SwimDrinkFishMusic with Great Lake Swimmers

This week, Great Lake Swimmers released “Ballad of a Fisherman’s Wife” for Swim Drink Fish Music Club.  The charity was developed by Lake Ontario Waterkeeper, and other Waterkeeper organizations in Canada.  Here’s how they describe their mission: “The Swim Drink Fish Music Club brings together artists, activists, and citizens just like you who care about clean water. By celebrating the Club’s exclusive and rare music, you are contributing to the fight for swimmable, drinkable, fishable water in your community.”

As for the Great Lake Swimmers track, here’s a bit about that:

“”Ballad Of A Fisherman’s Wife” was written after hearing, with great dismay, news about the oil spill disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. Most striking and heart-felt to me were the sentiments of outrage from those who made their living in and along these waters, especially the fishermen, and especially their wives. I wanted to comment on this ongoing crisis from that very specific viewpoint.”

You can head over to the site to hear the track, and you can sign up for only $10.  While you’re there, check out more Great Lake Swimmers, and browse around a bit.  I’m sure you’ll find something you’ll like!

Out Now: Dear New Orleans – Benefit Album

Out now, for the fifth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, is Dear New Orleans A benefit album from Air Traffic Control.  The album features Laura Veirs, The Wrens, Indigo Girls, Mike Mills of R.E.M., and dozens of other artists.  Here’s how they describe the project:

Air Traffic Control has been co-hosting artist activism retreats in New Orleans for the last four years. To mark the 5 year anniversary of the storm and floods we thought it appropriate to produce a benefit album. We started by asking the 60 alumni artists who participated in the retreats if they’d be interested in donating a track for a benefit album – we had no idea over half of them would send us music.

We are grateful they did.

Some of the songs that appear on this album are specifically about the city, or the disaster. Others pay a more oblique tribute, and still others are songs that the artist played at the concert we close each retreat with.

Dear New Orleans is a letter of gratitude and promise to the city and her people — to never forget what happened and to continue to rebuild.

You can listen to the album after the jump, and you can find lots more info on the Dear New Orleans website.  I definitely encourage you to do what you can to help out, and to spread the word.

Continue reading “Out Now: Dear New Orleans – Benefit Album”

A Good Cause: The Voice Project

One of the amazing things about music is its ability to bridge gaps and unite people for a common, peaceful purpose.  All too often, when confronted with the great injustices of the world, we find ourselves thinking: “Hey, I’m just one person.  What can I do?”

Well, the Voice Project believes that one voice can make a real difference.  Here’s a bit about the mission:

A peace movement is an incredible thing, people coming together, mobilizing like an army, and in this case armed not with guns but with songs and something more powerful than than any bullet; compassion, the strength of human will, and determination.

For over two decades war has ravaged Northern Uganda. It is Africa’s longest running conflict and it has spread to Southern Sudan and Eastern Congo. Joseph Kony’s LRA has made abducting children and forcing them to fight his chief weapon of war, even making them kill their friends and family members. Many abductees and former soldiers escape but hide in the bush, afraid to return home because of reprisals for the atrocities they were forced to commit.

The women of Northern Uganda – widows, rape survivors, and former abductees have been banding together in groups to support each other and those orphaned by the war and diseases so prevalent in the IDP (Internally Displaced Persons) camps. And they are singing songs. The lyrics let the former soldiers know that they are forgiven and that they should come home. The songs are passed by radio and word of mouth out into the bush, as far as the Sudan and DR Congo. And it’s working. Former LRA are returning and for the first time 24 years the region has a chance at real peace.

The Voice Project is an attempt to support these incredible women and the peace movement in Uganda, and an effort to see how far a voice can carry. And although we are a non-profit, we don’t see what we do as charity, but rather a partnership and an exchange of value. The strength, the message, and the art of these women and their peace movement can benefit the world, and in return we can help spread their message as well as help provide them with basic necessities and the tools to sustain their efforts and themselves. We have two main goals, to AMPLIFY the message in their songs in order to support the peace movement, and to assist them in their efforts to EMPOWER themselves economically in order to better their lives, create real social change, and to sustain peace. Please join us and be a link in this incredible chain that the women have started, help spread the word or donate to the cause.

Music and word of mouth, it can end wars, it can change the world. These incredible women have shown us that. Pass it on.

They’ve worked hard to further efforts to rehabilitate child soldiers, and to bring vocational training to these war-torn parts of Africa.  They’ve also assembled musicians who have raised their voices in support of this cause.  Why not check them out at twitter and facebook, and on their own site, and then follow me for a couple of great videos:

Continue reading “A Good Cause: The Voice Project”