NEW YORK, NY (April 30, 2007)
In an historic effort to mobilize activism around the human rights atrocities occurring in Darfur, Sudan, more than 50 international recording artists and over 30 record labels have united behind “Instant Karma: The Amnesty International Campaign to Save Darfur.” The collection features iconic songs by legendary musician and peace activist John Lennon recorded by an array of best-selling artists and will be available for purchase both on CD and as digital downloads via online retailers.
In keeping with its long tradition of activism powered by music, Amnesty International, the world’s largest grassroots human rights organization, will use Yoko Ono’s generous gift of Lennon’s solo catalogue as the centerpiece of its campaign to rally activists toward human rights activism for the people of Darfur. The “Instant Karma” mobilization centers on saving the lives of innocent women, children and men who are dying by the thousands and restoring peace in the region.
The two-CD set of “Instant Karma,” which will be released by Warner Bros. Records on June 12, boasts a stellar line-up of 23 world-class artists from a variety of genres putting their own unique spin on classic songs from Lennon’s solo songbook. The artists — who come from the worlds of rock, pop, hip-hop and country — include longtime activists U2 (“Instant Karma”), Green Day (“Working Class Hero”), R.E.M. (“#9 Dream”) and Jackson Browne (“Oh My Love”); female pop powerhouses Christina Aguilera (“Mother”), Avril Lavigne (“Imagine”), and Corinne Bailey Rae (“I’m Losing You”); country stars Big & Rich (“Nobody Told Me”); alternative favorites Snow Patrol (“Isolation”), The Flaming Lips (“(Just Like) Starting Over”), Postal Service (“Grow Old With Me”) and Regina Spektor (“Real Love”); best-selling rockers Aerosmith (“Give Peace a Chance”), Lenny Kravitz (“Cold Turkey”) and Los Lonely Boys (“Whatever Gets You Thru the Night”); and pensive singer-songwriters Jakob Dylan with Dhani Harrison (“Gimme Some Truth”) and Ben Harper (“Beautiful Boy”).
The rights to Lennon’s songs were generously donated by Yoko Ono, who has donated all music publishing royalties. Amnesty International chose to harness the power of Lennon’s music to inspire a new generation of activists to stand up for human rights. Proceeds from CD and digital sales will support Amnesty International and its campaign to focus attention and mobilize activism around the urgent catastrophe in Darfur, and other human rights crises.
“It’s wonderful that, through this campaign, music that is so familiar to many people of my era will now be embraced by a whole new generation,” Ono says. “John’s music set out to inspire change, and in standing up for human rights, we really can make the world a better place.” Larry Cox, executive director of Amnesty International U.S.A., adds, “We know music’s power to unite and inspire people. With hundreds of thousands dead, millions driven from their burned out villages and rape being used as a tactic in the Darfur conflict, the world needs a mass mobilization demanding action and justice. The ‘Instant Karma’ campaign combines John Lennon’s passionate desire for us to imagine a more peaceful world with Amnesty International’s expertise in achieving justice. ‘Instant Karma’ allows ordinary people to lend their hand in saving lives — a notion we think would make John proud.”
“John Lennon was not just a famous Beatle, he was the social conscience of his generation,” says Jeff Ayeroff, one of the album’s executive producers. “By reinterpreting his music and reintroducing it to a new generation, we shine a light on the darkness that is Darfur. Yoko Ono’s gift of John’s music to Amnesty International, whose work points out the pain and injustice in the world, is a true beacon of light. Give peace a chance is all we are saying.”
Winner of the 1977 Nobel Peace Prize, Amnesty International includes people from all walks of life taking a ction and is composed of more than 2.2 million human rights activists worldwide. Its mem bers protect people wherever justice, freedom, truth and dignity are denied. Amnesty International investigates and exposes abuses, educates and mobilizes the public and helps transform soc ieties to create a safer, more just world. Amnesty
International has a long history of activism involving musicians including 1988_s worldwide Human Rights Now! Tour and 1998’s Paris concert, which honored the 40th and 50th anniversaries of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, respectively. Collectively, the concerts featured performances by Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, Sting, Peter Gabriel, Tracy Chapman, Youssou N’Dour, Alanis Morissette, Jimmy Page, Robert Plant and Radiohead.