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Musicians Tell Central African Republic It's Time For Peace


Central African Republic has a new interim president, and she is pledging to reunite her divided nation. It won't be easy to end months of interreligious violence and anarchy. The Senegalese singing superstar Youssou N'Dour hopes things work out. He's teamed up with an artist from CAR to record a song for peace. Ofeibea Quist-Arcton reports.

YOUSSOU N'DOUR AND IDYLLE MAMBA: (Singing in foreign language)

OFEIBEA QUIST-ARCTON, BYLINE: Senegal's Youssou N'Dour is Muslim. Idylle Mamba is Christian. She comes from Central Africa Republic's capital, Bangui. Her city has witnessed some of the most bitter fighting between Christian vigilante groups and mainly Muslim former rebels who backed a coup last year. The move led to clashes in which thousands of people have been killed, and hundreds of thousands of civilians displaced. N'Dour and Mamba have joined forces to tell CAR in song it's time for peace. Youssou N'Dour.

YOUSSOU N'DOUR: Those image we get from Central Africa really touched us. And I say maybe we can use the music to talk to them. And music is more faster than, you know, a lot of things. And I have this inspiration, this little melody, work with my friend here, Idylle, to try to talk to the Central African people, to tell them, oh, stop that. This is really something very bad for the country, very bad for the continent.

MAMBA: (Singing in foreign language)

QUIST-ARCTON: N'Dour and Mamba tell the BBC they want to promote international solidarity and togetherness among all communities. Mamba says she may be Christian, but she grew up with Muslim neighbors, and her sister is married to a Muslim. What's most important, she says, is for us to forgive. We must all try to forgive in Central African Republic.

MAMBA: (Singing in foreign language)

QUIST-ARCTON: Ofeibea Quist-Arcton, NPR News, Accra.

MAMBA: (Singing in foreign language)

INSKEEP: This is NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Ofeibea Quist-Arcton is an award-winning broadcaster from Ghana and is NPR's Africa Correspondent. She describes herself as a "jobbing journalist"—who's often on the hoof, reporting from somewhere.