Singing for Africa! University Academy releases charity single

Singing for Africa! University Academy releases charity single

PA 156/11

Pupils from the Nottingham University Samworth Academy are on a mission to top the charts with their own charity single to raise vital funds for an educational project in a poverty-stricken South African township.

The professionally-produced song, Sing Sing, has being released today (Tuesday May 17 2011) on iTunes under the Academy’s own record label Nu-Start. The track and a pop video featuring the NUSA songsters and kids from Mamelodi, was officially launched by BBC East Midlands Today presenter Dominic Heale.

Sing, Sing was written and recorded by a group of students aged 14 and 15, with professional help from record producer Jorden Milnes and celebrates the work of the Mamelodi Trust. The Trust raises money for badly under-resourced schools in the squatter camps in the South African township of Mamelodi near Pretoria.

The NUSA pupils were commissioned to produce the single by The University of Nottingham’s Academy Project Unit which coordinates a wide range of academic and social links between the school and University departments. The University has long-established links with South Africa through its School of Education which fundraises for Mamelodi and operates a graduate teacher placement scheme in the township.

One of the songwriters, 14-year-old Leanne Bradshaw, said: “The Trust showed us some footage of the conditions the people of Mamelodi live in and it was really hard to watch. We were conscious that we wanted to tell people about how much poverty there is in South Africa but also about the tremendous spirit of the people who live there.”

Diquan Kerr, another of the songwriters added: “We hope that we can raise awareness of this issue and entertain people at the same time. If we can raise funds for Mamelodi, it will make a real difference.”

The track is already making waves both in Nottingham and in South Africa where 100 children turned up to dance for the pop video which accompanies the song. Sing, Sing is now available for download on iTunes for just 79p and every penny will go to the Mamelodi Trust.

The music and lyrics were composed by Year 10 students studying for a Music Technology qualification. Their inspiration for the track came from traditional African music famed for its evocative and compelling tunes and rhythm used by many famous stars like Shakira, Peter Gabriel and Paul Simon.

Mamelodi is a former black township with a population of about one million people on the north eastern outskirts of Pretoria. Many people in this area live in small brick built houses, but there are also huge makeshift settlements where people, many of whom are refugees from neighbouring Zimbabwe, have built their own shacks from corrugated iron and plastic sheets. Apartheid was responsible for starving the townships of decent quality education, allowing extreme poverty, high unemployment and a whole range of socio-economic problems which will take many years to eradicate.

Steve Bacon from the Mamelodi Trust said: “We were thrilled to hear about the NUSA single ‘Sing Sing for Mamelodi’ and were so impressed when we heard it for the first time. The Mamelodi Trust is delighted to be working with the students at Nottingham University Samworth Academy on this project which will make a real difference for the schools in Mamelodi. We are sure that the track will be a huge success.”

Head teacher at NUSA, Dave Harris, said: “I know I am biased, but I honestly think this is one of the most catchy songs I have ever heard. To me it sums up everything wonderful about our young people and is a measure of the amazing journey we have all been on at NUSA. ‘Sing Sing’ is not just part of the students’ work, but a real tribute to the passion and enthusiasm of our pupils and staff. I certainly will have this as a favourite on my iPod.”

NUSA’s Project Director at the University, Professor Di Birch said: “It is typical of the generosity of spirit of NUSA staff and pupils that they have taken on the challenge of using their own musical talents to support the Mamelodi project by producing a charity single. Little did I think, when NUSA pupils were being taught to sing in Zulu by South African teacher Thandi last summer, that I would now be able to listen to the pupils’ own uplifting take on the sounds and rhythms of South Africa.”

All the money raised by the sale of downloads of the track by July 31 2011will be match-funded pound for pound by the University’s Development Office.

The track can be downloaded at iTunes

The track can also be downloaded to a mobile by texting ’track 7259 m’ to 80818 or to a PC by texting ’track 7259’ to 80818

Texts cost 1. Mobile downloads may incur additional charges. Check with your operator.

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**The mobile download service is not available on the Apple iPhone, or networks that do not support WAP

You will be sent a text to your mobile phone which will open an Internet connection when you select it. This will direct you to a page where you will see a DOWNLOAD TO PHONE link.

Click on this and the track will start downloading to your mobile.

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