PEACEFUL ACTIVIST JAILED 1 YEAR FOR TAKING PHOTO OF PROTEST NEAR DRONE PILOT FACILITY JULY 15, 2014 – Mary Anne Grady Flores is an American citizen and pacifist, and like many of us is horrified by our government flying drones remotely from thousands of miles away and indiscriminately murdering civilians at wedding parties, and wanted to exercise her freedom of speech…
May 5, 2014 – Some members of the Canadian band Lemon Bucket Orkestra have teamed up with local musicians from Kiev and are touring Europe and singing about peace and justice, hoping to calm things down and avoid war. They are calling it the Lemonchiki Project, paying homage to the lemons activists had to put in their mouths to deal with the Berkut tear-gassing them as they tried to take control of their country away from the Putin puppets who were destroying their country. Read their story and find out more of this exciting project at the Lemonchiki Project website.
MAR 4, 2014 – The David Lynch Foundation, an organization that promotes daily meditation to youth to bring about a more positive world, honored the great musical producer Rick Rubin last month with the "Lifetime of Harmony" award. Rubin is behind all the great songs you have heard for years, and as the director David Lynch described Rubin in a Variety article, "He has the ability to tune into each artist's talent and bring out the best they've got. The list of bands and artists that worked with Rick is so long, it'd be morning if we read out all the names. And it is a heavy duty list. Rick Rubin has great ears and a great mind between them." Russell Simmons, who founded Def Jam Records with Rubin and uses meditation in his daily life and stresses the use of meditation in public schools in his new book, "Success Through Stillness", is a great friend of Rick Rubin. In talking about Rubin he said in the same Variety article, "I'm amazed that he is willing to accept any accolades. He's never taken his Grammys. I don't know where the fuckin' Grammys are. You can sell them, give the money to the David Lynch Foundation." Simmons talks about when he first met Rubin and said, "All of us are trying to calm the noise. At the time I had one route and it was through drugs. I couldn't relate to anybody who was sober because they had so much noise, except Rick, who was totally sober, but he exuded the kind of freedom that I was seeking. He seemed to have a stable and lasting hold on it." Simmons credits daily meditation by Rubin to be the key in this and his own success and stresses you can achieve success too with daily meditation. Rubin was also in instrumental in helping the Dixie Chicks with their career after reactionaries attacked their free speech, and they were on hand for the event and performed one of their very few U.S. shows in the last few years. No video yet but JTMP will post them if they come out.
Read more about meditation and visit the David Lynch Foundation website. Start your first meditation session right now with Rick Rubin and Alison Chemick in a short film titled "Music and Spirituality" from NOWNESS on YouTube below. Read more about Rick and the event on Variety.com here.
AUG 24, 2013 – Activist-musician Roger Waters of Pink Floyd fame has written an open letter to fellow musicians asking them to stand with him and boycott Israel for the Apartheid-type treatment of Palestinians living in the West Bank. Their lives are totally disrupted as a result of Israel's illegal and hostile takeover of native lands for their "settlements". In the letter Waters touches on a lot of subjects. He mentions the Trayvon Martin shooting and how he applauds Stevie Wonder for taking a stand against Florida's "Stand Your Ground" law and his call to boycott Florida. Waters explains how for the past 8 years he has been part of BDS, or Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions, "a non-violent movement to oppose Israel's occupation of the West Bank and violations of international law and Palestinian human rights". He has pronounced they have found Israel guilty, "independently, by international human rights organizations, UN officials, and the International Court of Justice, of serious breach of International law."
Roger Waters states the obvious, that our governments and the United Nations are unable or unwilling to act, so "it falls to civil society and conscientious citizens of the world, to dust off our consciences, shoulder our responsibilities, and act." Read the whole letter on ElectronicIntifada.com here. What do you think? Leave a comment or start a conversation on our Justice Through Music Facebook Page. (photo credit: Takver/CC)
July 23, 2013 – HuffPo has an post up about the Israeli heavy metal rock band Orphaned Land and Palestinian band Khalas will tour Europe together, even sharing the same bus. Khalas' bass player Abed Khathout said, "We are metal brothers before anything", and Orphaned Land's lead singer Koby Farhi said, "Having a brotherhood, sharing the stage, simply shows that Rock and Roll music is above politics." Orphaned Land has been using music as a bridge for over 20 years to reach out to Palestinians to help bring about peace between their 2 peoples. Justice Through Music totally supports these bands efforts, and is all about using music as a catalyst for positive and progressive change in the world, it is in our name! Read more on HuffPo here, including a video with clips of the two bands. (photo: Orphaned Land 2010 – credit: Dark Apostrophe/CC)
MAY 15, 2013 – JTMP blogged about the musical astronaut Chris Hadfield yesterday, and today I have come across an awesome performance he did with Barenaked Ladies on Earth, and him on the ISS. There was a children's choir also, and they knocked it out of the park. Chris sings about looking down at the precious blue ball of Earth, and his longing to get back to it. He wants us to remember we very lucky to have this precious Earth, not to take it for granted, and to take care of it.
The song is a celebration of 15 nations coming together in peace, science, and cooperation with the ISS, or the International Space Station. Check out more info about the ISS on NASA's ISS website here. Check the video out below. The song is called, "Is Somebody Singing?"
MAY 9, 2013 – An organization calling itself "Heartbeat" wants to use music to bring young Israelis and Palestinians together in peace, and use music as a tool to bring this about. They mission is to use musicians to build understanding and to transform conflicts. They talk about how "fear, violence, ignorance and a pervasive lack of trust" has led to the current political and social atmosphere between Israelis and Palestinians. They state, "Most Israelis and Palestinians have only encountered the other side through televised reports of extremist violence, soldiers at checkpoints, or politicians…" Heartbeat intends to use music as a bridge to break this divide, and bring people together. Heartbeat believes, and so does JTMP, that "Music has an amazing ability to connect people, build trust and inspire hope in the darkest of places. Modern, popular music has long been the voice of change all around the world and a powerful means for youth expression and nonviolent action. By bringing together young Jewish and Arab musicians and strengthening their voices, we are working to build a global culture of trust, compassion, and respect." Read more on the Heartbeat website here. (photo credit: Heartbeat.fm)
June 14, 2012 – Last month, JTMP was fortunate to be part of a US state department program of a cultural exchange between people of the arts from all over the world. One visitor, Shukry Ashour, showed us this wonderful video he made set to Arabic folk music, and gave us permission to post it for the world to see this man's peaceful town he grew up in. Enjoy. It is called, "From Here". It is in Arabic with English subtitles.
Photo of Strings and Indian Ocean. Credit: Aman ki Asha and StringsOnline.net
FEB 21, 2012 – Strings, a Pakistani band that fuses great music and activism together, were recently part of a "Bands Across Borders" concert bringing together Pakistani and Indian musicians and fans in support of peace. The concert was part of an initiative called "Aman ki Asha" which means "Hope For Peace", where they are working for peace and understanding between the people of Pakistan and India. Strings was chosen particularly for their involvement in social issues. Read about the concert here, and check out the Aman ki Asha Initiative website here. Check out Strings in a video below.
Photo credit: Time
Oct 20, 2011 – Stephen Said, activist musician who is both of Iraqi and Austrian descent, grew up in Appalachia with blue grass and classical music from an early age, has come out in support of the Occupy Wall Street movement. In a Time Arts article he talks about how growing up around his father's ethnic heritage music influenced him from an early age and compelled him to have peace with himself and work for peace with his art. Recently has led crowds reciting a beautiful Arabic poem called, "Aheb Aisht Al Hirya", which translated into English would be, "I Love the Life of Freedom". The lyrics were written by the great Egyptian poet-laureate Ahmed Shawki, with music by the legendary singer composer Mohammed Abdel Whab written back in the 1930s. In a Examiner article he said about the song, "It's an anthem to global unity and equality that I learned from my father. Commenting on the Arab Spring and the youth uprising throughout the Middle East he said, "This is our moment – the moment when each of us must summon our highest, most poetic selves to courageously step into the brilliance of the next world, a world already in the making."
Said has made the MP3 available for use "by all those who are non-violently working to build the international movement for a more just society." You can download and check out the song at: http://stephansaid.com/audio/aheb-aisht-al-huriyah.mp3
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