New Internationalist


January 2009

by Empty Boat

The opening sounds of rainfall, the cascades of timbales from ‘Agua Pura’ (Clean Water) or even a glimpse at the record label’s name should give the listener a hint of the direction that the 15 musicians of Empty Boat are floating in. Sung in Portuguese and English, flavoured with Brazilian and African rhythms, Waitless is an album with a mission – to alleviate water poverty. As a recent issue of the New Internationalist showed, access to clean water and effective sanitation are fundamental issues in the developing world. With Poo Productions contributing £1 ($1.50) for every CD sold to Pump Aid’s work in Africa, Waitless is an example of music making a direct difference.

Composer ‘Captain’ Dean Broderick began work in Africa 15 years ago, when he took songs about sanitation to villages and townships; since then, he has built close ties to Mozambique, where Empty Boat’s Poo Tour went down a storm. With collaborators – who include Brazilian vocalist Monica Vasconcelos, Mozambique’s Simao Ribeiro Fontes and percussionist Manuel Dihuaia – Waitless has a capable rostrum to beat the drum for its cause. And best of all, even though Broderick and friends are motivated by a serious message, there is nothing po-faced about Poo Productions’ methods.

Louise Gray

This column was published in the January 2009 issue of New Internationalist. To read more, buy this issue or subscribe.

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