Damon Albarn on Band Aid 30: ‘There are problems with our idea of charity’

Blur frontman questions whether the project patronises Africa

Damon Albarn has questioned whether Band Aid 30 is a suitable way of tackling the Ebola crisis, suggesting that the project may patronise the whole of Africa.

A number of high profile pop stars and musicians are involved in the charity single including Chris Martin, Ed Sheeran, One Direction, Rita Ora and Jessie Ware. But in an interview with Channel 4 News, the Blur frontman was critical of the project, asserting that there is a inclination to frame Africa as a place constantly in need of assistance.

“Having been to many countries and gotten to know many people, it always seems that we have only one view of it,” said Albarn, who gave the interview alongside collaborator Afel Bocoum. When the Malian musician revealed he’d never heard of Band Aid, Albarn remarked, “There’s also this assumption that in Africa everyone knows what’s going on.”

He continued, “Our perspective and our idea of what helps and our idea what’s wrong and right are not necessarily shared by other cultures. There are problems with our idea of charity, especially these things that suddenly balloon out of nothing and then create a media frenzy where some of that essential communication is lost and it starts to feel like it’s a process where if you give money you solve the problem, and really sometimes giving money creates another problem.”

Albarn also suggested that the Band Aid 30 artists would benefit from travelling to Africa themselves: “All those people who are making that, taking that afternoon out of their schedules, go to Africa, experience it, feel that sense of magic and maybe have a different attitude to life when you come back.”

The 46-year-old gave the interview ahead of last night’s (November 15) performance at the Royal Albert Hall, where he was joined onstage by Bocoum and Madou Diabate, as well as Blur bandmate Graham Coxon, De La Soul, Kano, and Brian Eno.