On Friday (Aug. 9), A4A Records released a cover of anthemic U2 song Sunday Bloody Sunday recorded by a wide range of notable Canadian musicians known collectively as Artists for Sudan. The track was recorded in Toronto by producer David Bottrill (Muse, Rush, Peter Gabriel) and Darcy Ataman with vocals contributed by the artists. The song’s release is designed to bring awareness to the human suffering in Sudan. Link to the track here
A press release explains that "for 30 years President Omar Hassan al-Bashir ruled Sudan and created security forces and militia accused of domestic cruelty and war crimes. Last year, a pro-democracy movement led to the military unseating al-Bashir. Rather than handing the rule of the country over to the people, the military began rounding up and killing many of the protesters. Though the protests stopped and negotiations with the military continue, residents are now reporting rapes, executions (including children) and robberies at the hands of the paramilitary while internet and cellphone networks have been shut down – leaving them voiceless and in a state of uncertainty regarding their future."
“When people are deprived of justice, they create their own language of hope and healing,” says Darcy Ataman. “The best way to express this is through music and art. Sunday Bloody Sunday, reimagined by some of our greatest Canadian artists, is a protest song for the people in a country that cannot protest for themselves to the wider world. Our hope is that as a tool of advocacy it helps to finish bending the arc of history of Sudan towards the light.”
The artwork for the single is inspired by a photograph that went viral earlier this year, taken during public protests by Sudanese artist Lana Haroun. “I’m glad to be an inspiration for people all over the world,” said Haroun. “But it’s for the peace revolution, made in Sudan, our home, with love.”
Though not intended as a charity record, all proceeds raised through downloads and streams will be donated to Human Rights Watch.
Could this project be viewed as another indication that artists are finally being motivated to speak with a united voice on pressing social and political issues after a long period of apathy? Is this the evolution of an artistic revolution?
Last week, US singer/songwriter Lana Del Rey released a new song called Looking for America. The track was written and recorded in response to the recent series of shootings in the US, and all proceeds from the song will benefit the Gilroy Garlic Festival Victims Relief Fund, the El Paso Community Relief Fund and the Dayton Foundation.
On Aug. 6, influential industry pundit Bob Lefestz issued a passionate call for action on the subject of gun control. He dreams of "three concerts, three festivals, this will be the Woodstock spirit Michael Lang was talking about. Now these shows are not about healing, these shows are about ACTION! There will be a manifesto, not only right-wing people can write one. Laying out our position, one that all participating musicians must sign." Whether the business and music superstars will heed his call remains to be seen.
Confirmed participants in Artists for Sudan include:
Ian D’Sa (Billy Talent)
Ben Kowalewicz (Billy Talent)
Jim Cuddy (Blue Rodeo)
Cone McCaslin (Sum 41)
Neil Sanderson (Three Days Grace)
Matt Walst (Three Days Grace)
Ron Hawkins (The Lowest of The Low)
Scott Anderson (Finger Eleven)
Simon Ward (The Strumbellas)
Amy Millan (Stars)
Colin MacDonald (The Trews)
John Angus (The Trews)
Ewan Currie (The Sheepdogs)
Ben Kowalewicz and Ian D’Sa from Billy Talent:
"We are honoured to work alongside some incredibly talented Canadian artists on 'Song For Sudan' in hopes to raise awareness for the ongoing humanitarian crisis happening there, where peaceful protest has been met with violence and political unrest. We stand together with the people of Sudan."
Scott Anderson from Finger Eleven:
I’m extremely proud to be part of the ‘Song for Sudan’ project. It’s an honor to perform alongside so many incredible Canadian musicians. Not only has this project raised awareness of Sudan’s situation for me personally, but my hope is that our song encourages others to not only get informed, but help in any way they can.
Throughout centuries women have been exposed to unspoken horrors of violence, rape & sexual assault -more often than not perpetrated by soldiers, uniformed militias or even sanctioned government officials themselves. In recent years, the situation in Sudan, Yazidis in Iraq, or Rohingya in Myanmar remind us of the endemic abuse women have been subjected to.
When I was asked to participate by Make Music Matter for the protest recording “Sunday Bloody Sunday” regarding Sudan which finds itself at a critical inflection point in their history, I did not hesitate to answer their call. If my position as an artist can help in any way to raise awareness spotlighting Sudan’s current plight for democracy and human rights - I believe I will have utilized my musical voice to a higher good.
Neil Sanderson from Three Days Grace:
The unrest and violence that is causing severe human rights abuses in Sudan is troubling. It’s an honor to be able to use our platform and talents with fellow Canadian Artists to help build awareness and solidarity around the world for our brothers and sisters who may be suffering in Sudan
“Colin and I were happy to participate in this meaning endeavor. Hopefully, it serves to raise some awareness to the plight of the Sundanese people and that, through awareness, some meaningful change can be brought about.”
Amy Millan from Stars:
I was honored to be asked to participate in a project to raise funds to help in any way the heartbreaking atrocities that occurred in Sudan. Women are so directly affected by extreme sexual violence, if it brings any awareness and money to what’s happening, then at least a small something has been done.
“Music has the incredible capacity to bring people together and create awareness. Music is universal; it transcends borders, and its words speak potent truths. Artists for Sudan has created the space for many voices to come together and advocate for the people of Sudan who are currently being silenced amidst the humanitarian crisis they are facing. It is my hope that this song will act as a voice for the silenced people of Sudan and that the people and governments of the world will listen. Through generating awareness, we hope that the necessary steps will be taken to ensure that this oppression and violence ends.”
Having been to The Congo with my band Sum 41 in 2004 and in the middle of a war zone myself, I saw first-hand what atrocities people, mainly women and children go through on a daily basis. It is absolutely heartbreaking and will affect me for the rest of my life. We were lucky to get out of that situation and come back home to Canada. Most people from these regions are not so lucky and cannot do the same. When I was contacted by Make Music Matter about the Sudan crisis and asked to be on this benefit track, I didn’t hesitate to say yes. This conflict needs to be headline news and have more attention drawn to it to generate more help from the international community. If being apart of this song means I’ve helped in any way with that then I’m doing my job as a musician and human being.
This project has a special place in my heart, and the issues that are challenging are things that are battling with my mind, soul and spirit every day. I am honoured to be part of the song that is playing a role in raising consciousness global awakening.
For more information: Darcy Ataman / firstname.lastname@example.org or at: 204 396 3228