Singing for world peace

PUBLISHED : Friday, 11 March, 2005, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 11 March, 2005, 12:00am

Terrorists and the governments of countries that the United States and its allies do not like, beware: I have discovered the ultimate weapon. Inexpensive, light and with mind-altering qualities, it has more effect than bunker-busting bombs, satellite-guided missiles and rocket-spitting helicopter gunships. In short, it has the ability to change nations.

I uncovered the explosive cache a few weeks ago while flicking through the TV channels. Suddenly, like a bolt from above, the screen was filled with the hostile glare of a rapper on a stage. His gold chain glinting and the lights bouncing off his diamond-encrusted crucifix, he was thanking God for giving him the inspiration for his award-winning song. At the advert break, I found that the show was the Grammy awards, the annual prize-giving ceremony of the American Recording Academy.

I am not a fan of rap, nor did I particularly like any of the remainder of the show, apart from a tribute to the late, great rhythm and blues legend, Ray Charles. Later, while listening to my favourite CD, The Carpenters' Greatest Hits, thoughts of the show slipped from my mind.

They were revived yesterday, though, when I learned that a far greater musical extravaganza, the Eurovision Song Contest, was just around the corner - and that lyrics were needed by one of the contestants.

The awards were first presented 50 years ago, and in May, the Ukrainian capital, Kiev, will host the show.

Just months ago, the city was a sea of orange shirts and flags as supporters of then opposition leader Viktor Yushchenko protested against the result of elections they claim were fixed. The so-called Orange Revolution got its way and Mr Yushchenko won a rerun and was eventually installed as president.

Fittingly, given that Ukraine is hosting this year's awards, the song the crowds chanted during their protests - Together We Are Many - became the country's entry, sung by Greenjolly. It includes the lyrics: 'No to falsifications ... no to lies, Yushchenko - yes! Yushchenko - yes! This is our president - yes, yes!

But that did not go down well with organisers, who did not like the political nature of the lyrics, and demanded new words.

The content of previous Eurovision entries has rarely been a problem. Winning songs include La La La, Boom Bang-A-Bang and Ding Ding-A-Dong. Apart from a handful of winners - Lulu, Nana Mouskouri, Abba, Julio Iglesias and Celine Dion - most have ridden off into the sunset of obscurity.

But whatever the faults of Eurovision, it does demonstrate the power of music and that, in a nutshell, is the crux of my discovery. If 150 million Europeans can stop what they are doing one night a year to simultaneously tune in to a television show full of forgettable singers and songs with silly titles, then the formula can be applied globally to bring peace to the world for at least one evening.

With that in mind, I spent last night writing new lyrics for Greenjolly in the hope that the inspiration for the Orange revolution will sweep the world. The words to the retitled A Song of Peace go thus: Sha-la-la-la-la, my heart goes boom, when in my sleep, the clouds like sheep, bounce and bleat, for peace. Yes! Yes! Yes!'

Okay, so I admit that it is not quite Stairway to Heaven, but with a sexy guitar riff and Jennifer Lopez on backing vocals, it is sure to make the nasty people of the world stop what they are doing and gravitate towards their TVs.

That is when the combined police forces of the world can descend and, without a shot being fired, round up the lot and lock them away forever.

Keep my contribution to world peace in mind when I am collecting my Eurovision songwriters' award. You will be able to recognise me by the thick gold chain and diamond-encrusted crucifix around my neck.

Peter Kammerer is the Post's foreign editor