MADRID, Spain – Spanish producer Carlos Jean brought together some of the biggest names in music to use their voices to extend a helping hand toward Haitians reeling from the earthquake that devastated the country on Jan. 12.
“At first, I felt powerless,” said Jean, who is of Haitian descent. “I felt it was the right moment for all of us to do our small part and help out.”
That is precisely how “Ay Haiti,” a solidarity initiative in the form of a musical hymn, was born.
“In just six days more than 30,000 people came together through the Internet,” Jean said. “We had to do something.”
Since its release on April 20, the theme that features Alejandro Sanz, Enrique Iglesias, Miguel Bosé, Macaco, Juanes, Estopa, Shakira and La Oreja de Van Gogh (Van Gogh’s Ear) has become the top-selling song in Spain, according to Sony Music.
Singers Shakira, Juanes and Marta Sánchez, as well as soccer superstar Kun Aguero are featured on the music video for the relief single “Ay Haiti.”
The song’s video, featuring such soccer players as Diego Forlán, Kaká and Sergio Agüero, and actress Paz Vega, also is getting plenty of play nationwide, according to Sony Music.
The solidarity initiative took off when Jean organized some sessions of dance music, known as “mixing for Haiti,” to raise funds for Intermón Oxfam, a Spanish nonprofit organization providing assistance to the Haitian people.
Intermón Oxfam has received around €7million (US$9.3 million) in donations from Spain and more than €75 million (US$99.8 million) worldwide.
“It was a spontaneous call to participate: we skipped all the conventional channels as collaborations normally go,” said David Summers, of the musical group Hombres G (G Men), during the presentation of the project “Ay Haiti.” “Nobody even thought of making a single penny off of this.”
The artists – all of whom were volunteers – adjusted their schedules so they could produce a chart-topping hit for a great cause, Summers said.
The group performed the song live in front of a crowd of 14,000 during “La Noche de Cadena 100,” a huge concert in Madrid on April 24.