Unity: The Desmond Tutu Legacy Project
"From ancient histories of the past through destruction’s terrorism and nuclear blast. The only breath that one sees last is the breath of love." The Magic Hand by Shephen Kalinich
This night diverse musicians gathered to commemorate Desmond Tutu's 85th birthday. Coupled with the celebration's fanfare, the concert was the kick off for Unity: The Desmond Tutu Legacy Project. This initiative supports Tutu's Peace Foundation.
Set in Beverly Hills' ornate Saban Theater, excitement was in the air as both the audience mingled in the lobby before the house opened. It was clear we were going to witness something of particular significance and we did. The evening's line up included Incubus in a special acoustic set, Steve Vai, Donovan, Spencer Davis, Pato Baton, Fishbone, members of The Mighty, Mighty Bosstones plus other performers. On stage these musicians used the power of music and their public voice to affect awareness and spread the messag, all volunteering their time and talent for the cause. This night was also the first in several concerts to come. Additional Mini-Big Shows will be held throughout 2016-7 including New York, December 2016, Miami, March 2017, Atlanta, April 2017 and Toronto, spring 2017, with more cities to be announced.
Opening the performance Kemo the Blaxican and his harmonica player Weeping Willow warmed up the audience his DJ "Mike the People Mover". Then South Los Angelas' Peace 4 Kids sang a short and inspired set. Never lacking in energy and pageantry, Fishbone along with members of The Mighty Mighty Bosstones paraded in from the lobby as a New Orleans second line processional before overwhelming the stage with raw energy leading up to performing fan favorite "Party at Ground Zero". Highlighting the set, Dicky Barrett of the Bosstones joined Angelo Moore on vocals before Moore, aka Dr. Mad Vibe walked through the audience singing and bouncing about from row to row. Singer and toaster Pato Baton led his ensemble through infectious reggae energizing the crowd with the message of love, peace and unity. Much of the crowd came out for Incubus and they delivered. A fitting selection for their set was covering Tears for Fears' "Everybody Wants to Rule the World". Between sets special guests spoke about the cause including Quincy Jones accompanied with Joely Fisher announcing his participation in a related recording project, a video message by Tutus's daughter, Mpho Tutu, a full cast coming out to sing happy birthday flanking a huge cake, Matchbox Twenty's Adam Gaynor with Tutu's grandson Biso Tutu-GXashe appealed for donations and Stephen Kalinich reading a heartfelt poem of hope. Brooke Brewer from The Musician's Institute sang a couple numbers before Seve Vai tore up his guitar.
The event successfully raised money for the foundation, a fitting signs for things to come.
Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu's humanitarian work has garnered worldwide impact demonstrating the ability to bring positive change and peace in our world. It is now time to assure his legacy continues. The foundation's mission is "to use Tutu’s life and teachings to inspire young people to build a world of peace within themselves, peace between people, and peace among nations".
This night was made possible in part with in kind support and sponsorship from The Saban Theater, Guitar Center, Alice Goldstein Entertainment, Musician's Instituted, Dirty Tequila, Canters Fairfax and Astrella.
Stay tuned for more announcements and get involved.