Music has been used for centuries to give people a voice to tell stories, entertain and inspire. Perhaps it is the emotional feelings one gets from listening to music that allows so many of us to connect with it. Music can bring us back years ago to an exact time and place within our hearts. Who can forget the words and rhythm of their first dance? Or the music you used to blast in your car during the summer with your windows rolled down?
The power of music has also been brilliantly used as a voice to garner support of the masses and impact societal change. Protest songs decrying great human injustices such as slavery, apartheid, violence and war, have become powerful tools by musicians to push politicians and governments to making the world a better and more just place.
ONE, a global advocacy organization created by Bono and backed by 3 million members worldwide to fit against global poverty and hunger, has launched a new music campaign called agit8, as a way to use music to push change. Agit8 will inspire people to take action and leaders to make big commitments on figthing chronic malnutrition during the upcoming G8 meeting in Northern Ireland June 17-18th.
Why does this matter? ONE and many supporters believe we have a lot of stake and are at a crossroads in time where we have the tools to solve hunger:
Today, with 20,000 children dying needlessly every day from poverty and hunger, ONE, a global advocacy organization working to end extreme poverty, says it’s time to turn up the volume. Extreme poverty can be virtually eliminated by 2030, but it won’t happen on its own, which is why ONE is calling for millions more voices to urge those in power to finish the job.
The idea behind agit8 is to highlight the power of music to effect social change by raising their voices to fight extreme poverty ahead of the G8 Summit on June 17-18. Agit8 features new video recordings of classic protest songs being performed by an array of top artists: Mumford and Sons, U2, Tom Morello, Sting, Usher, Will.I.Am, Elvis Costello, Angelique Kidjo, Sting, Rokia Traoré, Elvis Costello, Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, Ed Sheeran, African musicians, indie artists, and Christian rockers. The music, lyrics, videos and history behind each protest song can be found on ONE’s agit8 page and if you are a music lover like me, you are bound to stay there for quite awhile.
So, what are my favorites?
I have to vote for Bob Marley as one of my all time favorite protest singers. I adore his music both for their rhythm as well as uplifting, powerful lyrics. If you are a big Bob Marley fan, you can also watch the recent documentary on his life and struggles which is all set to his music.
What about you? What is your favorite pick? Are you ready to share the music and help change the world?
Leaving you with an acoustic version of The Redemption Song for your listening pleasure and inspiration.
Visit ONE.org/protestsongs to learn more and please help us spread the word.
Music changes everything!
Yes indeed! 🙂
Great topic and nicely done post. The power of a collective effort through music is always more effective. (Like button was not loading).
Thanks! Yes had to do my share in helping promote this campaign. I love ONE and what they do to help raise awareness and funding to alleviate poverty and hunger. Yet so much work to be done.
OK, you asked. 🙂 I have so many favorite protest songs it is hard to choose one. John Lennon “Imagine”, Pete Seeger “we Shall Overcome”, Bob Dylan…oh my he has so many, but I think my favorite is “The Times They are a Changin” , Marvin Gaye “What’s Goin On?” , Edwin Starr “War”, and my all time favorite…Aretha Franklin “Respect”. This was fun, I say…as I hum these tunes all day.
I can’t believe I forgot Imagine! I LOVE LOVE that song! It always stirs my soul. Respect is brilliant to. So many good ones, aren’t there!
Thanks for posting! As a musician and someone committed to social justice and equality I have always been interested in the power of art, and especially music, to effect social change. I have to say “Imagine” would be near the top of my list as well, along with several songs from the “Nueva Canción”/ “Nueva Trova” movement in Latin America.
Glad you enjoyed! Some of the videos have been coming up on the ONE site so check it out. I can’t believe I forgot to mention my love for the song IMAGINE. It is by far my favorite! 🙂 Music does have such power to move you, doesn’t it?
Music is such a great common voice. Have you seen Playing for Change’s “Redemption Song”? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=55s3T7VRQSc
Cool! Thanks for sharing Kat! 🙂
thank you for:
“The Power of Music
to Change the World”
You’re welcome! I know you are a musician so you can understand the impact and power of music!
when I was sad, I often sang the REDEMPTION song …
It is such a beautiful song, isn’t it.
Another reader just sent this along. It is wonderful!!! Thanks for sharing.
you’ve written a great article about protest songs. I’ll soon try to post a similar thing, thank you for inspiring!
Thanks!!! I will be on the lookout for it!
your third eye point of view inspired me to play guitar and upload the post
of course there is a link to you …
This is so wonderful! Glad that the post inspired you! 🙂
Another great post Nicole. I am looking forward to spending lots of time listening to these videos. Marley is one of my all-time favorites.
Thanks LuAnn! 🙂
another protest song by the playingforchange movement:
war – no more trouble
Thanks so much for all this great music! 🙂