7:00PM - 12:00AM Price: $20 / $10 seniors + students
"This is the singin'est movement since Civil Rights," says Pete Seeger, who is a longtime supporter of the School of the Americas Watch movement.
The evening will open with Masankho Banda. Originally from Malawi and now residing in the Bay Area, Masankho Banda is a Dalai Lama "Unsung Hero of Compassion" and has worked alongside Bishop Desmond Tutu and Nelson Mandela, as well as peace makers and justice seekers around the world. He will get the audience up on their feet to sing and dance and bless the evening.
The evening will continue with artists representing the Southeast through Alternate ROOTS - Brothers Carlton and Maurice Turner from Raymond Mississippi, collectively known as MUGABEE (Men Under Guidance Acting Before Early Extinction) blend elements of hip hop, jazz, and spoken word; Alternate ROOTS director Carolyn Morris joins singers Etta Purcell and Debra Mazer as Winds of Change; and perennial Atlanta favorite Elise Witt brings her "Global, Local & Homemade" sound to the stage. Supporting each other with harmonies and instrumental accompaniment, the artists will take turns leading the group on their original, soul stirring songs.
The Musicians' Collective artists from the School of the Americas Watch come next with Francisco Herrera & Jon Fromer from the Bay Area of California; Anne Feeney sometimes called "the best labor singer in the US"; and the first half will close with the brilliant and hilarious satirists Prince Myshkins from Madison WI.
The second half of the concert will open with headliner Holly Near and Emma's Revolution joining forces on their exquisitte vocals blending of arts and activism. They will be followed by Dave Lippman aka George Shrub, the only singing CIA agent; Charlie King singing extraordinary stories of ordinary working people; bi-lingual singer/songwriter Colleen Kattau, and performance poet Chris Chandler.
The show will close with two powerful Atlanta groups - Rising Appalachia featuring the rockin' sister harmonies of Leah & Chloe Smith; and Andean musicians Vientos del Pueblo (Winds of the People) to send the audience out dancing and singing.
Admission for the Nov. 15 Concert for the School of the Americas Watch at Eyedrum Gallery in Atlanta is by donation: $20 general admission and $10 for seniors, students, and artists. Tickets will be available at Charis Books and More in Atlanta's LIttle 5 Points district. Seating is limited and this concert is expected to sell out, so purchase tickets in advance. Proceeds from the concert support the work of the School of the Americas Watch
Q: Why are all these world class musicians donating their time and talents to this movement?
A: They are part of the SOAW Musicians' Collective headed to Columbus Georgia for the weekend of November 16-18.
Masankho Banda was born in Malawi, Central Africa. Growing up in Malawi he learned about peace, diversity and community building from his elders in the village. Masankho realized as a child that drums and dance had the power to bring communities together and heal any divisions. Masankho moved to the United States in 1987 as a political refugee. His father spent twelve years (1980 to 1992) as a political prisoner under the brutal and harsh dictatorship of the founding President of Malawi. Seeing the injustices that his Father and Mother suffered under the brutal dictatorship, Masankho was inspired to work for peace and justice. Masankho has worked alongside Nobel Peace Laureates (e.g. Bishop Desmond Tutu), World Leaders, Healers, Entertainers and people who love peace and justice from all over the world. He brings his traditional Malawian learning and creativity together with his western education to effectively advocate for change. Masankho is the co-founder of the Institute for PeaceBuilding (IPB) (A project of Pathways To Peace), founder of UcanDanc' African Healing Arts, a member of Wing It! Performance Ensemble and a Certified InterPlay Leader. He also is adjunct Professor at John F Kennedy University and Holy Names University in the Bay Area. For his work around the world Masankho was awarded the Unsung Hero of Compassion by His Holiness the Dalai Lama in 2001. His work has taken him to Sierra Leone (working with child soldiers), to Croatia (volunteering in refugee camps with children and teenagers), working with African Youth Peace activists in South Africa. He has also visited 46 of the 50 US states working with various organizations, schools and churches to share his message of peace, diversity and justice.
An outspoken activist, singer, teacher, and recording artist, Holly Near has spent the past 35 years working for progressive political and social change. Over the years, Holly's powerful anthems have captured the mood of many movements and now her voice and messages are no less urgent than those of 35 years ago. Her latest recording, Show Up, is a pointed and provocative look at where society sits today-in a new millennium and now in the fourth year of a U.S. led foreign war. No topic is sacred to Holly Near. War, peace, love, family, corporation, government, addiction-they all come under her scrutiny on Show Up. But Holly is not merely an observer. She invites audiences to take a stand-to take the higher road of vision, peace, perspective, and leadership-and to Show Up.
Sisters Leah and Chloe Smith grew up in the bosom of the Southern Appalachian music renaissance. Born to a fiddlin' mother and a folk-sculptor father, they were raised with old-time melodies and contra dances as their lullabies, long before mention of the sound tracks of Oh Brother Where Art Thou and Cold Mountain. With influences in everything from urban jazz and hip hop, to roots music from around the world, they have created a style that is truly their own. Their simple eerie banjo and fiddle tunes and effortless sister harmonies are compared to that of Hazel Dickens, Rosetta Tharpe and Gillian Welch. Their 2 recordings "Rising Appalachia" and "Scale Down" have been praised by the international press and by fans on their recent tours to Ireland, Italy, Slovenia, and the Czech Republic, and across the U.S.
Brothers Carlton & Maurice Turner also known as M.U.G.A.B.E.E. have been performing professionally since 1995, working in communities across the South in residencies, workshops, performances and lectures, working with youth groups, adult learners, community centers, churches and schools. Their name, which is an acronym meaning Men Under Guidance Acting Before Early Extinction, describes a group divinely guided to be musicians, singers, songwriters, producers, playwrights, poets and teachers - and they do it all well. That may be because they see themselves as artist/vessels for the word, allowing it to move through them in various forms of hip hop, jazz, spoken word, rhythm and blues, and soul. M.U.G.A.B.E.E. is a continuation of the rhythms and sounds that are the foundation of the ancestral spirit of communication. When you hear the music, you hear the fire and soul of evolution.
Satirist/songwriter Dave Lippman has been known to take the air out of the windbags of the week, de-distort history, and rewrite the classics with parody and thrust. He is often replaced by the world's only known singing CIA agent, George Shrub.
The Prince Myshkins (Andy Gricevich, guitar, and Rick Burkhardt, accordion) have been performing together since 1995. Their original cabaret-tinged satirical songs about war, sexuality, medicine, talk shows, global warming, and having a beer with the president have been heard on NPR's "Morning Edition" and Pacifica's "Democracy Now!" and performed in venues across the US. Sing Out!magazine says "Anyone who aspires to write political satire should hear this brilliant duo."
"Bold, profound, moving, hilarious and transformative," emma's revolution is the duo of award-winning, activist musicians, Pat Humphries & Sandy O, who write songs that become traditions. "Peace, Salaam, Shalom" and "Keep on Moving Forward" are sung around the world. In the spirit of Emma Goldman's famous attribution, "If I can't dance, I don't want to be part of your revolution," emma's revolution brings their uprising of truth, hope, and a dash of healthy irreverance to concerts and peace & justice events across the US and beyond. emma's revolution's new cd is "roots, rock & revolution."
Based in Pittsburgh, PA, Anne Feeney is the granddaughter of an intrepid mineworkers' organizer, who also used music to carry the message of solidarity to working people. After two decades of community activism and regional performances at rallies, Anne took her message on the road. Since 1991 Anne has traveled to the frontlines in 40 states, Canada, Mexico, Ireland and Sweden. Her anthem "Have You Been to Jail for Justice?" is being performed by Peter, Paul and Mary. Dubbed the "minister of culture" to the movements for economic and social justice and human rights, Anne is "the best labor singer in North America" according to Utah Phillips.
"Great singer and organizer at the same time", Pete Seeger says of Colleen Kattau, a bi-lingual singer songwriter of New Song and Nueva Canción. Colleen combines music and activism, recognizing the guitarra armada or 'armed guitar' concept of Latin American troubadours, where the guitar and voice are mightier than the gun. Her recordings include About Time, Wideland and Sing it Down: Songs to Close the SOA, co-recorded with Jolie Rickman. When not strumming her guitar and composing, Colleen is teaching Spanish and growing vegetables on her farm in Central New York state.
Charlie King is a musical storyteller and political satirist. His repertoire covers a century and a half and four continents. He sings and writes passionately about the extraordinary lives of ordinary people and has been at the forefront of arts and activism for over 3 decades.
Francisco Herrera is a powerful, bi-lingual singer/songwriter in the San Francisco Bay area. He is the director of Trabajo Cultural CAMINANTE, which is dedicated to support efforts for social change and community organizing through music. Of his work, he says "Our communities believe in beauty, our work for social justice is based on creating beauty and solidarity among each other. Culture is the thread by which we create this."
Based in the San Francisco Bay area, Jon Fromer has written some of the most compelling peace and justice songs of our time. His recording "We Do the Work" features songs that have been recorded by scores of contemporary activist musicians.
Born in Switzerland, raised in North Carolina, and living in Atlanta since 1977, Elise Witt takes her "Global, Local & Homemade Songs" around the world with concerts and singing workshops. She has sung everywhere from Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, the Kennedy Center, and the Martin Luther King Center for Non-violent Social Change to schools, festivals, and community centers around the world. She has been on cultural exchanges in Nicaragua, South Africa, Switzerland and Italy. A composer and community activist, Elise uses her music to get people singing and to re-find community through the power of music.
Chris Chandler - spoken word - has worked with everyone from Allen Ginsberg to Ani DiFranco and Pete Seeger to Mojo Nixon. Utah Phillips says, "Chris Chandler is the best performance poet I have ever seen." Chris' video "Something's in the Air/ But it's not on the Airwaves" has just made Neil Young's top ten antiwar videos http://neilyoung.com/lwwtoday/lwwvideospage.html
Vientos del Pueblo performs Andean music, representing a fusion of cultures and rhythms combining African, European and American Indigenous roots. Featuring Andean instruments like the quena, charango, and bombo, as well as guitars and bass, the songs of Vientos Del Pueblo present a joyful experience that gets whole audiences up dancing.
SOA Watch seeks to close the US Army School of the Americas, under whatever name it is called, through vigils and fasts, demonstrations and nonviolent protest, as well as media and legislative work. On November 16, 1989, six Jesuit priests, their co-worker and her teenage daughter were massacred in El Salvador. A U.S. Congressional Task Force reported that those responsible were trained at the U.S. Army School of the Americas (SOA) at Ft. Benning, Georgia. In 1990 SOA Watch began in a tiny apartment outside the main gate of Ft. Benning. While starting with a small group, SOA Watch quickly drew upon the knowledge and experience of many in the U.S. who had worked with the people of Latin America in the 1970's and 80's. Today, the SOA Watch movement is a large, diverse, grassroots movement rooted in solidarity with the people of Latin America. The goal of SOA Watch is to close the SOA and to change U.S. foreign policy in Latin America by educating the public, lobbying Congress and participating in creative, nonviolent resistance. The Pentagon has responded to the growing movement and Congress' near closure of the SOA with a PR campaign to give the SOA a new image. In an attempt to disassociate the school with its horrific past, the SOA was renamed the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation in January of 2001. Last year's vigil at Fort Benning drew over 20,000 participants from all over the United States and Latin America. This year's event is expected to be larger still.