Emeli Sandé’s sour note over Band Aid lyrics

Emeli Sande arriving for the recording of the Band Aid 30 single in Notting Hill, London. Picture: PA
Emeli Sande arriving for the recording of the Band Aid 30 single in Notting Hill, London. Picture: PA
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SCOTTISH pop star Emeli Sandé has apologised if lyrics in the latest Band Aid song “caused offence”.

The Aberdeenshire musician, one of many artists who recorded vocals for the latest remake of Do They Know It’s Christmas?, posted a message on Twitter claiming the Band Aid song needs rewriting.

Although the lyrics were changed for the 2014 version, taking out 30-year-old references to the Africa of the 1980s, the singer – who has a Zambian father – said she does not approve of the new version and that a “whole new song” was required.

Sandé also claimed that an alternate version she recorded with Angelique Kidjo, a Grammy-award winning singer from Benin, was dropped.

The song became the fastest-selling single of the year after just a day’s sales following its release last week, storming to number one in the charts last night.

But there have been complaints over the song’s content, with some of the lyrics changed to reflect the Ebola crisis in West Africa.

Sandé tweeted: “I’ve been having so many discussions about this all week. Here are my thoughts on the band aid single…”

Her message continued: “Yes, I agree the lyric needs changing. In fact I feel a whole new song is required. Angelique Kidjo and I made and sang our own edits. Unfortunately, none of these made the final cut.


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“Aside from my feeling regarding the lyric, there was no doubt in my mind or heart that this project came from a place of pure and respectful intent.

“Sir Geldof made this clear when he addressed us all: I haven’t heard a man speak with such passion and sincerity in many years.

“I am so proud of my Zambian heritage. No offence or disrespect to the beautiful and prosperous continent was ever intended. In my eyes, this song is specifically addressing a medical crisis, which is very real and in urgent need of awareness and support.

“The response from world governments has been horribly slow and media coverage has been minimal though thousands and thousands are dying.

“I apologise if the lyrics of the song have caused offence. I wish the changes had been kept but that is out of my control. The sole objective is to raise awareness and money to provide medical aid to those suffering the Ebola outbreak, which is being worsened and amplified by poverty. Thank you so much for your support.” The reworked version of Do They Know It’s Christmas? features stars including One Direction, Bono and Ellie Goulding, and is expected to raise millions to help fight the Ebola crisis, which continues to grip parts of the continent.

Chancellor George Osborne agreed to waive VAT on the single’s sales, so every penny will help the charity effort.

But critics including musicians and African academics have criticised the song for perpetuating “negative stereotypes” about Africa.

By yesterday, Band Aid 30’s Do They Know It’s Christmas? had shifted more than 312,000 copies to make it the year’s fastest-selling single, the Official Charts Company said.

The track has outsold the rest of the top five combined and scored the biggest one-week sales since The X Factor’s James Arthur moved 489,000 copies of his winner’s single Impossible in 2012.

Band Aid 30’s feat means it is the fourth time a version of the song has reached number one.


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