I’ve mentioned the Playing for Change movement before on this blog. They’ve just released their latest episode, “Change Is Gonna Come”. And really, words aren’t needed to describe the power of this production. Instead, I’ll just quote directly from their site, and embed the video below. Past that, we’ll let the music speak for itself.
This performance demonstrates what happens when some of the musicians from “Stand By Me” meet and perform for the first time. This song was recorded live in New Orleans, and features Grandpa Elliot and Clarence Bekker on vocals. Thousands of people witness first hand the soul and conviction of two men who make us all believe a change is going to come.
This is just a quick post – but hopefully one that will grab your attention – to let you know that DAY OF LIGHT, a feature documentary produced by Braddigan, will have its world premiere at Cinequest Film Festival in late February 2009.
Originally featured on this blog back here with the post “The World Needs You. Yes, You“, the images of La Churecastill haunt me.
I’ll repeat what I said in the last post:
If you can help support this cause, in any way… I urge you to do so. Love Light and Melody’s “Donate” page is here (donations are tax-deductible up to 50% of adjusted gross income… and they accept PayPal, Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Discover, or eCheck; so it really couldn’t be easier); you can learn more about them her […] Finally, their homepage, with haunting images, is here.
I’ve embedded the trailer for the documentary below, and you can visit the official movie site here: Day Of Light Movie.
Below that, I’ve embedded a youtube clip of Brad Corrigan (aka Braddigan) talking about his reasons for bringing light to La Chureca.
Recently, State Radio released a video on Youtube of them performing their killer track, “Right Me Up“, live at the Bank of America Pavilion. And it’s a special, special moment. See for yourself below.
Is it any wonder I love this band?
On a closing note: Congratulations to Chad from the band for winning the Boston Music Awards’ Humanitarian of the Year Award. It’s a great recognition of the efforts the band has made so far, but as Chad says, “there’s so much more in store with the Calling All Crows Foundation“. Visit the site, and support. It’s the right thing to do.
You dig music.You must do, if you’re here. And I like to think that most of my regular readers here on Burgo’s Music Blog are a humanitarian bunch. So if you’re into helping change the world, and using music to do so… well, then you might find that the Playing For Change website is one you might want to check out.
Playing For Change is a multimedia movement created to inspire, connect and bring peace to the world through music.
Yeah. That’s one lofty ideal. And they’re going to need all our help. So go ahead and visit.
Playing for Change are using music to connect the world, and are releasing numerous videos of musicians around the world, performing for PFC. You can see most of them on their site, or follow PlayingForChange on Youtube.
They recently released this video of musicians from around the world performing the classic tune, “Stand By Me”. It’s possibly one of the most hopeful videos I’ve watched this year. And when the various South African segments appear? Man… there’s a grin on my face that won’t die down right now.
Watch the video below… and if you can, help these guys out. As they say on the site:
Why join the movement? By joining our multimedia movement, you will be empowered to inspire and improve communities in need around the world through music.
Help us build and connect music schools around the world.
Empower students to create/share their music (student performances will be recorded, filmed and shared with members).
Enable collaboration between students of our new schools and students from established schools in the U.S. and abroad.
See and hear exclusive content from the global music film we have been building since 2001 only available to movement members.
Enjoy live performances by numerous established musicians who are contributing to this music movement (Manu Chao, Keb Mo, Vusi Mahlasela…).
Interact online with those you are positively impacting and others who are making a difference through music (community activity tools coming soon).
Your donations and/or purchases of music, film, and merchandise on PlayingforChange.com and our retail partners (CD/DVD available through Hear Music Spring 2009) will directly help build, equip, staff and improve new and existing music schools around the world.
Thank you for joining (it takes literally under 30 seconds.
We will be in touch soon.
‘Coz you know, we could all use a little hope right now.
Watch and support…
So, a few weeks ago, Diana from MADMUSE got in touch with me to let me know that they were sending me a pre-release copy of Bill Madden‘s new album, “Child of the Same God”. (Sidenote: I love it when overseas agencies don’t mind paying the international postage and send original copies all the way to Australia. It gives me the warm and fuzzies.)
Anyway, sure enough, a week or two later, “Child of the Same God” landed on my doorstep… and I’ve pretty much been playing it non-stop since then. It’s that good.
Now, I’ll be honest; I hadn’t heard much of Bill Madden before Diana got in touch with me. But according to the release that was sent along with the album, Madden is an “activist musician, who’s work is often described at alternative folk“. To be honest, I wouldn’t personally place Bill Madden in the alt.folk scene… at least, not in the sense that regular readers around these parts would expect. But activist? Most certainly. You only have to take one look at his website to see that he wears that side of himself on his sleeve, and it’s certainly reflected in the tunes that appear on “Child of the Same God”.
From the album’s opening track of “Unfair”, it’s clear that Bill Madden is an artist that has something to say… and that outspokeness is continued through each and every song on the album. To some, I can see that being a hindrance; after all, it’s not an “easy” album. That said, those who leave it with a single initial listen are missing out… “Child of the Same God” is the quintessential “replay” album – the more you listen to it, the more it grows on you. In that respect (and also in individual songs, such as “Empire”), Madden strongly recalls – for me, at least – hints of another Burgo Blog favourite, Gregory Page. And those who have read this blog in the past would know that I mean that as high praise indeed.
Overall, the album is really a mixture of poetry, activism, and plain ol’ awesome music… and one that I would highly suggest.
The one thing that makes it hard to review and album such as this is Madden’s sheer versatility: there’s some rock in there, some minimalist tunes, some b;ues-influenced, and even some reggae rythyms in there.
Luckily, MADMUSE has given me permission to post a few songs on here as tasters, so I decided to go with three tunes: the opening track, “Unfair”, title track “Child of the Same God”, and “Bosko and Admira”.
“Unfair” opens the album with the unforgettable lines “Old soul, It’s a slipping down life“… but goes on to proclaim Bill Madden’s ultimate message of fighting optimism, with the refrain:
“Listen to your heart
The road less travelled
Listen to the voice
Life can seem unfair” – Bill Madden, “Unfair”
Title track “Child of the Same God” is perhaps the most accessible of the album’s tracks in terms of mainstream usability; but it doesn’t let up Madden’s questioning of our society for one second. It’s a cracking tune, and one who’s calm strings belie an anger and grief bubbling below the surface.
“Why do we indulge
These messengers of fear
And meekly capitulate
As our freedom disappears
What’s going on
When it’s you against me
Voices of reason
Their silence is deafening
May God’s grace guide our way
May God’s grace guide our way
We’re all one
Child of the same God” – Bill Madden, “Child of the Same God”
The final tune I’m including below is perhaps the most narrative-driven of all the songs on the album: “Bosko and Admira”, which tells the tale of the “Sarajevo Romeo and Juliet” (who you can learn more about here)
It’s a haunting tale, and one you should read.
“On the banks of the river
Forbidden love and
Blood run together
Forbidden love and
Blood run together
Ah, I hear the children play
Ah, Sarajevo Serenade
Ah…” – Bill Madden, “Bosko and Admira”
Ultimately, the lyrics above really don’t do justice to Madden’s music; you have to hear him singing these songs, voice cracking with conviction and passion to truly understand the album. And I suggest you do.
Bill Madden’s “Child of the Same God” is due out Oct 14.
Aah… why not? I’ve already turned this blog into a charity plea by this post earlier today, highlighting the Love Light & Melody Organisation. So, I thought… why the hell not? Let’s make today a humanitarian day here on Burgo’s Blog, and highlight some other causes that I try to support in my own little way. Granted, this usually only amounts to buying merchandise that they have on offer… but still, I like to think every little bit helps. And maybe… just maybe… this blog might be able to play its own part in that “little bit”.
Unsurprisingly, some other organisations that I support were both set up by the boys from Dispatch: namely, the Elias Fund and the Dispatch Foundation.
The Elias Fund – a grassroots-oriented nonprofit organization that provides educational scholarships to the youth of Zimbabwe – came about as a result of Chad Urmston’s time in Zimbabwe in 1994. While there, he befriended a gardener named Elias (who would one day be the inspiration for one of Dispatch’s most successful songs, titled – appropriately – “Elias”). Elias had a dream: that one day, his sons Manuel and Honest would be able to a higher education than that that had been afforded to him. And, from this dream – and Chad’s friendship with the family – the Elias Fund was born.
The Elias Fund is a 501 c(3) non-profit organization that provides hope and opportunity to Zimbabwean youth through education and community development. We believe there is great strength in active community and education and the combination of the two creates positive effects in people’s lives. Through community centers in Zimbabwe consisting of school tutoring, medical aid, sports activities, general life skills, and nutritional aspects we work with primary through secondary level students and identify potential university level scholarship recipients through our programs.
There is a dualistic approach to our work though. We interact with middle school through college age people from across the United States and several other areas of the world to raise awareness and support. Through volunteering, college internships, individual fundraisers, and our high school and college Elias Clubs, our Elias “reps” as we call them work within their local communities to raise support and awareness about our work in Zimbabwe. By empowering the youth of the world who have many opportunities and resources to walk along side those who do not have the same opportunities and resources we not only enable those in need but also give ownership to the “reps” doing the work.
Ostensibly an extension of the Elias Fund, the boys also then formed the Dispatch Foundation. The Dispatch Foundation is, ultimately, about improving life in Zimbabwe.
As someone who was born and raised in South Africa (Zim’s southern neighbour), I had many friends and family in Zimbabwe. These days, I have less.
Although the two political parties have entered into talks recently, trust me when I tell you that all is not yet right in Zimbabwe. Violence is still prevalent, with opposition supporters being threatened with violence, and, occasionally, silenced. Indefinitely.
From the Dispatch Foundation’s last newsletter (which you can sign up for here):
The Latest News From Zimbabwe
The Zimbabwean government has lifted a ban on International Aid Agencies. The Red Cross estimates that there will be 5 million people requiring food aid by January 2009.
The medical system is in disarray. There are no protective gloves, X-Ray materials, antibiotics or plaster for casts. Here is a recent article detailing the crisis
Talks continue on power sharing between the opposition and ruling parties. The opposition has refused to sign a deal that would leave power with the ruling party. Most recent reports say that the talks are breaking down again and that there is a growing lack of cooperation between the two parties
Parliament has opened. The President was heckled during his speech and the opposition won both the Speaker and Deputy positions. The defeat was the first in 28 years; the ruling party has promised “vengeance”
And, from one of the many first hand accounts online: “Food supplies are lower than they’ve ever been. One morning this week in my hometown, four of the five main supermarkets were simply shut – doors closed, bars up, gates padlocked: no notice, no apology, nothing. One supermarket was open. A 250-gram bag of salt cost 150 dollars; a small tin of jam was priced at 250 dollars. A junior school teacher I met this week told me she currently earns 200 dollars a month”
Zimbabwe’s Song is still needed. They need more voices. I don’t often turn this blog to personal/political/humanitarian messages.
But, I hope that you’ll listen to this one. I want to help, and I hope that you do to. So, what can you do? Speak up. Tell one friend. It’s a start.
I’ll be blunt here… I’m not usually a huge fan of Daughtry‘s music. But, in my opinion, anything that references Brad Corrigan‘s “Love, Light & Melody” organisation (see a short appearance around 1:52 below) deserves to be spread around. So, below… the video for Daughtry’s “What About Now?”
Brad Corrigan (who long-time readers of this blog would recognise from past posts as a member of one of my all-time favourite bands, Dispatch) founded the Love, Light and Melody organisation in 2007, after playing a benefit concert in in Managua, Nicaragua in 2005. While on this trip, he was introduced to the severe poverty that exists in the city of Managua. The city’s trash dump is not just a mountain of garbage: it is literally home to hundreds of people who depend on the trash for their livelihood, their food, and their shelter.
As the Love Light and Melody site says:
Love Light & Melody embraces Brad’s powerfully simple concept: “When you walk with someone you’re saying to them, ‘I am with you.’ We can walk in hell and not have fear.” Each year, the organization invites friends, family, and college students to join them for Dia de Luz, to celebrate a profound love conquering hate, a beautiful light overcoming darkness, and a resounding melody breaking silence.
If you can help support this cause, in any way… I urge you to do so. Love Light and Melody’s “Donate” page is here (donations are tax-deductible up to 50% of adjusted gross income… and they accept PayPal, Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Discover, or eCheck; so it really couldn’t be easier); you can learn more about them here; and you can see the trailer for their new documentary film “Dia de Luz” – scheduled for release in Fall 2008 – “which chronicles this epic celebration of life in the trash dump” – here.
Finally, their homepage, with haunting images, is here.
Edit: Well, I see that Ryan has since deleted that post, for whatever reason. So it’s a good thing that – knowing his ficklebloggingways, and his tendency to delete things I reference – that I made a record of it. So read on, for your pleasure below, Ryan’s now-deleted post…
“Never Give Up On People You Love If You Can. Never. And Never Give Up On Yourself If You Can.
That Is The Punkest Shit You Can Do. To Never NEVER Give Up.”
I know that sounds so serious and crazy and weird but I just wanted to say that to you tonight Foggy.
It is a scary weird world, and it get’s so dark sometimes that it seems like it’s safer being unhappy, but you know, when you are happy, when shit is working, sometimes that just means exactly that. Don’t be afraid.
And if you get weirded out because someone or something is making you happy, and that doesn’t seem to you like you are working hard enough for it then, because you spent a life judging happiness by how Little something hurt, instead of How MUCH something made you happy and made you feel whole, just STOP. just stop and think about this, because someone told me this and I just have to say this Foggy.
There is a light and There is a Darkness. And there is a choice.
And every Something in the little universe of yours, of ours, every single something, that is a light. That is another day and a new exchange waiting to happen and a new laugh and a new page and a new chapter.
And even though you may have spent a lot of time very sad, very afraid, There is a Darkness, and it is quiet there and not many if any people are in that darkness, and there might be more days there Foggy, there might be more choices, little choices you can make in the dark, but that is a darkness Foggy. And a darkness can get so dark that it can take you away from the light forever. You might just be squinting sometimes, thinking you are holding on to it but you are moving towards it or away.
SO Foggy, I really really love you and I want to tell you something very important. I am going to go away from that darkness now. Because in that light, I was very afraid, because I was not used to all that growing and all those things happening where you could see, and all the things in me I could see I never saw before, that scared me and I ran from that, I needed to think. I needed to sit on the moon for a second and look at the world and think.
But we have to move Foggy. We have to go now towards where all that love and that light was coming from. Because that is another day.
And we are getting older now Foggy and it is time to start sharing some of the things we learned. Some of those things are things people do not survive or do not walk away from still being able to see what is bright and what is not.
So we have to go now and become a good example and a good friend and good teacher to other people in case they too got lost too in all the quiet darkness.
It is part of the promise we made. To never give up! So we are not going to give up on ourselves or others, and not going to be judging from the dark places, but instead, we are going to listen. and we are not going to judge but instead see. (well maybe we might judge alittle harshly sometimes when we write but that is the style of writing, that font, is call Assholevetica and we helped make that so you know, sometimes it will be a bit saucy,……but still)…..
we are going to pull up the things that kept us in the ground and go over to where that beautiful blinding light is, and not be afraid.
So just stay with me for a minute and close your eyes if it hurts some because it is very bright, but let’s go. Let’s go make another page, Let’s go make another day happen, and Let’s go find out what is in there and when and if we can, maybe we can tell other people about it, so that they can see the choice.
and we must always honor that promise to be good and to be true.
That is how we can help.
So here is to Never Giving Up, and Never Giving Up On Others When They Do Not Give Up On You.
Rest up Foggy, much is about to change and we will need our energy and our strength because letting go for real is about changing that too.
So rest up, and I will wake you when it’s time to go. It is going to bring the best things we have to the people we love and even some people we don’t even know yet.
Thank You Foggy, you are a good listener and a good spirit. I love you very much.