Hanson walks to inspire others
By Krista Perry • Oct 28th, 2008 • Category: Arts & Entertainment

Isaac, Taylor, and Zac Hanson sat on their tour bus last Wednesday afternoon in Hartford, Conn., with hundreds of barefoot girls surrounding it, just waiting for the brothers to emerge.

The one-mile barefoot walks before every show on the “Walk Around the World Tour” benefit the AIDS crisis in Africa. For every person that walks the mile with Hanson, $1 is donated on their behalf to the cause. Anyone passionate about the cause—Hanson fans or not—can help just by showing up and walking.

The parking lot behind the venue was littered with license plates from states as far away as Louisiana. Tents were lined against the entrance of the venue.

“We’ve always had really good fans in this area in the country, and since there are so many fans here, we’ve done a lot of shows here,” said Zac. “They are great. They sing every word of every song and even every unreleased song. We love playing for them.”

Taylor said fans from the Northeast are unique.

“They were the first fans to consistently be traveling all over the country to see us,” he said. “They are definitely hardcore fans.”

The guys are also impressed that so many people have been taking it upon themselves to host their own walks, Taylor said.

“There are about 30 or so non-Hanson-led walks scheduled on,” he said. “It is the coolest thing.”

Zac said he feels the message of the walk has been inspiring fans to do work beyond Hanson’s work with Africa.

“I met a girl the other day who was a nurse and her lineage was Haiti,” he said. “So she said she was going to go study in Haiti. That was somewhere we weren’t as focused on, but still, it makes a huge impact.”

Zac said he and his brothers feel like South Africa is the best-off country in Africa, yet they are still struggling with AIDS.

“So maybe if we change the cycle there first, it can be the beacon to change the cycle in other places too,” Zac said.

A song called “Lay Me Down” emerged from Hanson’s trip to South Africa—a song that Taylor said is meant to be a last lullaby to a child who is being buried by his or her parents.

“Every weekend, streets are incredibly crowded as all the families bring their dead to the cemetery,” said Taylor. “Many of the caskets are tiny because it is the children that are dying.”

Taylor said “Lay Me Down” is about the role reversal of parents burying their children.

“The most chilling, heartbreaking reality is the crime against the next generation,” he said. “Everything in nature and in humanity tells you this is not right.”

He also said it was a difficult song to write and record, and feels like it was done right.

“As a parent, you can’t even fathom what it is like to bury a child,” Taylor said. “So the song is like, what would you want to say last to your child?”

The fans waiting outside Hanson’s bus were eager to walk with the band.

“I think we will do walks for as long as it feels like they are serving the purpose,” Zac said. “For us, it is the best way to communicate the message to people.”