The Common Good

Electric Burma and Amnesty International's Musical "Toast to Freedom"

Nobel laureate and Burmese opposition leader, Ang San Suu Kyi.
Nobel laureate and Burmese opposition leader, Ang San Suu Kyi.

In celebration of its 50th anniversary, Amnesty International has released a new song, "Toast to Freedom," recorded by nearly 50 artists from around the world.

The original tracks for the song were recorded in Levon Helm's famed studio in Woodstock, N.Y., known as "The Barn," where acclaimed artists like the Black Crowes and My Morning Jacket have made recordings and where Helm, a four-time Grammy winner, for years stages his intimate, multi-artist concert performances known as the “Midnight Ramble.” (Helm passed away in April after a long battle with cancer.)

Artists who sing and/or play on the recording includ Kris Kristofferson, Roseanne Cash, Keb Mo, Carly Simon, Marianne Faithful, Donald Fagen (of Steeley Dan), Sunny Landreth, Shawn Mullens, Ewan McGregor (who knew he could sing so nicely?) and the late Mr. Helm himself.

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this month in Dublin, Ireland, Amnesty International will host the "Electric Burma" concert honoring Burmese justice champion and Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi, where some of the "Toast to Freedom" artists will perform the song live.

Suu Kyi, 66, who spent more than 15 years as a political prisoner (in prison or under house arrest) in Burma until her release in 2010, will attend the June 18 concert where she longtime Amnesty International campaigner Bono of U2 will present her with the organization's prestigious Ambassador of Conscience Award,  conferred on individuals who demonstrate exceptional leadership in the fight to protect and promote human rights. The Dublin event will mark the first time Suu Kyi has attended a concert in her honor outside of her native Burma.

Bono, Bob Geldolf (of the Boomtown Rats and Live Aid fame), Damien Rice, Lupe Fiasco, Vanessa Redgrave, Angelique Kidjo, Jack Gleeson (King Geoffrey of Game of Thrones), and other artists are set to perform.

"Toast to Freedom" Lyrics

VERSE 1
How delicious is the winning of her kiss
Bind her love to eternal bliss
She’s the greatest power in the universe
Freedom

Her touch will feed your real hope
In the darkest of days and on the steepest slope
Let your good heart and kindness fill her temple
Freedom

BRIDGE
Nobody’s free until everybody’s free
We walk a long winding road, sail the raging seas
No prison cell, no censorship hell
Can claim our obedience and love

CHORUS
Here’s our toast to freedom
To human rights and dignity
Love, respect and forgiveness
United in the dream for victory
Here’s to the battlefields for justice
Of the tortured, banished and enslaved
To the selfless spirit and commitment
To our brothers and sisters in the grave

 

VERSE 2
She hurts when sovereigns and parliaments meet
To shackle more chains about Liberty’s feet
When the rulers cast the votes they can not spell
Freedom

Her open eyes desire nothing but the truth
The soul of mankind, untainted youth
Yes–for this I will stand up and fight
Freedom

BRIDGE 2
Nobody’s free until everybody’s free
We walk a hard road, sail the raging seas
No prison cell, no censorship hell
Can claim our obedience and love

CHORUS

SOLO

BRIDGE 3
Nobody’s free until everybody’s free
Together we walk a hard road, sail the raging seas
No prison cell, no censorship hell
Can claim our obedience and love

BREAKDOWN

Here’s our toast to freedom
To human rights and dignity
Love, respect and forgiveness
United in the dream for victory

OUTRO (W/BACKGROUND VOCALS)

Here’s our toast to freedom
To human rights and dignity
Love, respect and forgiveness
United in the dream for victory

 

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