Posts Tagged ‘Zach Niles’

haiti – how to help

January 30, 2010

Another weekend, and a few more opportunities to help in the ongoing relief efforts in Haiti:

The Vermont Symphony Orchestra is joining efforts to raise funds for Partners in Health. The VSO is joining with other groups around the country in Symphonic Relief for Haiti, a worldwide effort to support the health community in Haiti through musical performances. Audiences are being encouraged to contribute at the concerts this weekend: last night at the Bellows Falls Opera House; this evening at the Flynn Theater in Burlington; and tomorrow afternoon at the Paramount Theatre in Rutland. There’s more info here on the contribution site.

Also, coming up tonight, Big Heavy World and The Radiator are hosting a showcase of local groups like the Dirtminers, Blowtorch, and Lowell Thompson at Higher Ground in Burlington. The fun gets underway at 8 and runs until around 1am, and all of the proceeds from the $15 admission door donations will go to benefit Doctors Without Borders.

Tomorrow the Students at Dartmouth for Haiti Relief (SDHR) continue their efforts (over $100K raised so far!) with a concert honoring the national music of Haiti. Compàs: The Haiti Relief Benefit is a  concert of Haitian music and student performances starting at 1:30 p.m. in Spaulding Auditorium. Tickets are $10 for students and $20 for community members with all proceeds benefiting Partners in Health.

And, for the music you can take with you, Vermont’s Cumbancha recording label and Sierra Leone’s Refugee All Stars announced this week that they’re donating 100% of the proceeds of an early release of the song “Global Threat” from the forthcoming album Rise & Shine to the International Rescue Committee for their Haitian earthquake relief efforts. The IRC is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to providing humanitarian aid, relief, and resettlement to refugees and other victims of oppression or violent conflict. “Global Threat” will be available for a minimum donation of $1.00, although people are encouraged to contribute as much as they can. People who donate $100 or more will receive a physical and digital copy of the full Rise & Shine album as soon as they are available, weeks before the album’s official release date on March 23rd, 2010.

Filmmaker and band co-manager Zach Niles is in Haiti now to support Haitian journalists in their efforts to tell the story of the earthquake from a local perspective. Niles’ award-winning 2006 documentary Sierra Leone’s Refugee All Stars captured the group’s journey from Guinean refugee camps to the recording of their first album.

Good stuff, all the way around.

like a refugee

June 27, 2009

Ashade Pearce, lead guitar

Ashade Pearce, lead guitar

“You left your country to seek refuge, in another man’s land…you will be confronted by strange dialects, you will be fed unusual diets…you’ve got to sleep in a tarpaulin house, which is so hard…you’ve to sleep on a tarpaulin mat, which is so cold…living like a refugee… “

I first heard those lyrics a couple of years ago – a snowy afternoon, if I remember right – on St. Patrick’s Day during the annual Green Mountain Film Festival.

I knew I should have been focusing less on the lyrics and more on the visuals of the film that day. But it’s that kind of music.

The Sierra Leone Refugee All Stars‘ story is widely known now, as the individuals who make up the group fled their country’s brutal civil war in the ’90s and came together to make music in a neighboring Guinea refugee camp. That’s where Woodstock, VT native Zach Niles caught up with them. A fan of African music, Zach and a partner went to Africa to create a film about the role of music in West African refugee camps. He made the Refugee All Stars film in 2005, and has  continued his involvement with the group since then as their manager.

The lineup has varied a little from the original six members, most recently with the unexpected death last March of bassist Idrissa Mallam Bangura. In their common mission and experience, though, they remain constant: messages of peace, happiness, and unity still rest firmly at the heart of their music.

Today’s blue skies and sunlit afternoon countered those first snowy film festival memories of  the Refugees, as they lit up the Green at Dartmouth College and launched the “eMotion” Arts Festival.

A most fortuitous omen  for a positive, creative, artistically inspirational summer ahead!


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

%d bloggers like this: