While everyone is doing their part to help the Bahamas with the devastation caused by Hurricane Dorian, R.E.M. has jumped on board to help the struggling chain of islands with the power of music.
On Thursday (Sept. 12), the Georgia-founded band unleashed a previously unreleased song titled “Fascinating.” Proceeds from the track, which is available on Bandcamp, will be donated to the Mercy Corps’ Hurricane Dorian relief and recovery efforts in the Bahamas.
“We first became aware of Mercy Corps around the time of Hurricane Katrina, and we supported their efforts to help in that situation,” bassist/vocalist Mike Mills told Bandcamp Daily.
He continues: “I spend a lot of time every year in the Abaco Islands, which was literally ground zero for this disaster. I know a lot of people who lost everything—their homes, their businesses, literally everything they own is gone.
“I approached [R.E.M. manager] Bertis [Downs], and said, ‘I want to do something as a band to help out however we can.’ He suggested Mercy Corps, and I said, ‘That’s great—they’re a great organization.”
He adds: “I have been fortunate to spend many weeks working and playing in the Bahamas, making friends and lots of music there. It breaks my heart to see the damage wrought by Hurricane Dorian.”
According to a press statement from the band, “Fascinating” was initially set to appear on 2001’s Reveal. Ultimately, the group decided to cut the track from the list at the last minute. The song didn’t stay on the cutting room floor very long. In 2004, they re-recorded the song at Compass Point Studios (now closed) in Nassau with the goal of including it on their 13th studio album, Around the Sun.
Once again, it was omitted from the album because “the lush ballad ultimately didn’t jibe with that spare, atmospheric album.”
But now it looks like the song will be seeing the light of day (officially) and for an excellent cause.
See the band’s full announcement here.
If you would like to help out those affected by Hurricane Dorian, there are a slew of organizations, fundraisers, and charities where you can start. All you really need to do is find one near your location or head on over the Bahamas’ official tourism page where a medley of donates links are available.