Asian Artists Step Up Fundraising Drive

The Asian music community is raising funds for victims of the tsunami through a variety of initiatives.

The Asian music community is raising funds for victims of the tsunami through a variety of initiatives.

More than 100 Malaysian artists have banded together to record a song, from which they hope to raise more than $130,000 for relief efforts. Called "Suluhkan Sinar" (Shine the Light), the recording was organized by local rap group KRU in less than a week following the Dec. 26 disaster.

The single, due for release Jan. 20 by EMI Malaysia, contains four versions of the song. KRU's Edry Abdul Halim composed the track; his siblings Norman and Yusry produced.

Additionally, one of Thailand's best-known musicians, Yuenyong "Ad" Opakul, has recorded a song to raise awareness of the region's tsunami victims. Titled "Sab Namta Andaman" (Shed a Tear for the Andaman), the song is a reference to the body of water fronting the islands that suffered the most damage.

Yuenyong has also gathered members of the "Songs for Life" movement -- which he headed 30 years ago in opposition to Thailand's military rulers at that time -- to record a charity album to benefit victims of the disaster. The album is expected to be released by the end of January. At deadline, it was unclear what label would release it.

However, a cover of the 1985 international chart-topper "We Are the World" will not be released as a single, as was widely anticipated. The song, retitled "Love," has been recorded in Mandarin and Cantonese by various Asian stars.

According to a Hong Kong Performing Artists Guild official, copyright clearances are holding up the release. The new version will instead be broadcast regularly by regional music TV channels in an effort to encourage people to donate money for tsunami relief.

And in India, Sting will perform two charity concerts to raise funds for tsunami relief. The shows will take place Feb. 4 in Bangalore and Feb. 6 in Delhi. The concerts are being organized by Bangalore-based promoter DNA Networks.

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