The likes of Ewan McGregor, Carly Simon and Marianne Faithfull have recorded a song for Amnesty International, as the human rights organization is celebrating its 50th birthday.
"Toast to Freedom" also features Rosanne Cash, Kris Kristofferson and Jane Birkin. It was initially composed in sessions at late rocker Levon Helm's converted barn studios in Woodstock, New York. Helm died last month.
Here's the video.
Amnesty International is a human rights organization that does work around the world. Take political dissident Chen Guangcheng whose safety became more of a question mark after the US government bungled things this week. Amnesty has this:
Chinese human rights lawyer Chen Guangcheng was reunited with his family on May 2 after seeking refuge at the U.S. embassy in Beijing for six days. Chen, who is blind, had escaped local security forces in Shandong province after 19 months of illegal house arrest for his work to expose forced abortions and sterilizations.
Initial reports indicated that Chen and his family would remain in China, with assurances from Chinese officials that he would be allowed to live and work freely. Chen has subsequently requested to leave the country with his family. Join us in calling on the Chinese and U.S. governments to respect Chen's human rights.
Update: Read our response to the U.S.-China agreement to honor Chen's request to study abroad.
For more on Chen, Kat's covered what's going on there this week in:
- How the White House failed Chen Guangcheng
- Chen Guangcheng
- A little less strutting, a little more work, Barac...
Also Spinner interviews Carly Simon (one of modern America's greatest songwriters):
From the very beginning, as a songwriter you always very mature beyond your years in terms of lyrics and melody. What influences affected you most as a songwriter?
I'm sure it came from my various music influences in the house growing up. My father was a classical pianist, my elder sister was an opera singer and my mother was a singer, too. In fact, she and my father played parts of "Porgy and Bess" for Gershwin in Gershwin's apartment. My father played and mother sang. Plus, my uncles were total jazz aficionados -- they founded the magazines Metronome and Downbeat -- so I had a lot of really strong musical influences in my life growing, all of very high quality. I'm sure that affected me as a writer.
Be sure and check out Trina's post from Thursday where she noted Carly's Spy album.
"Iraq snapshot" (The Common Ills):