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January 7, 2008

The Grammys Recognize Ugandan HIV

Professor Gregory Barz of Nashville, Tennessee’s Blair School of Music empowers Ugandans living with HIV/AIDS in his Grammy-nominated 14-track compilation album Singing for Life, the Nashville-based website The Tennessean reports (Tennessean.com, 1/8).

Subtitled Songs of Hope, Healing and HIV/AIDS in Uganda, the album fights stigma by showcasing the power of song for those affected by the epidemic in the AIDS-ravaged sub-Saharan nation. Produced by Barz, the album features performances by native Ugandans.

“From our Western perspective, being HIV positive carries a huge stigma because it’s sexualized and we can’t, with our puritanical mindset, move beyond that,” Barz told The Tennessean. “A country like Uganda has flipped that on its head. People there sing songs not about being HIV positive but about learning to live positively in the world.”

The website adds that Barz was inspired to create this album 10 years ago while hiking in Central Africa, where he heard both men and women singing songs about proper condom use and the importance of HIV testing.

Singing for Life has been nominated for Best Traditional World Music Album for this year’s Grammys, which will be held on February 10.


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