Tag Archives: Taj Mahal

80 artists tip their hats to Bob Dylan to benefit Amnesty International

Two iconic forces that have impacted the past 50 years – the life-saving human rights activism of Nobel Peace Prize-winning Amnesty International and the incomparable artistry of Bob Dylan – are being saluted by 80 musicians who contributed new or previously unreleased recordings to Chimes of Freedom: The Songs of Bob Dylan Honoring 50 Years of Amnesty International.

Chimes of Freedom is Executive Produced by legendary music executive Jeff Ayeroff and Julie Yannatta, who spearheaded Instant Karma: The Amnesty International Campaign to Save Darfur – a 2007 collection of John Lennon solo compositions performed by major artists including U2, Green Day, and R.E.M.

The collection is scheduled for physical (4 discs) and digital release in North America on January 24, 2012 through Fontana Distribution. It will be distributed internationally through Fontana International, a Universal Music company, on January 30.

Chimes of Freedom features a stellar and diverse group of artists across the generational and musical spectrum. The performers, including many of Amnesty International’s longtime supporters, range in age from teenage pop star Miley Cyrus, 19, to folk music legend Pete Seeger, who, at 92, records Dylan’s poignant “Forever Young,” with a children’s chorus.

The diversity of the musicians and musical genres – from rock, rap, hip-hop to pop, folk, country, jazz and blues — attests to Amnesty’s depth of support in the music community, the universal appeal of the core message of human rights, and the breadth of Dylan’s impact on culture. Almost every track on the album is being released for sale for the first time* – except for the title song, Dylan’s original 1964 recording of “Chimes of Freedom.” Seventy songs were recorded especially for this release – with the addition of a few previously unreleased recordings.

“This album is a powerful fusion of the music community’s respect for Amnesty’s life-affirming work and for Bob Dylan’s enduring brilliance,” said Ayeroff and Yannatta.  “We are proud to have worked with Amnesty to produce this remarkable project.”

In 1962, Amnesty International evolved from a one-year campaign to free political prisoners into a worldwide movement fighting for justice, freedom and human dignity; today the organization has more than three million supporters in 150 countries.  In March of that same year Bob Dylan’s debut album was released, launching an unparalleled recording career.

“Over the half century, Dylan’s art has explored and expressed the anguish and hope of the modern human condition,” observed Sean Wilentz, the noted historian, in the album liner notes.

“Bob Dylan’s music endures because he so brilliantly captures  our heartbreak, our joy, our frailty, our confusion, our courage and our struggles,” said Karen Scott Amnesty International’s Manager of Music Relations. “His words convey a depth of meaning that few artists can equal, inspiring us and always moving ahead of our expectations.  We at Amnesty International are deeply grateful to this legendary musician and to all of the artists who have contributed to this project.”

All of the artists, session musicians, arrangers, engineers, producers and recording studios worked pro-bono to support the human rights cause. Almost 30 tracks on the album were mixed gratis by famed engineer Bob Clearmountain. Bob Ludwig and Adam Ayan of Gateway Mastering donated their mastering services. The album cover illustration is by Grammy Award winning artist Mick Haggerty. Eight tracks were produced or executive produced by Martin Lewis, who as co-creator/producer in the 1970s of Amnesty’s ongoing “Secret Policeman’s Ball” benefit series, instigated Amnesty’s outreach to rock musicians by recruiting and producing Pete Townshend, Sting, Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, Bob Geldof and others. Executive Producers for Amnesty International are Helen Garrett, director of special projects, and Karen Scott, manager of music relations.

Through Chimes of Freedom, Amnesty International seeks to enlist support for its fight against censorship and attacks on free speech – whether involving artists, writers, musicians, political activists or bloggers. In this campaign, Amnesty is fighting for people such as the imprisoned Nobel Prize winner Liu Xiaobo in China, a scholar and human rights defender imprisoned since 2009 for writing about corruption and criticizing China’s political system.  In addition to purchasing the album at www.amnestyusa.org/chimes, supporters will find actions they can take to help individuals whose freedom of expression is under threat.

Taj Mahal and David Hidalgo come together

Blues legend Taj Mahal and master guitarist/multi-instrumentalist David Hidalgo (Los Lobos) have collaborated with Mexican-American roots group Los Cenzontles (pronounced los senn-sont-less) to tell a timely story of hope, struggle and gratitude of the American worker. Traversing traditional Mexican, blues, cumbia and psychedelic rock styles, they create a distinctive, fresh and exciting sound. The November 3 release will be distributed through ADA Distribution.

 

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Taj Mahal goes fishing in KC

Taj Mahal Trio
The Crossroads
Kansas City, Missouri
September 7, 2007
 

It was a cool September evening as blues legend Taj Mahal took The Crossroads stage in downtown Kansas City.  Despite the chill in the air, Taj brought the heat.  The moment his signature dirty vocals left the PA it instantly grabed your attention and demanded the respect of a true blues man.

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Rhythm & Blues Cruise to set sail

The Legendary Rhythm and Blues Cruise is recognized as one of the top blues festivals on the planet. It is also the world’s only chartered blues cruise.  In addition to their annual Caribbean cruise that sets sail from Florida each January, this year the Legendary Rhythm and Blues Cruise offers their West Coast cruise to the Mexican Riviera.

The ship will hit the high seas on October 13, 2007 from San Diego, California, destined for the Mexican Riviera.  The five-star Holland America ms Oosterdam ship will sail for seven days, all the while hosting intimate and electrifying performances by the world’s best rhythm and blues talent: over 70 live performances by 22 acts!  Cruisers have the option to temporarily get their feet back on the ground by indulging in the attractions and beaches of Cabo San Lucas, Puerto Vallarta, and Manzanillo.

Cruisers will bask to the perpetual rhythms of Blues Cruise “Captain” Taj Mahal & The International Rhythm Band, Elvin Bishop, Bobby Rush, Lowrider Band (Howard Scott, Lee Oskar, BB Dickerson & Harold Brown), Tommy Castro, Marcia Ball, Rod Piazza, Bernard Allison, Curtis Salgado, Janiva Magness, Eric Sardinas, John Lee Hooker, Jr, Sista Monica Parker, Doug MacLeod, Chico Banks, Eric Bibb, Earl Thomas, Eric Lindell, and Nathan James & Ben Hernandez.  Also on board are Piano Bar hosts Eden Brent and Leon Blue, plus invited special guests Ron Thompson, Lynwood Slim, Roy Gaines, Homemade Jamz Blues Band, and a host of unannounced surprise guests who will be onboard to share the excitement and join in Artist Spotlights and Jam Sessions.

Cruisers will witness many rare combinations of talent sharing the same stage and rub elbows with the stars by participating in artist workshops and autograph sessions.  Regular cruise headliner Taj Mahal exclaims, “It’s a Blues Festival where everyone has a Backstage Pass!”

The testimonials are abundant: “Life-changing.” “Magical.” “The time of my life.”

An ever growing family of dedicated fans are counting the days, hours, and minutes until the LRBC sets sail each year.  The cruise’s menu of daily themes, contests, no-holds barred fun and sense of community are what really keep this ship afloat.

 

Beale Street Music Festival stays dry…almost

 

 

 

With all of the great music that went on during the first few days of Beale Street Music Festival, the opening event of Memphis in May, the real talk wasn't anything that took place on stage – it was the fact that rain was nowhere to be seen.  Yet, just when festival goers thought they were free and clear, the skies opened up on Sunday, and drenched Tom Lee Park before the music stopped.

 

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