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What a difference a song makes: Thielao

We are excited to report that we are very close to being able to send the first wave of earnings from recording sales back to our partner communities in Senegal. We would like to sell a few more recordings to maximize the funds being sent out. So, this week, we are sharing some insights into how much impact the earnings will have on the members of these small, rural communities. Today we will focus on Thielao.

Local hoddu (a type of lute which is often thought to be a precursor to the modern banjo) player Dema Dia is used to receiving a fee for performing at weddings, baptisms, and concerts. When we were preparing to record in Thielao, the community felt awkward about not paying him for his time during the recording session. After some discussion, the community said that they had been planning on using their earnings to fund a new microlending program. Since Dema is a member of the community he will benefit from the new program and could even apply for a microloan if he needed to. Dema also said that the success of the community is more important than the success of any individual. Through this internal discussion, Thielao uncovered an idea that is at the core of Community Voice International’s work: the music is a community resource–collectively shared through a common culture–and it should benefit the whole community, rather than individual musicians.

Photo credit: Kaela McConnon

As mentioned above, Thielao wants to use its earnings to begin implementing a microlending program. Microlending is a community-driven process whereby the community lends funds to community members to do something important (and profitable) and then repay the funds with a nominal amount of interest. A key goal of Thielao’s microlending program is lending to farmers, allowing them repair equipment (allowing them to increase the amount of crops grown).

Photo credit: Kaela McConnon

If you would like to help support Thielao’s efforts to create a microlending program, please consider purchasing the community’s music below. You can preview the songs and purchase them by clicking on “buy” in the music player or by clicking on the links below the player to purchase the music on iTunes or Amazon.

On jaaraama! Merci! Thank you!

Buy on iTunes
Buy on Amazon

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