Team Up with Music for Relief to Help Victims of Louisiana Flood & Get Rewards

By Kennedi Johnson

In August, southern Louisiana suffered continuous rainfall that resulted in historic, disastrous flooding that submerged thousands of homes and businesses. The flooding was so drastic that it has been declared the largest natural disaster in the United States since Hurricane Sandy of 2012.

The flood’s impact was far reaching with 20 of Louisiana’s parishes receiving more than 7 trillion gallons of rainwater in just two days. “Thousands of people in Louisiana have lost everything they own and need our help now,” Brad Kieserman, Red Cross’ vice president of disaster services operations, told CNN. In order to help those in need, the non-profit organization Music for Relief is teaming up with various artists and other activists to launch the #LousianaStrong campaign.

Linkin Park

Music for Relief was founded by the band Linkin Park and is dedicated to preserving the environment and helping those affected by natural disasters. Music for Relief saw the need caused by the massive flooding and began the #LouisianaStrong campaign, which aims to raise awareness about the severity of the situation in Louisiana and raise money for the victims of the natural disaster, and partnered with Propeller, an online community that encourages its members to engage in socially conscious actions to better society.

Those who support and engage in socially meaningful causes are rewarded through a point-based system. The more you support causes, the more points you earn; the more points you earn, the more stuff you get. By donating to Music for Relief’s disaster relief fund, you can earn tickets to live performances by Paul McCartney, the Rolling Stones, Roger Waters and more at the Desert Trip Music Festival, or attend a live recording of Saturday Night Live in October. You could also win a VIP experience with Blink-182 in Irvine, California or with the Chainsmokers at the Voodoo Festival in New Orleans.

What’s more, anyone who donates will receive an 18-track compilation dedicated to the #LouisianaStrong campaign, including tracks by artists including Gramatik, The Glitch Mob’s Boreta, Shana Halligan, and the Voice finalist Whitney Myer.

To learn more about Music for Relief, click here. To participate in the #LouisianaStrong campaign, win rewards and donate to the victims of the Louisiana flood, click here.

Violinist for Smashing Pumpkins Ysanne Spevack Creates a Feast for All Five Senses

Ysanne Spevack. Photo: Riley Johndonnel

By Laura Ferreiro

Renowned composer, chef and Smashing Pumpkins violinist Ysanne Spevack is orchestrating a unique, immersive experience featuring live music, plant-based, locally sourced food and much more, dubbed “Cacao in E Major.” The event will take place September 22 at the Alchemist’s Kitchen in New York City, and is the first in a series of YNTEGRITY project events that explore all of the musical keys and how they relate to the other four senses.

Ysanne — who is also known for authoring books on organic gardening and nutritious recipes in addition to her work as a musician — will lead the choir, The Conscious Chorus, which will interact with guests as they dine. In addition to Ysanne’s original compositions, guests will hear the exclusive debut of the song “Wild Wind” by Smashing Pumpkins’ frontman Billy Corgan.

What’s more, The Conscious Chorus will sing a live version of the debut single from artist Shepard Fairey’s new band, NØISE, which is set to be released the day after the event. The tune, ‘Little Lions,’ will be reimagined by the choir. “I’m excited that The Conscious Chorus are singing this epic new song as a mashup with the blessing of Shepard Fairey’s NØISE project,” Ysanne tells Music for Good. “Everyone knows they make conscious choices as a group of friends, including Shepard’s long-standing support for animals, and Moby’s vegan and non-profit activities. The new song is emotionally engaging and epic, and it’s perfect for my choir to sing! I’m grateful that my friends are sharing this with The Conscious Chorus in support of iFred.”

Photo: Riley Johndonnel

The inspiration for the unique event, dubbed a “feast for all five senses,” came to Ysanne after years working as a composer, an author and a cook. “It’s a natural evolution for me to now integrate into YNTEGRITY the neuroscience, psychology and technology elements, to enrich my compositions and the superfood-rich molecular menu I’ve developed over so many years,” she says. “Meeting celebrated neuroscientist Professor Pelli at NYU sparked an exponential growth in this integration process, but the foundation for YNTEGRITY was built slowly over the preceding three decades.”

Proceeds from the event will be donated to the International Foundation for Research and Education on Depression (iFRED), whose mission is to shine a positive light on depression and eliminate the stigma associated with the disease through prevention, research and education. Ysanne said that supporting iFred made perfect sense given the struggles with depression many artists face.

“Artists are sensitive by definition – that’s what makes us artists,” Ysanne explains. “We understand depression and meet it in our own lives and the lives of the people we surround ourselves with. I’ve lost friends to suicide, and experienced the depths of depression myself, as have most of my closest friends. On the bright side, I do believe it has deepened my connection with my circle.”

“It’s just wonderful to finally be at a point where I have deep confidence and experience in my music and food abilities, and the world is finally ready to accept that as an artist, we often express ourselves creatively in more than one modality,” she adds.

Click here to purchase tickets for Cacao in E Major. For more information about the YNTEGRITY project and updates about future events, click here.


Preservation Hall Foundation Announces Benefit Concert & Relief Fund for Musicians Affected by Devastating Flood

Preservation Hall Jazz Band

By James Pleasant

New Orleans’ Preservation Hall has been a cornerstone of jazz music since its origins in the early 1960s. During this time, traditional New Orleans Jazz was becoming overshadowed by more popular styles of music such as rock n’ roll and bebop. In order to honor and preserve New Orleans Jazz—one of America’s truest art forms — the Preservation Hall was officially established in the music-filled city, where it continues to dazzle audiences with music that sounds as pure as it did in the early days.

To help continue this legacy, the Preservation Hall Foundation recently launched the Southeast Louisiana Musicians’ Flood Relief Fund to benefit professional musicians affected by floods that ravaged Louisiana in August.

One-hundred percent of the funds will be distributed to professional musicians for the replacement of instruments, equipment, studio space, and anything else needed for them to continue practicing their craft and generating income doing what they love.

“I can speak for the musicians of Preservation Hall that it was inconceivable to continue sharing our music after Hurricane Katrina without the immediate support we received from our network around the world,” said Ben Jaffe, creative director of Preservation Hall. “We want to be there for our musical brothers and sisters in Baton Rouge and Lafayette in their time of need.”

In conjunction with the Relief Fund, the Preservation Hall Foundation is also organizing Red Stick Revival, a benefit concert supporting the musicians, taking place on September 18 at the Varsity Theater in Baton Rouge, LA.

Big Freedia will perform at the Red Stick Revival benefit concert

The concert will feature performances from Louisiana musicians GIVERS, Big Freedia, Pell, and Boyfriend, as well as the Preservation Hall All-Stars.

Those who volunteer with the Preservation Hall Foundation’s rebuilding and clean-up efforts in Baton Rouge on September 18 will receive a free ticket to the concert.

Professional musicians affected by the flood can apply for relief funds here. In order to qualify, musicians must submit documented proof of employment in the music industry for at least two years, or any commercially released recordings or videos.

Since 2011, the Preservation Hall Foundation has helped protect and preserve the musical heritage of New Orleans through a combination of relief efforts, media projects, music education and more.

To donate or apply for the relief fund, click here. For tickets to the benefit concert, click here. To learn more about the Preservation Hall Foundation, click here.

Moby to Headline Circle V Festival in Support of Animal Rights


By Kennedi Johnson 

When American DJ and musician Moby isn’t on stage, he passionately advocates for the rights of animals. He has adopted a vegan diet, opened the vegan restaurant Little Pine in Los Angeles, and authored the pro-animal-rights book Gristle: From Factory Farms to Food Safety (Thinking Twice About the Meat We Eat). Continuing in his tradition of animal-rights advocacy, Moby will be the main headliner of Circle V, an all-day festival geared towards supporting animal welfare.

On Saturday October 23, Moby will join electronic duo Blaqk Audio and synthpop act Cold Cave performing at Hollywood’s Fonda Theatre. It is Moby’s only scheduled live performance this year. Proceeds from the Goldenvoice-produced festival will benefit international animal protection nonprofit Mercy for Animals.

Together with Mercy for Animals and No Doubt bassist Tony Kanal, Moby cofounded the Circle V festival. “Circle V is the coming together of my life’s work, animal rights, and music,” says Moby. “I couldn’t be more excited about this event and am so proud to be headlining.” In preparation for the festival, Moby and the Void Pacific Choir released the music video, “Please Don’t Leave Me.” The video draws attention to the inhumane treatment of farm animals while in captivity.

The festival will also host a select group of speakers before the musical performances begin. Kip Andersen and Keegan Kuhn will lead a panel discussion on animal rights. Andersen and Kuhn directed the documentary Cowspiracy, which was executive produced by Leonardo DiCaprio, on the environmental effects of animal agriculture. Mercy for Animals’ president Nathan Runkle, PETA founder Ingrid Newkirk, and ultra-marathoner and author Rich Roll are also set to speak before the musical performances start. In addition to the live music and the speakers, Circle V festival-goers will also be able to enjoy a wide variety of vegan cuisine from some of LA’s favorite vegan food trucks and chefs.

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Herb Alpert Foundation to Donate $10.1 Million to LACC, Giving All Music Majors a Free Education

Herb Alpert. Photo: Dewey Nicks

By Laura Ferreiro

Herb Alpert, whose groundbreaking style of Latin jazz has made him one of the world’s most respected trumpeters, is now paving the way for a new generation of musicians. His namesake foundation has announced that it will donate $10.1 million to Los Angeles City College (LACC) to provide a free education for all music majors.

It will also give students additional private lessons and further financial aid to pursue their education. The Herb Alpert Foundation grant is the largest gift ever given to a community college in Southern California.

“I love that LACC has helped so many low-income students who have financial challenges but have a strong commitment to education and to self-improvement,” said Alpert.

Alpert, who grew up in the Boyle Heights neighborhood of East Los Angeles, told the LA Times that both his brother and ex-partner attended LACC. “LACC is a gem of an institution,” he said. “The biggest motivation was helping kids who don’t have the financial energy to go to a major college. At LACC, they’ve nurtured thousands of dedicated students every year. My brother went there. My ex-partner [record producer] Lou Adler went there. I’ve visited the school. It’s alive. It’s kickin’.”

Robert Schwartz, executive director of the Los Angeles City College Foundation, pointed out that a gift like this is incredibly valuable to LACC students, many of whom face financial difficulties. ”The vast majority of our students are from underserved communities and faced with enormous financial challenges as they strive to attain their academic and career goals,” he said. “This generous gift from the Herb Alpert Foundation allows these talented students to focus on their studies while pursuing their individual pathways towards successful careers in the music industry.”

Alpert founded the Herb Alpert Foundation in the 1980s. Since then it has made significant annual contributions to a wide range of renowned arts programs.

Crystal Castles Donate Proceeds from New Album to Amnesty International

Crystal Castles

By James Pleasant

Experimental electronica duo Crystal Castles is back on the scene with their fourth studio album, Amnesty (I), the group’s first since the departure of former vocalist Alice Glass in 2014.

Crystal Castles, comprised of producer Ethan Kath and vocalist Edith Frances, is donating sales proceeds from their aptly titled new album to human rights organization Amnesty International in an effort to help fight civil injustice around the world.

The idea for Crystal Castles’ work with Amnesty International was inspired by the organization asking the duo to produce a song for a charity release. Kath loved the idea so much he decided to produce an entire album with Amnesty International in mind.

“A lot of fucked up stuff is going on in 2016,” said Frances. “It’s been a year of glaring violations of human rights. As much as the world can seem scary, seeing how so many people are reacting is inspiring. It’s vital for us to actually support the people taking direct action to make a difference…we want our voices to call attention to issues that need to be illuminated.”

Amnesty International fights to prevent and expose human rights violations around the world through campaigns, court cases, charities, and other relief efforts. The organization works for LGBT rights, children’s rights, women’s rights, prisoner rights, and more, and fights against all forms of discrimination and civilian injustice.

“The world is at a critical tipping point,” said Frances. “Human rights have no borders, no language, no religion and no race. This applies to you and affects you…No longer can we sit back and watch and talk; what we really need right now is action.”

Frances also urges more musicians to donate the proceeds of their album sales to the charities of their choice.

Amnesty (I) has some themes of freedom of oppression, according to Frances, who became inspired by writing papers about human injustices around the world. Sonically, the album features the familiar dense, eerie synths, and ghostly, warped vocals from Crystal Castles’ previous work. Frances’ vocals range from ethereal to erratic, serving as a powerful teammate to Kath’s glitchy beats and trap-influenced instrumentals.

Check out the video for the single “Concrete,” off of Amnesty (I).

To learn more about Amnesty International, click here.

Renowned ‘Dragon Tattoo’ Composer Presents Nordic Noir Concert Benefiting LA’s Griffith Park

Composer Jacob Groth

By Laura Ferreiro

There’s no denying that Griffith Park is one of Los Angeles’ true gems. Boasting miles of gorgeous hiking and horseback riding trails, it’s also home to a bird sanctuary, museums, the Los Angeles Zoo, incredible wildlife and of course the famed Griffith Park observatory. The one-of-a-kind park provides a much-needed sanctuary in the midst of a sprawling urban jungle.

Renowned film composer Jacob Groth recognized how special the park was the first time he visited Los Angeles. The composer, who has scored movies including The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo trilogy, Dead Man Down and Skin Trade, now calls Los Angeles home several months a year, and wanted to do something to give back to the park and preserve it for future generations. It was then that the idea of the Nordic Noir benefit concert was born.

The Nordic Noir concert will take place September 25 at the Greek Theatre in the heart of Griffith Park. It will feature a performance by Groth and his Danish Film Harmonics orchestra, who will play selected tracks from The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo trilogy and other tunes that feature the distinctive haunting moods that embody the Nordic Noir genre. The concert will also feature special guest appearances and introduce the best of Nordic culture to the LA community.

The concert will benefit Friends of Griffith Park, a non-profit organization that works through advocacy, support, education and service to preserve Griffith Park as Los Angeles’ signature green and open space, a place of free recreation, and to ensure the survival of Southern California’s native ecosystems.

“The idea of combining this artistic vision with my passion for supporting urban wildlife and Griffith Park has been in my mind for a while now,” says Groth. “Once I met with the Friends of Griffith Park team I knew we could make it happen and I’m extremely happy that it has finally become a reality!”

“I hope that the concert will become an event that while it is both highly entertaining and thrilling, also can help create a buzz about the uniqueness of having wildlife like this in the middle of one of the biggest towns in the world,” Groth adds. “For me the park symbolizes how strong the force of nature is and how important it is to give urban wildlife space.”

Gerry Hans, president of Friends of Griffith Park, says how excited he is to team up with Groth on the event. “We are thrilled to join forces with world-class talent Jacob Groth for this incredible benefit concert,” Hans says. “We hope this incredible night of music and culture will inspire and incite others to join our cause and become more active caretakers of our beloved park and its endangered biodiversity.”

To learn more about Nordic Noir, click here. For tickets, click here.

Take Action to Earn Free Tickets to Global Citizen Festival Featuring Kendrick Lamar, Rihanna, Selena Gomez & More

Kendrick Lamar will headline the Global Citizen Festival

By Kennedi Johnson

Social justice platform Global Citizen will host its fifth annual Global Citizen Festival on September 24 in New York’s Central Park, featuring an array of top performers including Rihanna, Kendrick Lamar, Selena Gomez, Major Lazer and Metallica.

Unlike most concerts, tickets are not for sale. Instead, in order to earn passes to the festival, you must take action to bring awareness to global issues including equal access to education and gender equality. These actions include tweeting messages to the UN Secretary General to support education initiatives, Instagramming a photo of yourself with a book that changed your life, and signing petitions. Global Citizen believes an increase in awareness of these issues will lead to an increase global action and leadership.

The festival will also feature Chris Martin of Coldplay, Usher, Ellie Golding, Yandel and Cat Stevens. “While much of the world’s great cities are becoming no-go areas and ruins besieged by fear and divisive conflicts, it’s great to see a global counter-movement for peace through rebalancing of wealth beyond politics and towards human equality,” says Stevens.

The Global Citizen Festival will be hosted by top-notch entertainers including Chelsea Handler, Hugh Jackman, Neil Patrick Harris, Priyanka Chopra, Salma Hayek and Seth Meyers. “I am proud and excited to be a part of such an important movement with Global Citizen,” says Handler. “The Festival helps bring serious issues into the broader conversation and encourages people to take action. This year’s focus is women and girls, which is such a prevalent topic in our society, I hope lending my voice and my action to this can help to positively impact those.”

The Festival is partnering with Gucci’s Chime for Change campaign. Cofounded by Beyoncé and Hayek, Chime for Change began in 2013 to fight for and to empower girls and women across the globe. It has funded more than 420 projects across 88 countries to date. “As cofounder of Chime for Change, I’ve been deeply inspired by the girls and women I have met around the world who are determined to get an education and build a better future,” says Hayek. “They are truly the agents of change who can help to bring an end to extreme poverty.”

Also partnering with the Festival for the fifth consecutive year is the mass media company iHeartMedia, which will bring its own initiative to the Festival: using music as a tool to fight inequality, protect the Earth, and end extreme poverty by 2030.

Up to 50,000 tickets will be given out to Global Citizens for the Festival. Limited VIP tickets are available for purchase here.

Even if you can’t make it to the festival, you can get in on the action from the comfort of your own couch, because the Global Citizen Festival will be aired live on MSNBC and livestreamed on YouTube.

Click here to learn more about Global Citizen. Click here to support Chime for Change.

Alicia Keys, Pharrell, Bono & More Come Together to Fight Racial Injustice in ‘23 Ways’ Video

By James Pleasant

Singer-songwriter Alicia Keys assembled dozens of celebrities to stand in solidarity with the victims of institutional racism.

In the video 23 Ways to Be Killed If You’re Black in America, part of Keys’ “We Are Here” movement, musicians, actors, and comedians including Beyoncé, Pharrell, Queen Latifah, Kevin Hart, Chris Rock, Lenny Kravitz, and Bono cite 23 different incidents in which black lives were ended for frivolous reasons—namely at the hands of law enforcement.

The video was released a week after the senseless murders of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile by police officers in Louisiana and Minnesota, respectively. Sterling was shot point-blank by officers after he was detained for selling CDs outside of a grocery store, and Castile was shot dead in his car after reaching in his pocket for his ID after the officer’s instructions. Both deaths were referenced in the video.

The various reasons for many senseless deaths included “wearing a hoodie” (in reference to Trayvon Martin); “selling cigarettes outside of a corner store” (Eric Garner); “making eye contact” (Freddie Gray), and “calling for help after an accident” (Renisha McBride).

“The time for change is now,” says Keys in the video clip. “We demand radical transformation to heal the long history of systemic racism so that all Americans have the equal right to live and pursue happiness.”

The video is also tied to We Are Here’s “Moonshoot” petition urging President Obama and Congress to allocate $150 billion for poor communities in the United States, in order to end the institutional racism that has harmed people of color for centuries. The petition calls for these funds to help provide access to healthcare, equal education, housing, job training, nutrition, and reform of the Criminal Justice System over the next 10 years.

To sign the petition, click here. To learn more about We Are More, click here.

Dave Stewart Brings Sweet Dreams to UK Churches for Innovative Concert Series

Eurythmics' Dave Stewart launches Church Keys series

By Kennedi Johnson

Award-winning musician Dave Stewart of the Eurythmics is launching an extremely innovative pop and rock concert series: “Church Keys.” Stewart’s own “idea factory,” Dave Stewart Entertainment, is partnering with the Churches Conservation Trust to repurpose abandoned churches throughout the UK into unique concert venues.

The concert series idea is a nod to one of the church’s original functions: the creation of music. As they had for centuries before, the abandoned churches will once again ring with the sound of music. However, instead of hymns and Gregorian chants, the churches will host sounds of pop, rock and folk. “These churches are part of the fabric of England’s history,” says Stewart. “The buildings themselves hold so many stories in their walls. We want to expand that legacy and give it a soundtrack. We have so much reverence for these spaces, and it’s an honor to showcase them in a different light.”

A UK national heritage charity, the Churches Conservation Trust was naturally very interested in helping to develop this musical restoration project. “In order to ensure the future of these buildings, we want to make them what they used to be when the parish was the hub of the community,” Chairman Loyd Grossman told the Telegraph. “Music and churches are just so closely intertwined, whether it’s sacred or pop music is almost irrelevant because these are such great venues and the music brings people together.”

In addition to using the UK’s breathtaking churches as venues, “Church Keys” hopes to introduce up-and-coming artists to concert-goers. With the path to fame and recognition growing increasingly difficult and expensive, Stewart aims to provide an opportunity for new musicians to perform without all the extra hoops to jump through.

“Church Keys” began on June 16 at Langport’s All Saints’ Church with singer-songwriters Chris Difford and Nik Kershaw as headliners. Other confirmed performance locations throughout the summer include Cambridge, Blackburn, Eresham and Kings Lynn.

To view future dates and to grab tickets for “Church Keys,” click here. To read more about the latest projects of Dave Stewart Entertainment, click here. For more information on the Churches Conservation Trust’s mission to save at-risk historic churches, click here.