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Vanity Fair & (RED) Introduce Compilation Of West African Music Curated By Youssou N’Dour
Published June 11, 2007

The exclusive iTunes release of Tracks In The Sand, a compilation of 17 of the best recordings by West African artists curated by the Grammy award-winning African musician, aims to generate money to combat AIDS in Africa.

Today, Vanity Fair and (RED) announced the exclusive iTunes release of Tracks In The Sand, a compilation of 17 of the best recordings by West African artists curated by Grammy award-winning African musician Youssou N’Dour. (The electronic-only release was organized and released by his label, Nonesuch, a division of Warner Bros. Records.) The songs complement Tom Freston’s article in this month’s Vanity Fair about traveling to Mali’s Festival in the Desert. Inspired by (RED), all parties involved with the album have waived their fees so that 100% of the $9.99 sales price from the album will be contributed to the Global Fund to invest in African AIDS programs with an emphasis on women and children.

Tracks in the Sand is part of this month’s Vanity Fair “Africa Issue”, edited by Bono, co-founder of (RED). The issue showcases the beauty of Africa across its people, music, art and culture.

Tom Freston, author of the “Showtime in the Sahara” article in this issue, traveled to Mali’s Festival in the Desert this January. The festival is held in Essakane, 70 kilometers outside of Timbuktu. The festival, widely regarded as the world’s most remote music festival and generally accessed via camel caravans, is three days of the continent’s most inspired music and promising talent. During the festival, over 40 acts performed including Oumou Sangare and Tinariwen, both of which appear on the Tracks In The Sand compilation.

"Just like the Festival in the Desert, this superb collection of songs is a wonderful sampler of the rich mosaic that is West African music. It is, in a sense, a ‘Greatest Hits’ collection of the region, showcasing a wide variety of great musical stylings by some of West Africa's greatest artists. It will not disappoint," said Tom Freston.

The full Tracks in the Sand track list and album is now available at iTunes for download for $9.99 and includes a digital booklet with liner notes by Mark Hudson, author of The Music In My Head. With 100% of the sales price being contributed to the Global Fund, each purchase will generate enough money to provide 83 single-dose (nevirapine) treatments for mother and baby, to prevent the transmission of HIV from mother to child.

Since its launch in the spring of 2006, (PRODUCT) RED and its partners have raised more than $25 million for the Global Fund. More than $11 million of the (RED) money is already at work in Swaziland and Rwanda providing anti-retroviral treatment for HIV positive individuals, funding HIV prevention programs, feeding and educating children orphaned by AIDS, and providing the 12 cent treatment needed to help prevent the transmission of HIV from mother to child. Because of (RED), over two hundred thousand HIV positive mothers in Rwanda and Swaziland have been given treatment to help ensure that their children are born healthy and over 25,000 people are now on lifesaving drugs.