Backed by a choir, Madonna performed her 1989 single “Like a Prayer” at the “Hope for Haiti Now” telethon on Friday (January 22). She performed in the telethon’s New York studio, as did Bruce Springsteen, Shakira and Sting.
The arrangement of “Like a Prayer” took its cues from the original version’s instructions to “let the choir sing,” with the only non-vocal instrumentation provided by a guitarist and a keyboard player. It was a shining performance, with the choir serving as a perfect counterpoint to Madonna’s vocals.
Last week, Madonna endorsed the relief efforts of the charity organization Partners in Health, donating $250,000 toward their work with victims of the Haitian earthquake. Partners in Health works to bring modern medical care to the world’s poorest communities and it has had a presence in Haiti for 20 years.
“My prayers are with the people of Haiti,” she said in a statement on her Web site. “I can’t imagine the terrible pain and suffering they are experiencing. Sadly the depths of the tragedy are just becoming known and the need for our support grows more urgent with every passing moment.
“I urge all of my friends and fans around the world to join me collectively to match my contribution or give in any way you can,” she continued. “We must act now.”
iTunes customers can exclusively pre-order the “Hope for Haiti Now” full-performance album ($7.99) and the full two-hour video telecast ($1.99). Pre-orders will be delivered in the days following the telethon. Individual audio performances will also be available for purchase and download for 99 cents each in the days following the telethon. Apple, the record labels and the artists will donate their share of the proceeds to Haiti relief funds managed by “Hope for Haiti Now” charities, including the Red Cross and Wyclef’s Yele Haiti foundation. Performances will also be available for purchase in the days following the event through Amazon’s MP3 service and Rhapsody, through distribution provided by INgrooves.