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NZ and Haitian musicians release charity track

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
NZ and Haitian musicians release charity track

Local and international artsts have come together to produce an exclusive fundraiser track for Haiti charity, the Kenbe La Foundation.

Kenbe La [ken-bay lah] - the Haitian phrase for "never give up", is also the title and theme of the track written in response to work being done to rebuild earthquake ravaged Haiti - namely the work of the very inspirational Emily Sanson-Rejouis, who lost family in the quake and established the foundation to help support schools in the area.

The 'Kenbe La (Never Give Up)' single is a collaboration of musicians: Minuit's Paul Dodge wrote the music and asked Nelson-based MC Luke Epapara (aka The Kurnel MC) to write and perform the verses, while Lisa Tomlins (Fly My Pretties/Fat Freddy's Drop) sings the 'Kenbe La' hook like she was from Kanye West's backing band, adding some haunting harmonies over the French chorus. The track was then mixed by Minuit band mate Ryan Beehre.

"I wondered how they'd go with the languages," says Paul, "But they both nailed it. The chorus is L'union fait la force - unity creates strength, which is Haiti's motto."

They say music is a universal language, and while the new single incorporates three languages - English, French and Haitian Creole - this special track isn't just about raising funds, but also raising hope.

Earlier this year, Paul went to Haiti with fellow New Zealander, Emily Sanson-Rejouis, who had been living in the country when the earthquake hit in 2010. Her husband Emmanuel and two of their young girls were killed when their apartment collapsed in the quake.

In response, Emily set up the Kenbe La Foundation to help support schools for children - children who would not normally have the chance to learn to read or write.

MC Luke Epapara, a Dad himself, says, "I do everything in my power to give my kids the best opportunities they can have - so when I was asked to do this it made perfect sense and I jumped at it."

After hearing Emily's story, popular Haitian musician Mika Ben agreed to guest on the track.

"We're stoked to have Mika Ben. He's a big deal in Haiti!" says Paul.

All the artists volunteered their work, with the aim of getting a very important message across - where there is life, there is hope. As one lady on the streets of Port-au-Prince told them: "Yes we have had destruction - but also Haiti has life here. We're still alive. We want to live."

And why Haiti? "It's to support a sister - she's doing incredible work," say the artists.

Emily Sanson-Rejouis says she loves the track and feels honoured that such highly-regarded musicians have created a song for the Kenbe La Foundation.

"The song is really inspiring," she says. "It sends a message of unity and hope to the youth in Haiti and I also think people across New Zealand will relate to it with the devastating earthquake in Christchurch. The first lines of the song really ring home,..Listen.. this could happen to your kid."

The track is available to download from as well as all digital stores.

Follow the story at, take inspiration, pass on the link, and feel good about making a positive action happen in the world - Kenbe La!

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