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Quincy Jones produces Arabic charity record

From Rima Maktabi, CNN
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Inside the Bokra studio
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Single is an Arabic version of Jones's song "Tomorrow"
  • Project aims to raise money for arts and culture scholarships
  • It was recorded at the Mawazine Festival in Rabat, Morocco

Rabat, Morocco (CNN) -- Quincy Jones has joined some of the biggest names in Arab music to produce a charity single aimed at helping a new generation of artists and musicians.

Jones, the veteran music producer who has worked with Michael Jackson, Ray Charles and Frank Sinatra, worked on the single called "Bokra" -- an Arabic version of his song "Tomorrow (A Better You, A Better Me)" -- with Badr Jafar, an Emirati social entrepreneur.

The artists involved include Lebanese star Majida El Roumi, who wrote the lyrics; Moroccan-born Grammy-winning producer RedOne, who co-produced the track with Jones; Kadim Al Sahir, from Iraq; Saber El Rebai from Tunisia; Amr Diab, from Egypt and Asma Lmnawar, from Morocco.

It is 26 years since Jones produced the iconic record "We Are The World," which sold tens of millions of copies to raise money for victims of famine in Africa. A contemporary version of the song was also released last year to aid the victims of the earthquake in Haiti.

Badr Jafar, Quincy Jones work together
Bringing harmony through music

Jones, who first toured the Middle East and North Africa in 1953 with the jazz musician Lionel Hampton, said: "I have long been a vocal proponent of music and the arts being a great asset in building bridges between people and cultures."

He added: "I believe that given a choice, people want to live in a world of peace and prosperity, and it is my hope that this song will serve as a clarion call for the people of the Middle East and North Africa who share that desire for peace, hope, unity and a better tomorrow to come together to achieve that dream."

The money raised will help finance educational arts and culture scholarships and projects for children in the Middle East and North Africa.

Jafar said in a press release: "This song comes at such an important time for the Middle East and brings together the region's leading talent to produce a song of inspiration and hope for all.

"There is no better time in the region's history than now for us to be producing a song of this magnitude, and we have the very best people in the industry behind it."

The Arabic lyrics, written by Roumi, are aimed to provide a beacon of solidarity and hope for the region, the organizers said.

I have long been a proponent of music being a great asset in building bridges between people and cultures.
--Quincy Jones, music producer
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RedOne, the co-producer who has worked with artists such as Lady Gaga, Jennifer Lopez, and Enrique Iglesias, told CNN: "It's such an honor to have been chosen by Quincy Jones to join the team and recreate this legendary song.

"We will be trying this new thing, inspire young people, the new generation thinking about peace, thinking about a better tomorrow."

The song was recorded in Rabat, Morocco, during the 10th edition of the Mawazine Festival Rhythms of the World.

Kadim Al Sahir, an Iraqi singer and composer who fled the violence in his own country, said the project was an opportunity to bridge divisions across the Middle East.

Al Sahir said it's not the first time he's worked with Jones, adding "he called me personally to ask for my help in doing the song in Arabic with an Eastern melody. I was happy then because I enjoy songs composed for humanity."

The team is also creating a music video for the song, as well as a behind-the-scenes documentary that will trace the "Tomorrow/Bokra" project, incorporating footage from various countries in the region where artists involved will be performing.

"Bokra" is expected to be released after Ramadan, which will run throughout August.

 
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