about the author
Jennifer Mizgata has worked with the World Food Programme since 2007. She is based in the Washington office, and works to educate media, policy enthusiasts and people who want to make a difference about WFP's work.
Iranian-born singer Loulou Ghelichkhani, vocalist with Washington DC band Thievery Corporation, believes musicians have a unique opportunity to raise awareness about hunger. She says Thievery’s partnership with WFP is one of the reasons she’s in the band.
WASHINGTON DC – Asked how music can help defeat hunger, Loulou says it’s all about creating more awareness and building an ever wider community of people who want to get the problem solved.
It’s something she relishes doing through Thievery Corporation’s music and live performances, where fans are often shown videos about WFP’s work in Nepal and encouraged to take part in fund-raising initiatives such as the Fill the Cup campaign.
“When you have an audience that is receptive to everything you have to offer, it’s nice to give them something more than music’s good vibrations – something that makes sense in this day and age,” she says, noting that hunger and poverty are a recurring theme in the band’s lyrics.
Loulou has been with Thievery Corporation for ten years, contributing her cool, multilingual vocals to music which mixes elements of dub, acid jazz, reggae, Indian classical, Middle Eastern, and Brazilian with what aficionados call a ‘lounge aesthetic’.
She says the band’s involvement with WFP has impacted her life in many ways. Her eight-year-old daughter is so on board that she and some friends have produced 12 paintings that they aim to sell to raise funds for WFP.
Thievery’s partnership with WFP started in early 2005, when the group’s founders Rob Garza and Eric Hilton (shown above) threw a fundraiser for WFP’s tsunami operations at Washington’s popular 9:30 Club. They have since recorded video and audio public service announcements for WFP, and done other fund-raising events.
“Hunger is something basic, really elemental, that transcends boundaries around the world,” says Garza, who has visited WFP operational sites in Sudan, Kenya and Nepal. “Conquering it is essential if we are going to make meaningful human progress in health, education and economic development.”
“I think compassion for the hungry is universal … and yet the kind of hunger and poverty I’ve seen on my trips with WFP remains invisible to most people living in the developed world,” he adds.