International Women's Day 2017

It's hard to believe it was four years ago that we released the recording of "One Woman" - the anthem Hope Sings created for UN Women - at the United Nations on International Women's Day.

Since then, the song has been heard by almost 1.2 million people on-line - plus who knows how many people live, in-person. Every year, women's groups and singing ensembles ask to perform the song, and we are thrilled when they do.

Since 2013, the song has been recorded in Chinese, Arabic and in a Japanese karaoke version. And this year,  the National Orchestra of Chile, led by conductor Alejandra Urrutia, will perform a symphonic version of "One Woman" (arrangement by Ignacio Perez) in honor of UN Women's HeForShe Arts Week.

Today, it is with a deep sense of gratitude that I acknowledge all the collaborators who allowed myself and Hope Sings to do the work that gives us our purpose and joy: creating songs inspired by success stories from organizations/causes that help women and children, songs that inspire people to support this great work.

I want to thank the composers, Graham Lyle and Fahan Hassan, and to our producer, Jerry Boys. Thanks to the people from UN Women who took a leap of faith - Michelle Bachelet, Nanette Braun, Jeca Taudte, Jaya Jiwatram and so many others. Thanks to Microsoft for the financial and technical support - Orlando Ayala, Oriana Spaulding, Alethea Lodge-Clarke.

And thanks to the amazing artists from all around this world who donated their time and talent - Ana Bacalhau (Portugal), Angelique Kidjo (Benin), Anoushka Shankar (India), Bassekou Kouyate (Mali), Bebel Gilberto (Brazil), Brian Finnegan (Ireland), Buika (Spain), Charice (Philippines), Cherine Amr (Egypt), Emeline Michel (Haiti), Jim Diamond, Keith Murrell, Lance Ellington (England), Idan Raichel (Israel), Jane Zhang (China), Maria Friedman (England), Marta Gomez (Colombia), Meklit Hadero (Ethiopia), Rokia Traore (Mali), Vanessa Quai (Vanuatu), Ximena Sarinana and Yuna (Malaysia).

I thank the inspiration that came to me on a playground in New York City (video of the origin story here). 

Most of all, thanks to all the women who inspire me every day, at home and around the world. To you, I say - Shine, Shine, Shine.

One Woman

In Kigali, she wakes up,
She makes a choice,
In Hanoi, Natal, Ramallah.
In Tangier, she takes a breath,
Lifts up her voice,
In Lahore, La Paz, Kampala.
Though she's half a world away
Something in me wants to say ...

We are One Woman,
You cry and I hear you.
We are One Woman,
You hurt, and I hurt, too.
We are One Woman,
Your hopes are mine.
We shall shine.

In Juarez she speaks the truth,
She reaches out,
Then teaches others how to.
In Jaipur, she gives her name,
She lives without shame
In Manila, Salta, Embu.
Though we're different as can be,
We're connected, she with me

We are One Woman,
Your courage keeps me strong.
We are One Woman,
You sing, I sing along.
We are One Woman,
Your dreams are mine.
And we shall shine.
We shall shine.

And one man, he hears her voice.
And one man, he fights her fight.
Day by day, he lets go the old ways,
One Woman at a time.
Though she's half a world away,
Something in me wants to say.

We are One Woman,
Your victories lift us all.
We are One Woman,
You rise and I stand tall.
We are One Woman,
Your world is mine
And we shall shine.
Shine, shine, shine.
We shall shine
Shine, shine, shine.
We shall shine.
Shine, shine, shine.

For you Spanish speakers, readers - with subtitles!

One small thing you can do to support women today is support the work of UN Women by   buying a download at Amazon or iTunes (One Woman: A Song for UN Women).


Greece and WOMEX. What a combo. Warm weather, amazing music, inspiring colleagues. Not enough sleep, but hey - that's what Greek coffee is for.

And how is Greece doing, you may wonder? 25% unemployment. Empty storefronts on every block. Graffiti lambasting Europe for its cruelty. 

And yet...Thessaloniki was anything but a ghost town. The cafes were full full full - people sipping coffee frappes until nightfall, drinking raki and beer until dawn. One person observed that when you're unemployed, you can sit in a cafe all day for 2 euros. True. My cab driver to the airport told me that, on average, he nets 10 euros a day, take home. 10 euros a day. 14 dollars. On a great day, 30 euros. Needless to say, I gave him a good tip.

And how was WOMEX? Cool as ever. My favorites?

Idan Raichel and Vieux Farka Toure, jamming away. Magic. More here. 

Idan has agreed to be part of the UN Women theme song. Yay!

DakhaBrakha. "Ethno chaos folk music" from the Ukraine. Three chicks in four-foot-high fur hats, white peasant dresses and harnesses of beads, banging on drums, accordion, cello, singing, birdcalling - you name it. Read more and watch a video here. (there was a guy, too - but I only had eyes for the outrageous women).

Felix Lajko. Genius violin/zither player. Hungarian raised in Serbia. Nickel Creek came to mind (who I loooove).

Makoomba. Rock band from Zimbabwe. Pan-african styles and Tonga rhythms, with some S. African township guitar thrown in for good measure. Man, that lead singer has heart. No idea what he was singing, but he was singing it.

And at the closing ceremony, an award to the man who mobilized music stars around the world to support the Russian punk band, Pussy Riot - Alexander Chepanukhin. Timely and moving.