Jon gives peace a chance

A group of 30 musicians from conflict-affected regions gathered in Sheffield to record songs as part of Peace Tracks, a new initiative from peacebuilding charity International Alert.

The musicians will create unique songs inspired by pieces donated especially for the initiative by famous recording artists from around the world.

These include pop group ABBA, singer and activist Angélique Kidjo, sitar player and composer Anoushka Shankar, film-score composer AR Rahman, Black Sabbath bassist and lyricist Geezer Butler, Duran Duran drummer Roger Taylor, guitarist/singer Melissa Auf der Maur and composer Philip Glass.

The songs were produced by Reverend and the Makers frontman Jon McClure, in partnership with In Place of War and recorded at the ckity’s Hartland Works over two days earlier this week.

The musicians, hailing from Venezuela, Zimbabwe, Brazil and Chile, will perform the songs live at Shambala Festival in Northamptonshire on August 27–28 and at Festival No 6 in Wales on September 3–6.

Peace Tracks also invites world musicians, especially those hailing from countries or communities affected by conflict, to create songs remotely using the online platform Ohm Studio until September 7. These songs will be released as a free download on September 18, ahead of UN International Peace Day on September 21, to get people all over the world talking about peace through music.

Peace Tracks aims to bring together musicians across cultural and conflict divides, who might never otherwise have a chance to create music together, and give them a platform to express themselves, and their views on issues of conflict and peace.

Geezer Butler, Black Sabbath’s bassist, lyricist and co-founder, said: “From the earliest Sabbath stuff, I’ve written lyrics about the grim reality of war. Peace Tracks can hopefully bring more people around the world to think about peace.”

The initiative takes place as part of Alert’s second annual Talking Peace Festival (3 September 3–October 3, 2015), a month-long series of events designed to spark conversations about peace through creativity. Events take place in London and globally.

Talking Peace Festival