Nonesuch Records, a division of Warner Music Group's Warner Bros. Records, gives its first donation-for $1 million-to Habitat for Humanity International on August 29, 2006. The funds, which will be used to build homes in New Orleans, were raised through sales of the critically acclaimed benefit album Our New Orleans, which was released in December 2005. The record is composed entirely of newly recorded songs by artists from New Orleans's music community-across a wide variety of styles-and documents the depth, richness, and profound musicality of that unique city. The donation will go toward providing housing in partnership with low-income musicians and others through the New Orleans Habitat Musicians' Village.
Many of New Orleans' best-known musicians recorded songs that are integral to their lives and that express their feelings about the city and the recent events there. The album was made swiftly and simply, over the course of a month, in one-day sessions across the country. Newsweek called the record "a terrific album of original performances by native Lousianians," The New York Times called it "an album full of mourning, obstinacy and longing for redemption," and Entertainment Weekly said it "serves as a gratifying reminder of how valid New Orleans artistic contributions were, and are-and why the city and its people deserve to be saved."
"Like the rest of the country, Warner Music Group was tremendously moved by the scope of the disaster on the Gulf Coast," said Edgar Bronfman, Jr., chairman and CEO of Warner Music Group. "Just a few days after Hurricane Katrina struck, Nonesuch Records began work on the Our New Orleans benefit album to not only support the victims and contribute to the rebuilding effort, but also to honor the unique musical legacy, culture and artists of New Orleans. We are gratified that the album has been embraced and are delighted to make this donation to Habitat for Humanity, one of the many organizations that our artists and employees continue to support during the rebuilding process."
"Hurricane Katrina may have devastated New Orleans, but it certainly didn't destroy the will of its people," said Warner Bros. Chairman and CEO Tom Whalley. "We are thrilled to donate proceeds from this wonderful album to Habitat for Humanity, which is helping to rebuild the Crescent City and, in turn, helping to preserve its vibrant musical legacy."
"When we pick up a CD booklet, we usually skip over the page that says, 'Special thanks to...', but in the case of Our New Orleans, it is, after the listing of the musician's names, the most important part of this package," said Nonesuch President Robert Hurwitz "Everyone wanted to help-studios that insisted on contributing free time, caterers, photographers and videographers, instrument rentals, producers, engineers-all donated their time selflessly; our corporate parent, which donated all of the recording costs; our manufacturer, which donated all of the printing and pressing costs; our distributor, which donated all of the distribution costs-every step down the line, people gave, not only their profits, but absorbed all of their costs. It was an incredible outpouring of generosity."
Added David Bither, Nonesuch senior vice president, "What was most remarkable to me was the immediate response of the musicians. Many were in New Orleans when Katrina struck. Many lost everything they owned including even the musical instruments that are their livelihood. Yet they responded within days to the question of whether they might participate in this project. The emotion and the power of Our New Orleans come both from their anguish and from their incredible generosity."
For this special project, Nonesuch joined forces with others in the artistic community. Nick Spitzer, h