CD review: Viva East Timor!



Viva East Timor!

Liberdade Viva East Timor
Various artists
Mushroom Records

Review by Mark Abberton

In 1975, Paul Stewart's brother was killed in East Timor, along with four other Australian journalists. His inspiration for helping to coordinate a third benefit album for East Timor is summed up in his words, "Nothing will ever bring him back, but I now have East Timorese brothers". This compilation of mainly Australian artists aims to help our East Timorese brothers and sisters by celebrating their independence and, most importantly, giving them money.

Inside the booklet, which is included with the CD, is an excerpt from Xanana Gusmao's address to the CNRT's (National Council of Timorese Resistance) Strategic Development Conference in Melbourne in April. He comments: "The cornerstone of rapid and efficient development of any country is the cultural strength of its people ... our new East Timor should ensure education is compulsory and free for all ... we need to provide free health assistance to the whole population."

In light of the number of aid agencies in East Timor which are neither controlled nor operated by East Timorese, it's heartening to find a project which donates all its funds to East Timorese organisations. Forty-five per cent of the money from sales of the CD will go to the CNRT Council of Emergency, another 45% to the Oan Kiak Trust, established in 1994 to fund the education of orphans in East Timor, and 10% to Buffalo Music, an account created in 1999 to fund new buffaloes for East Timorese farmers.

Midnight Oil begins the album with "Say Your Prayers". The Dili All Stars (who helped coordinate the album) then perform the title song, "Liberdade".

Other standout songs include two remixes, "The Cruel Sea's Runnin'" (the Paul Mac remix) and Spiderbait's "Dinnertime". P'Nau's "Journey Agent" is a very groovy addition and Yothu Yindi's "Our Land" is a stark reminder of how close the struggle in East Timor is to our own hearts in Australia.