Finding my map within Africa’s greater one by Nelly Furtado

Nelly Furtado performing in 2008 in Poland. - I decided to give the $1-million to Free The Children, but wanted a plan that would include the people of Libya. | AP

Last January, I was invited to Africa. Somehow, I knew it was time to come home.
While the people, the places left such strong impressions, the hope I left Africa with was more profound than anything else.
I learned so much about community, spirituality and, of course, song and dance, African rhythms, and the sustainable work Free The Children does in true partnership with communities in Kenya and worldwide – Sierra Leone, India, Ecuador, China to name a few.
I learned how one country’s political realities can affect all the nations sharing Africa. I learned about Moammar Gadhafi as a leader and dictator. I felt so ignorant but, at the same time, enlightened. My thoughts immediately went back to a concert I performed as part of a celebration thrown by someone described as an “oil sheik” in Italy in 2007. That night, I met a “son of Gadhafi” who had helped pay for the celebration. I didn’t know much about Libya then; in Kenya, I began to learn more.
A month or two after I returned from Kenya, as the Libyan civil war heated up, I found myself, BlackBerry in hand at 3 a.m., unable to sleep: In Libya, people who rightly believed the cost of freedom was worth it because the benefits were tenfold, were being killed; people were living things I couldn’t truly fathom, but I could feel the weight of them inside my heart. At that moment, in an act of solidarity, I sent a tweet about my intentions to return money I felt wasn’t truly mine.
I decided to give the $1-million (what I was paid to cover all expenses for the 2007 concert) to Free The Children, but wanted a plan that would include the people of Libya. I decided on a sustainable program, rather than immediate aid, inspired by the work I had seen in action with Free The Children in Kenya. I wanted to support women’s rights in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) regions of Libya, Egypt, Tunisia and Gaza. I wanted to help educate girls so they might have a place in the new democratic regimes in MENA postrevolution – a revolution many women helped spark.
I also wanted to build another school in Kenya like the beautiful Kisaruni school where I spent life-changing days – a school that would support brave girls like the ones I had met, girls so confident they put my 14-year-old self to shame. I wanted and needed the help of youth across North America, so I’ve set up a matching program through Free The Children to inspire youth to do more fundraising and believe in the “power of we.”
I vividly remember my life-changing experience at the concert in Italy in 2007. Then, it felt like a story I could tell my grandchildren about the brutal but very real divide between the extremely wealthy and the extremely poor. I felt I had seen the “other side” – an “other” rarely known by someone with my humble beginnings. At the time, I felt like a servant performing at an invisible king’s court, realizing for the first time just how common the role of “entertainer” is in the grand scheme of the ages. That said, I realized my price tag for the evening would have raised the eyebrows of my music conductor grandfather in the Azores. Now I understand that the feeling in the pit of my stomach was just the toll of that amazing bell we all have within that signifies a new journey in life. Then, the sound was faint. Today, it rings louder than ever in my heart. It’s so ironic that I went to Kenya intending “to help” and left as the one who received the most charity.
The world is and always will be complicated. Moral dilemmas will continue to be present in my career, which attempts to merge corporate and emotional needs on a daily basis. The world is changing faster than we can handle. Money rules.
Yet, in that rural town in Kenya near Kisaruni High School, God rules. I now laugh at the phrase “Third World,” because the “Third World” is so full of human triumph. In many ways, it is the heart of the spiritual world. A name like “third eye world” would be more appropriate. It is the world that contains the people who will save us with their proximity to God, primordial relevance and belief in the human senses and sensitivities – the very things that make us vital as humans and will ensure our survival. We just need to wake up and start joining forces.
The student of life within me has been summoned and humbled. When roll call is read, I will forever be present with a recent map in hand – a map that I hope, one day, will be void of the borders that separate us.
Nelly Furtado is a Canadian mother, singer-songwriter, record producer and actress.
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Con el dinero que recibió de Gadafi, Nelly Furtado construirá escuela

La canadiense Nelly Furtado anunció hoy que donará un millón de dólares que recibió en 2007 por actuar frente a la familia Gadafi para construir una escuela de niñas en Kenia.

La cantante informó sobre su decisión durante un acto celebrado hoy en Toronto para la ONG canadiense Free the Children.
Furtado también anunció que igualará cada dólar donado por particulares para construir la escuela en Kenia hasta un máximo de 500.000 dólares.
En febrero de este año Furtado anunció a través de su cuenta de Twitter que donaría el millón de dólares que cobró hace cuatro años por actuar en Italia a petición de la familia del líder libio Muamar el Gadafi.
“En 2007 recibí un millón de dólares del clan Gadafi por actuar durante 45 minutos ante invitados en un hotel en Italia. Voy a donar ese dinero”, dijo entonces la artista.
Furtado realizó el anuncio en febrero después de que la revista estadounidense Rolling Stone reveló los nombres de artistas que durante los últimos años recibieron dinero para actuar de forma privada ante los miembros del clan Gadafi, entre ellos Mariah Carey, Beyoncé, Usher y 50 Cent.
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Resumen de We Day 2011 - Nelly Furtado

Hoy, en el Air Canada Centre de Toronto, el primero de los seis conciertos que forman parte del Tratado de Libre Los niños nos Día se llevará a cabo y nuestras Nelly estará allí para actuar frente a una audiencia de 18.000 personas. Se dice, o mejor dicho, Nelly declaró que le gustaría trabajar con el Coro de Niños de Kenia, que será uno de los muchos presentadores de la noche y permanecerá en Toronto por un tiempo. Durante su estancia se podría incluir en el estilo de vida, e incluso realizar con ellos en el día nos las canciones que se mostró como un montón: Impotente y probar.

Fotos en:

Powerless en vivo con remix africano:

Un vídeo de la conferencia de prensa:

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Donald Glover está trabajando con Nelly Furtado

Donald Glover is mostly known for his acting in “Community” (NBC), but he also is an Hip-Hop artist. Ryan Seacrest leaked some informations about him working already on his debut with artist like Jay-z and Nelly Furtado. Audio File:

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Nelly Furtado Free The children Campaign

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Nelly Furtado hears the ‘ancient tones’ of African music

During a journey to Kenya for the CTV documentary, “Nelly Furtado: The Road to Kisaruni,” the Canadian musician met face-to-face with girls starting down the path of higher learning -- and came away from the experience with her outlook on life changed.

While Nelly Furtado has been asked to travel to Africa before, the singer tells that when Artbound came calling, it was finally the right time to go.

Artbound, a non-profit organization volunteer arts organization associated with “Free the Children,” travelled with Furtado and a CTV crew for the opening of an all-girls secondary school in the Maasai Mara region of Kenya.

“I felt like my perspective was in the perfect place to be there and really experience it and engage,” says Furtado.

“There was a lot of joyful tears shed in Kenya. I’ve never felt such joy. We had this jam, everyone was dancing and singing all the African songs they learned, it was literally like bliss.”

In the Maasai Mara, fewer than five percent of girls attend high school, with even less attending university after.

Hailing from Victoria, British Columbia, Furtado is a world-wide superstar that has sold over 20 million records, known for her hits “I’m Like a Bird,” “Maneater,” and “Powerless.”

Like many musicians before her that have been inspired by the African continent, Furtado discovered the appeal of their indigenous music and plans to incorporate the Kenyan Boys Choir into future recordings.

“Going there and hearing the melodies and learning African songs was haunting,” says Furtado.

“I felt like I was hearing ancient tones and references, rhythms.”

Not only was Furtado inspired musically by the trip -- she also was inspired personally.

“You go to a small place in the middle of Kenya, and all these people are working together to make their community better, all these people grounded in this spiritual reality, love and goodness, hope and hard work -- you have hope for the world,” says Furtado.

“I feel like, ‘Humanity, we haven’t ruined ourselves.’ Half the world is still in touch with what it means to be human. You realize that if you can help the people who haven’t been given the opportunity, that you can help each other, and they can teach us too, a lot.”

Furtado also confronted some of her own misconceptions while on the trip.

“I didn’t realize there was such a juxtaposition of modern technology and the old ways. People preserving traditions, but at the same time, embracing new ones… the mothers in the communities, they’re paying for their aluminum roof with their cell phones, but still wearing traditional Maasai clothing, beading, performing traditional tasks at home.”

“Nelly Furtado: The Road to Kisaruni” airs Saturday, Sept. 10 at 7pm on CTV. Furtado will also perform at the 2011 We Day event on September 27 in Toronto. The event will also feature performances by City and Colour, Classified, Kardinal Offishal, Nikki Yanofsky and Shawn Desman.

CTV Heads to Kenya with Nelly Furtado for the CTV Original Documentary NELLY FURTADO: THE ROAD TO KISARUNI

August 24, 2011

CTV Heads to Kenya with Nelly Furtado for the CTV Original Documentary NELLY FURTADO: THE ROAD TO KISARUNI

– CTV celebrates back to school with a story about education, overcoming obstacles, the power of music and the strength of women –

Nelly Furtado: Road To Kisaruni chronicles Furtado’s life changing experience in Kenya and airs Saturday, September 10 at 7 p.m. EDT on CTV
TORONTO, ON (August 24, 2011) – Grammy and Juno Award winning pop star Nelly Furtado joins non-profit volunteer arts organization Artbound on their first assignment to build Free The Children’s first all girls secondary school in the Maasai Mara region of Kenya. NELLY FURTADO: THE ROAD TO KISARUNI chronicles Furtado’s life changing experience in Kenya and airs Saturday, September 10 at 7 p.m. EDT on CTV (check for local listings).

The path to education is not an easy one in this part of the world. In the Maasai Mara high tuition costs mean that less than five percent of girls will attend high school and only one girl a year will then move on to university. The girls, as their mothers know, are the leaders of tomorrow and educating them is a top priority.

“I know that this school represents something magical,” said Furtado in the documentary. “It’s kind of a pioneer project in a way because it’s the first school of its kind in the area and that’s very special.”

NELLY FURTADO: THE ROAD TO KISARUNI introduces Furtado and viewers to the 40 girls admitted to the school and also to Susan, the girl who was number one on the waiting list. Vibrant, hopeful, eager and bright, Susan dreams of being a doctor; her meeting with Furtado delivers an unexpected connection and Furtado is genuinely touched by her strength and desire to learn. Through Furtado’s personal experience, her candid commentary, and genuine heart break, she shares with viewers a story about hope, and uses music as a common denominator between cultures and the strength of women as they champion their families and work for change for their daughters.

“It was just extraordinary to be in Kenya and to meet all the people and to share music and celebrate art,” said Furtado. “I’m completely changed and really excited about the future. It’s made me want to try harder as a woman, as a person, as a mother and as a citizen of the world.”

NELLY FURTADO: THE ROAD TO KISARUNI is produced by CTV and narrated by Nelly Furtado. Karen Barzilay is the Executive Producer. Bongo is Director of Photography. Concept by Shayna Haddon. Rick Brace is the President, Specialty Channels and Production, CTV. Mike Cosentino is Senior Vice-President, Programming, CTV Networks. Phil King is President, CTV Programming & Sports.

Artbound is a non-profit volunteer initiative in support of Free The Children. It was founded by a group of passionate individuals who believe that the arts have the power to create sustainable social change in the lives of underprivileged children. The Artbound team will travel to developing countries annually and build schools that are dedicated to the arts – institutions that will be fully integrated as part of existing Free The Children programs aimed to combat child poverty. The second edition of The pARTy is set to take place on September 23rd this yearto build on the $150,000 already raised towards the Kisaruni Girls Secondary School. The goal is to raise an additional $300,000 over 2 years - $60,000 of which will go back to Kenya to build 2 more classrooms and launch a series workshops that will provide the girls with exposure to various forms of art. The remaining $240,000 needed over the course of the next two years will go to fund the initiative in India, with the goal of launching a full infrastructure in Rajasthan. For more information on Artbound please visit

Free The Children is the world's largest network of children helping children through education, with more than one million youth involved in innovative education and development programs in 45 countries. Founded in 1995 by international child rights activist Craig Kielburger, Free The Children is a charity and educational partner. Its domestic programs educate, engage and empower hundreds of thousands of youth in North America, the UK and around the world. Its international projects have brought over 650 schools and school rooms to youth and provided clean water, health care and sanitation to one million people around the world. Free The Children has a proven track record of success. The organization has received the World's Children's Prize for the Rights of the Child (also known as the Children's Nobel Prize), the Human Rights Award from the World Association of Non-Governmental Organizations, and has formed successful partnerships with leading school boards and Oprah's Angel Network. For additional information, please visit

CTV, Canada’s Olympic Network, is also Canada's largest private broadcaster. Featuring a wide range of quality news, sports, information, and entertainment programming, CTV is Canada’s most-watched television network and lead broadcaster of the London 2012 Olympic Games. CTV is a division of Bell Media, Canada’s premier multimedia company with leading assets in television, radio and digital. Bell Media is owned by BCE Inc. (TSX, NYSE: BCE), Canada’s largest communications company. More information about CTV can be found on the network’s website at

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For more information, please contact:
Emily Young Lee, CTV, 416-384-3004 or emily.younglee@ctv.caLindsay Mattick, Artbound, 416-644-4123 or
Tamara Kaftalovich, Free The Children, 416-888-8536 or

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