep guard of the disease. Bebe Cool who was featuring other famous Ugandan artists like John Blaq, APass, and Fresh Kid, among others, also included emergency numbers which someone can use to call the Ministry of Health in case they suspected that they have symptoms of the deadly disease.
Besides musicians, opinion leaders and politicians are also coining messages of appeal and hope, amind the fight against a disease which is now considered the biggest threat to the Human Race. Johnson Muyanja Ssenyonga, the Mukono south Member of Parliament has also used the microphone to encourage the public to wash hands and sanitize so as to fight the virus.
Ssenyonga explains that since calling up meetings was already banned the other easier way to reach people would be through radio and television which is somehow expensive and having short music audio of less than a minute could bridge the gap.
The songs come at a time when the number of confirmed cases in Uganda is on the rise. Today morning, the number rose from 14 to 18.
Using music to spread disease awareness is not a new thing in Uganda and the world at large. In the late 1990 and early 2000s, a number of Ugandans added their voices to sensitize Ugandans about HIV/AIDS. A lot of songs and poems were released with the most famous one; alone and frightened was sung by Philly Bongole Lutaaya.
In Liberia, President George Weah has partnered with both gospel and local secular singers to produce the anti-coronavirus song titled let us stand together and fight coronavirus.