On June 12th, Warner Bros. Records in the United States, in conjunction with Amnesty International USA (AIUSA), will release Instant Karma: The Campaign To Save Darfur - a CD of more than 20 iconic songs by John Lennon recorded by an array of best-selling artists, including Green Day, R.E.M., Christina Aguilera, Jack Johnson, and Snow Patrol, as well as Corinne Bailey Rae, Regina Spektor, The Postal Service, and many more. Additional singles from various artists will be released in the weeks leading up to June 12th. Proceeds will support Amnesty International, the world's largest grassroots human rights organization, and its campaign to focus attention and mobilize activism around the urgent catastrophe in Darfur, Sudan, and other human rights crises.
Supported by Yoko Ono, who has generously donated all music publishing royalties, the CD - part of AI's global music activism project "Make Some Noise" - aims to harness the power of Lennon's solo songbook to inspire a new generation of activists to stand up for human rights.
"Music has a special power to incite social change, and the songs of John Lennon inspire people to fight for justice and strive for peace like no other artist," says Larry Cox, executive director of Amnesty International USA (AIUSA). "With Yoko Ono's extraordinary gift, Amnesty International hopes to move the world closer to John's vision of global peace and justice. Almost 20 years ago, artists from around the world ignited awareness about human rights via Amnesty International's Human Rights Now! tour. With Instant Karma: The Campaign to Save Darfur, Amnesty International hopes to unleash a second wave of awareness coupled with activism at a time when it is so desperately needed."
"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," says Yoko Ono. "John's music set out to inspire change, and in standing up for human rights, we really can make the world a better place."
The first single from the album will be a cover of "#9 Dream," from Lennon's 1974 album Walls and Bridges, recorded by R.E.M. As forefathers of the alternative-rock movement, the Athens, Georgia, Grammy-winners have a long history of combining music and activism, having been involved with a host of political and humanitarian causes, both local and global, over the years. The recording of "#9 Dream" was recorded last September after the four the original members of R.E.M. - vocalist Michael Stipe, guitarist Peter Buck, bassist Mike Mills, and drummer Bill Berry were inducted into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame. With Berry back on drums for this one recording, it marks the first time the four have been in the studio together since Berry retired from the band in 1997. The song will be delivered to radio on March 12th - the same day R.E.M. is inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. It will be made available for sale as a digital download the following day.
Immediately following the March 12th release of the album's first single, Amnesty International USA will convene a series of events in its long-term advocacy on Darfur. More than 3,000 AIUSA groups will take part in AIUSA's ninth annual National Week of Student Action March 23rd - 30th. Additionally, the organization will convene: rallies and protests on March 30th outside the Chinese embassy in Washington, DC, and at the consulates nationwide, in an effort to pressure the Chinese government to use its considerable influence with the Sudanese government to admit U.N. peacekeepers; a national call-in week to Congress April 2nd - 6th; and lobbying meetings in Congressional districts across the country conducted by AIUSA-organized delegations April 9th - 13th.
Instant Karma: The Campaign to Save Darfur, arrives nearly 20 years after AI's hugely successful worldwide Human Rights Now! Tour that celebrated th