ASAP, The Afrobeat Sudan Aid Project

Connecticut, USA – ASAP: the Afrobeat Sudan Aid Project
was released in late 2004 on the Apple iTunes Music Store for retail sale, the
first charity project hosted by iTunes. All proceeds from the sales of the album
are to go towards the relief of the victims of ethnic violence in the Darfur
region of Sudan. Produced by independent student-startup
Modiba Productions, ASAP is an all-star
compilation of some the hottest overground and underground Afrobeat artists
today, including Tony Allen (ft. Fela Kuti), Antibalas, Dele Sosimi, Keziah
Jones, and many others. In addition to its primary mission of fundraising,
Modiba hopes that this project will raise awareness about the dire situation in
Darfur: by some estimates, over 250,000 people have died due to dehydration,
disease, and at the hands of the Janjaweed – armed horsemen supported by the
government of Sudan.To accomplish this task, Modiba has teamed up with TrueMajority, a grassroots
education and advocacy group founded by Ben Cohen of Ben and Jerry’s that is
committed to social and political justice.
TrueMajority
has already done extensive work in Darfur, sending camera crews
and attempting to bring witnesses into the United States (the US State
Department refused entry). Apple Computer has also provided key support,
prominently featuring the album and allowing 100% of the sales from ASAP on the iTunes Music Store to go towards relief for the victims of the genocide. You
can also purchase a hard copy of the album featuring the cutting-edge digital
graphics magic of Adam Tuck on TrueMajority’s website starting in early December
– just in time for the holiday season. Also, be sure to check out a promotional
video for the album on TrueMajority’s website, a montage of images from refugee
camps, interviews, and music put together by independent film maker Joe M. F.
Wilson and starring some of artists on the compilation.

The U.S. election may be over, but there are still millions of people
outside this country who need our help right now. As a nation founded on the
principles of freedom and human rights, the crisis in Darfur – which has been
labeled a “genocide” by the U.S. Congress – must be at the top of our
priorities. We ask that you forward this email to as many people as possible and
spread the word far and wide that music is here to help, and encourage friends
and family to go out and purchase a copy of the album (or ten!) for themselves,
for others, for complete strangers, for whoever. Cool beats and hot danceable
grooves, social justice and political activism – this is the spirit of Afrobeat
that is so desperately needed on this increasingly complacent but still
beautiful planet of ours
.”

More about ASAP and Afrobeat

The album features “Progress” by Afrobeat founders Tony Allen and
Fela
Kuti
, and a previously unreleased live version of “Uprising” by

Antibalas
. Other artists contributing material include: Kokolo,
Akoya
Afrobeat Ensemble
, Dele Sosimi, Wunmi, Ikwunga, Keziah Jones, Franck Biyong
and Massak, and Baba Olagun.

Afrobeat has earned an international reputation since the 1970s as music of
infectious rhythms with a message of social and political action. Nigerian Fela
Kuti, the founder Afrobeat music, was famous for his political outspokenness in
criticizing the corruption within the Nigerian government and others. Africa’s
Bob
Marley
— nicknamed “The Black President” — Fela Kuti was the voice of the
discontented masses in Nigeria and throughout Africa for nearly three decades.
Since his passing in 1997, there has been a resurgence of activity in the
Afrobeat movement. An accessible and danceable blend of funk, West African
styles, pop, jazz, and hip-hop, its appeal stretches across a broad range of
ages and demographics.

In today’s turbulent international political climate, artists throughout the
world have seized upon Afrobeat as a way to amplify the voices of those who are
suffering. Afrobeat is the ideal soundtrack to mobilize relief for the victims
of this dire African crisis. According to TrueMajority, the project’s sponsor:

Life is bleak in the Darfur region of Sudan, where 1.8 million people are
refugees from military attack. With intense grooves and furious horns these
Afrobeat artists campaign for a better future throughout the continent, and do
some immediate good for the Darfurians. Proceeds from the album go to the
Kebkabiya Smallholders Charitable Society, a local community group in Sudan
helping their countrymen find food and shelter as they flee the attackers. From
the Tony Allen classic ‘Progress’ (featuring Fela Kuti himself) to Antibalas’
call for ‘Uprising,’ this is a revolution which dances
.”

Track listing:

1) Star Wars (Modiba Darfur Remix) – Akoya Afrobeat Ensemble
2) Di Bombs – Ikwunga
3) More Consideration – Kokolo
4) Garan Garan – Keziah Jones
5) Progress – Tony Allen (feat. Fela Kuti)
6) Turbulent Times – Dele Sosimi
7) Mister Sinister – Kokolo
8) U.S.A. – Akoya Afrobeat Ensemble
9) What A See (Tommy ‘Tikk Takk’ Piper Mix) – Wunmi
10) Uprising (live) – Antibalas Afrobeat Orchestra
11) Afro Map of Space – Franck Biyong and Massak
12) Libation for Fela – Baba Olajagun

The Modiba Productions Team

Herman, Brenner, Ahl, and Tuck are students at Wesleyan University, class of
2005. Wilson is in his final semester at the New York University School of Film.
Herman, Brenner, and Ahl are three of the four members of Wesleyan’s “World
Music Collective,” a student organization responsible for bringing musicians
from around the world to the Wesleyan campus and organizing their performances.

Herman and Brenner have previously done work for
Afropop Worldwide – a non-profit radio show
(on NPR) and website dedicated to bringing the music of Africa and the African
diaspora to the world – as concert reporters, music reviewers, and website
managers. Both have spent significant time in Africa. Herman, a major in Music,
studied music and culture in Mali while living with a local family in the
capital of Bamako. Brenner, a Philosophy major, spent time researching culture
and social and environmental development in Botswana while living with a number
of local families throughout the country. Both have extensive experience
studying African music, history, and politics at Wesleyan.

Ahl is a studio engineer that has studied recording at Berklee College of Music,
University of the Arts, and Wesleyan University, where he has worked as a studio
manager. His recent work includes a live concert by the The Flux Quartet, NPR
favorite Noah Baerman’s newest CD release What It Is, and a live
performance by Akoya Afrobeat Ensemble (one of the contributing artists on the
compilation). He has also recorded, mixed, and mastered a number of albums by
Wesleyan a cappella ensembles. He spent the past summer perfecting his live
sound production skills at the Knitting Factory in New York City and continuing
production of a full-length studio album for a Washington-based hip-hop ensemble
called the “Educataz.”

Adam Tuck has studied studio arts, illustration, computer graphics and graphic
design at Wesleyan University and Corcoran. His recent CD projects include
Steal
by the Wesleyan Spirits and Illumination by The Vineyard Sound.
He has acted as design and graphics consultant for the Connecticut State
Library, illustrated a Spiderman Ashcan comic book submitted to Marvel, and
illustrated issue four of The Book of
Jesse
put out by ThirdPartyPolitics LLD.

Modiba Productions is also currently developing a feature-length documentary on
African music in New York. For the film, Modiba has worked in collaboration with
many of African music’s most prominent artists, including

Thomas Mapfumo
,
Oumou
Sangare
,

Ladysmith Black Mambazo
,
Vusi
Mahlasela
,

Antibalas
, as well as numerous local personalities and performers.

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