Cornish singers, musicians and entertainers have come together to record Cornwall’s version of the Band Aid charity single ‘Do They Know it’s Christmas’.
The 1984 Christmas megahit ‘Feed The World (Do They Know it’s Christmas)’ has been transformed into ‘Feed Cornwall’, a song and music video to help increase awareness of food poverty in the county where Routenote HQ is based. The single will raise funds to support struggling local families.
Singers in the ‘Chaos Collective’ include Molly Hocking, 2019 winner of The Voice. Local band The Stowes provide the backing track, whilst Bailey Tomkinson and Will Keating, entertainer Johnny Cowling, Josh Curnow, Susie Mac, Matthew Thompson, Rev Andrew Yates and radio presenter Tiffany Truscott, together with staff from the CHAOS Group, complete the Cornish supergroup. And Don Gardner from the Camborne, Pool and Redruth Foodbank appears, having made headlines after featuring on Cornwall with Simon Reeve.
The track sounds great, with impeccable production and gorgeous vocals, and even a bluegrass-style breakdown towards the end. Music producer Gareth Young volunteered the use of the CUBE studio in Perranporth to record the song. ‘I am very proud that the CUBE is supporting this fantastic project,’ Young said. ‘I was delighted to be able to offer our help. I would encourage everyone in Cornwall to watch the video and make a donation to help local people who are in need.’
The song and video came from an idea by The CHAOS Group, who work to support everyone in the Cornish community. The impact of the Covid 19 pandemic has driven many more people to food banks and during the past few months CHAOS staff have provided support to many hundreds of local families. They hope viewers of the video will give generously – funds raised will be managed by Cornwall Community Foundation, to support projects working with families across Cornwall who experience food isolation.
The coronavirus crisis has seen a flurry of creative charitable responses in the county and beyond. As the effects of the pandemic began to be felt in the UK, One and All, a compilation album featuring South West musicians raised money for the Cornwall Coronavirus Emergency Appeal. Back in April – which feels like ten years ago – Routenote supported Kevrenna Records, a label launched to help young Cornish songwriters through the lockdown.
There have also been several celebrity charity singles this year. Radio 1 Live Lounge brought together artists including Dua Lipa to record Foo Fighters’ ‘Times Like These’ from their homes. In November Radio 2 followed suit with the official Children in Need single, with Kylie Minogue, Cher and others covering Oasis’s ‘Stop Crying Your Heart Out’. And Lady Gaga curated the One World: Together at Home concert in support of the World Health Organisation, raising $127m for coronavirus relief. (The less said about that celebrity ‘Imagine’ cover the better, though. It was all Gal Gadot’s fault.)
‘Feed Cornwall’ follows in the footsteps of other updates of the 1984 original Band Aid single. 20 years later it was re-recorded featuring Busted and the Sugababes in what now looks like a time capsule from 2004. Ten years on the song came back again to tackle the Ebola crisis. The Cornish version does not however join in the ‘Do They Know It’s Christmas’ tradition of featuring Bono, who appeared on all three Band Aid singles. But Josh Curnow, who played a Routenote Session back in 2019, belts the famous ‘Tonight thank God it’s them’ line just as well as the Irish philanthropist.