Arcade Fire Perform ‘Haiti’ and ‘Wake-Up’ at University of Texas Lecture
For the most part, it was a comparatively quiet week in Austin for Arcade Fire. But just because they didn't perform six showcases in three days at SXSW didn't mean that they were invisible. First, there was the North American premiere of 'Scenes from the Suburbs,' the Spike Jonze-directed short film inspired by their Grammy-winning 2010 album, 'The Suburbs.' Then, they sat in on Woody Guthrie's 'This Land is Your Land' at Bruce Springsteen's high-profile gig.
But the group's most important appearance happened not at a club, but at the University of Texas in Austin on Monday, March 20. Win Butler, Régine Chassagne, Will Butler and Marika Anthony-Shawspoke delivered a lecture on the difficulties faced by Haiti as the island nation struggles to recover from the devastating earthquake that hit in 2010. During the lecture, Arcade Fire performed acoustic versions of 'Haiti' and the anthemic 'Wake Up.'
Chassagne's family fled Haiti in the 1960s, and she feels a sense of responsibility to use her fame for philanthropic efforts.
“As soon as I realized that I could be a real musician, I thought, I have to start doing something for Haiti,” Chassagne said. “My family’s from Haiti, and Haiti is the poorest country in the hemisphere. So it was top on my list.” In the presentation, titled 'Arcade Fire: A Lecture on Hope, Haiti, & Service,' Chassagne and her bandmates advocated for Partners in Health, an organization devoted to improving healthcare in Haiti.
Since 2005, Arcade Fire has donated $1 of every concert ticket sold to Haitian relief efforts, a total of over $500,000 to date, and they performed there in June 2011. 'Haiti,' from their 2004 debut album, 'Funeral,' dealt with the turmoil in her ancestral homeland.
Watch Arcade Fire Perform 'Haiti' and 'Wake Up'