"Love from a Short Distance" - Various Artists

Compilation Album

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Full Track Listing:

  • Kakei – Mr Mariano Abrantes Mau Soco (3:27)
  • Love from a Short Distance – Soma, Senator Norris and Fernando Pires (4:33)
  • Timor – Yothu Yindi (3:33)
  • Bread and Circuses – Billy Bragg (4:24)
  • Kay Rala Xanana – Laranguto Cultural Group (3:38)
  • Pure Massacre – Silverchair (4:57)
  • Sad Song – Screaming Jets (2:54)
  • Box – The Mavis’s (3:42)
  • Empires – Snog (4:13)
  • You’re Going Home in the Back of a Divy Van – Painters and Dockers (3:26)
  • Monkey and the Turtle – Christine Anu (3:59)
  • By Myself – Hecate (3:38)
  • Casino Royale – Pray TV (3:17)
  • Suffer Never – Finn (3:56)
  • Timor Will be Free – A Outra Banda (4:22)
  • Set on Freedom – Vika and Linda (4:23)
  • Solta Os Os Prisioneiros – Delfins (4:12)
  • Xavier – Wild Pumpkins at Midnight (4:44)
  • Ndiza Kuhlula – Musiki Manjaro (3:39)
  • Lemorai – Lemorai Group (3:24)

Background Information

East Timor is a tiny country in South-East Asia, north of Australia. The country was taken over by Indonesia, and there were reports of severe mistreatment under the hands of Indonesia. The island nation was annexed in 1976 via military invasion, and in the mid 90s there were several calls for action, asking if the world had forgotten the nation because it was so small. On November 12, 1995 Bono wrote an open letter to the people of East Timor. The letter was as follows:

“On behalf of myself Bono, and the band U2,
on behalf of most scribes and poets, most music,
film and object makers both here in Ireland
and around the world…
Please be sure that we know of your struggle
and that even if we are not allowed to see you
know that we hear of you
and that when we don’t hear from you
we think of you…all the more
There is no silence deep enough
No black out dark enough
No corruption thick enough
No business deal big enough
No politician bent enough
No heart hollow enough
No grave wide enough,
to bury your story and keep it from us…
Love from a short distance…Bono”

The poem had been penned by Bono to commemorate what was now called the “Santa Cruz Massacre”. This event had happened on November 12, 1991, four years prior to Bono’s poem. During the massacre, East Timor pro-independence demonstrators in the Santa Cruz cemetery were killed. At least 250 East Timorese had been killed in the massacre. The poem was taken by Australian techno act Soma, and turned into a song which is used on this compilation, and also lends this compilation its title. The liner notes of the CD discuss the development of the song in detail, “This CD is an outstanding statement of support for the people of East Timor from the best of contemporary western and indigenous musicians from around the world. Inspiration for the album came from Irish rock star Bono of U2 who penned a poem in commemoration of the Santa Cruz massacre. In November 1995 Irish Senator David Norris, attempted to sneak into East Timor to deliver the poem. After several young East Timorese living in Melbourne heard Bono’s poem, it was decide to put some contemporary music behind it and release it in an effort to raise the plight of the East Timorese to an international audience. Once Australia’s techno whiz David Thrussel set and recorded Bono’s poem, the flood gates opened and many bands rang in offering tracks.”

The song is performed here by Soma, and the recording does not feature Bono on any vocals. Instead the song is perfomred by Soma in both English and Tetum (a language of East Timor) and features samples of Irish Senator David Norris reading the poem aloud after failed physical attempts to deliver the letter to the East Timorese people. Bono’s letter to the people of East Timor is also reprinted in the booklet accompanying the CD, along with the poem itself. The proceeds for the album were used for development work in East Timor, and a press release for the album claimed that for every ten copies of the album sold, an East Timorese orphan would gain a secondary education.

East Timor became a soverign state on May 20, 2002, after Indonesia relinquished control of the island in 1999.

Liner Notes

Love from a Short Distance: Written by Bono / D. Thrussell / P. Bourke. ID / Mercury / Island.

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