Namibia: Shishani and Teis Semey - Let's Fight Sgbv

Vocalist, songwriter, speaker and visual anthropologist Shishani recently teamed up with 17 other artists as part of a new album titled 'Vigil'.

The album is a collaborative project by several international artists in response to the recent murder of Salvadoran Victoria Salazar in Tulum, Mexico. Salazar died after a Mexican police officer kneeled on her neck.

The album features a selection of 18 artists from 11 countries spanning four continents, who came together to help create awareness of gender-based violence and police brutality.

Alongside Shishani, some of the artists who bring their talents to the album are Chiquita Magic (Canada/Columbia), Henry Solomon (the United States), Teis Semey (Denmark), Marta Arpini (Italy), Guy Salamon (Israel), Young Woo Lee (South Korea), Vera Morais (Portugal), Hristo Goleminov (Bulgaria), Fuensanta Mendez (Mexico) Gabriel Milliet (Brazil), Jort Terwijn (Netherlands) and Brodie Jarvie (UK/ Scotland).

The compilation was organised by Teis Semey, a Danish jazz guitarist.

Semey said that the inspiration for the album came to him up one morning when he woke feeling angry about the murder of Salazar and the struggles of women in Mexico.

"In Mexico, women suffer from a higher rate of abuse, police brutality, racism, sexism, harassment and discrimination. This is partially because of macho-culture and systemic oppression. Two-thirds of women in Mexico will experience domestic abuse. Indigenous women are more likely to lose their child at birth," Semey said.

The album is also aimed at raising money for feminist struggles in Mexico, the jazz guitarist explained. All of the funds raised will go towards Fondo Semillas, a non-profit organisation focusing on improving women's lives in Mexico.

Fondo Semillas advocates a country where all women, indigenous, mestiza, black, young, migrant, heterosexual, lesbian, mothers and students can make their own decisions and have access to education, health services, a decent job, justice and happiness.

"At first I wanted to sell my own album to raise money for feminists in Mexico, but then I thought that maybe others also wanted to be part of the project. I made a calling and many artists were excited to take part and help," he said.

Shishani's contribution to the album is her song 'Clean Country', dedicated to the importance of nature. The song was released in 2012.

"Through the song I wanted to let people know that without Mother Nature we have nothing. Since it speaks about Mother Nature, I wanted to link it to how we are mistreating our mothers, women and girls," Shishani said.

Shishani said she decided to be part of the project because she feels that sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) is a serious problem around the world.

"I will support whatever project there is to raise awareness and support the fight against the violence against women. I think everyone should be passionately against SGBV. We all come from women. The way we treat our girls, women, gender non-confirming persons, trans persons, boys and men reflects our values as a society," the founder, lead vocalist and composer of Miss Catharsis, an all-female group, said.

Shishani said that the project also serves as a reminder of how important the arts are in raising awareness on global issues.

"Music is art. Yes, art has the power to raise awareness and touch people in a way that nothing else can. It is a powerful communicator and it makes us feel regardless of our language or cultural difference," Shishani said.

The artist, whose music transcends genres and cultures, confirmed that she is currently working on several new projects that she plans to release later this year.

"I am busy in the studio now recording new solo material. The more time I spend abroad, the more I realise the love and support I have received in Namibia and I can't wait to be back," the artist, who is now based in the Netherlands, said.

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