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Electric Burma - the concert documentary film

The concert documentary film, shot with 8 cameras, will be available soon on DVD and will be screened on TV.  RTE 2 in Ireland will show the TV version on December 27th for the first time!

It captures Aung San Suu Kyi’s historic visit, remarkable story and the extarordinary music concert celebrating her visit to Dublin in June 2012 – her first to Europe in 24 years, having spent 15 of the past 22 years under house arrest as a political prisoner in her native Burma. It was the first concert ever held in her honour and in her presence outside of Burma.
The Producer and Art For Amnesty founder Bill Shipsey just signed a distribution deal with Monster Entertainment for the worldwide TV, Airline and DVD distribution of the 52 minute and 94 minute documentary versions of the Concert: “We are excited to announce the first of the viewings. The TV version will premiere on Irish televisions principal channel RTE on December 27th at 10.35pm. Monster have already received a large number of interested enquiries from TV stations and Airlines around the world. Electric Burma the concert documentary for Aung San Suu Kyi will be coming to a TV station near you in 2013!”

Artists from all corners of the globe were on hand for Electric Burma: A Concert for Aung San Suu Kyi onJune 18th at Dublin’s Bord Gáis Energy Theatre.  Organized and promoted by Bill Shipsey, the extraordinary event was a celebration of Nobel Peace Prize recipient and leader of the National League for Democracy in Burma, Aung San Suu Kyi.

Electric Burma was highlighted by Aung San Suu Kyi’s acceptance of Amnesty International’s prestigious Ambassador of Conscience Award, conferred on individuals who demonstrate exceptional leadership in the fight to protect and promote human rights.  Longtime Amnesty International campaigner Bono, who initially announced Aung San Suu Kyi as an Ambassador of Conscience during U2s 2009 concert at Dublin’s Croke Park, made the presentation.  Previous recipients of the Ambassador of Conscience Award have included Václav Havel, Mary Robinson, Nelson Mandela, Peter Gabriel, and U2.

A stunning array of artists from the worlds of music, cinema, art, and dance took the stage.  Among them were such iconic performers and activists as Bob Geldof, Damien Rice, Angelique Kidjo, Lupe Fiasco, Vanessa Redgrave, Jack Gleeson (of HBO’s Game of Thrones), Tibetan singer/songwriter Yungchen Lhamo, violinist Sarah Nemtanu, cellist Vyvienne Long, pianist Romain Descharmes, Ireland’s own Riverdance and the Co-Musical Producers Gerry Wonda and Carl Carlton

Electric Burma further included a very special live performance of “Toast To Freedom,” the exclusive commemorative song celebrating the 50th anniversary of Amnesty International.
“It was a great honor perform ‘Toast To Freedom’ for Aung Saan Su Kyi,” said Carlton. “She stands for everything I believe in and fight and write for. She is not only a guiding light but a voice for every soul in this universe in the name of human rights. She is the spirit of ‘Toast To Freedom’.”

More than just a celebration of Aung San Suu Kyi’s remarkable life’s work, Electric Burma also stands as an important opportunity to echo the powerful message that she and Amnesty International have long supported: that human rights matter.

All profits from Electric Burma will go to Amnesty International and the Daw Aung San Suu Kyi Trust for Health and Education.

Two new cover songs of "Toast To Freedom"

          On Human Rights Day (December 10, 2012), two new cover songs of the human rights anthem “Toast to Freedom” will be released.

Osnabrueck & Berlin, December 2012

On Human Rights Day, December 10, 2012, two new versions of “Toast to Freedom,” a song that first appeared in May of 2012 in celebration of the human right’s organization’s 50th anniversary will be released. These new versions, each a unique interpretation of the original, continue to spread the organization’s human rights message.

The School of Music at Osnabrueck/Germany, together with citizens of the city, has recorded a dance version of the Amnesty International anthem “Toast to Freedom.”

More than forty students at the Institute for Music of the College at Osnabrueck, the symphony orchestra of Osnabrueck and thousands of local citizens have turned recordings of the Amnesty International anthem “Toast To Freedom” into a demonstration for freedom that’s truly one-off-a-kind! Moreover, they blazed unexpected musical trails with a dance version of the song dubbed as “Toast to Freedom – The Freedom City Mix.” As Kurt Stolle, who studies music production at the college’s Institute for Music, explains, “together with professor Axel Wernecke, we set out to make the song more appealing to youth, also in order to familiarize this demographic with Amnesty and its human rights mission.” The project – inspired by Osnabrueck musician and journalist Heinz Rebellius - was initially intended only to include students at the college. However, as Martin Behrens, director of the Pop studies program, explains, “it soon dawned on us to include not only the Osnabrueck symphony orchestra, but the entire city!” For this the annual May street festival delivered the perfect opportunity. The festival enabled a chorus of thousands of Osnabrueck residents to gather together in the main square of the town, which has already for centuries been known as the “Freedom City.” top of site

Carl Carlton, composer and lyricist for the original version of the song, also expressed admiration for the “Freedom City Mix” of his song: “Many versions of this song are currently spreading the spirit of Amnesty International throughout the world, and this makes me indescribably happy as a songwriter. The fact that the entire city of Osnabrueck joined in creating this version is something very special. You can see the enthusiasm in the video: the stage performers and audience members practically melt together as one – that’s how it should be!” City mayor Boris Pistorius noted that the song fits in perfectly with the history of Osnabrueck, whose town hall famously hosted the “Peace of Westphalia” in 1648. Treaties signed here put an end to the bloody Thirty Years War. Since then, Osnabrueck has been known as the “Freedom City (Die Friedensstadt).” Pistorius added, “I am convinced that ‘Toast to Freedom – The Freedom City Mix’ embodies the power of freedom, and now many people around the world will have a chance to hear that.”

Get it on iTunes
Get it on iTunes Amazon

top of siteIn May of this year, Amnesty International sponsored the worldwide release of “Toast to Freedom.” The anthem, written by Carl Carlton (Robert Palmer, Eric Burdon, Peter Maffay, and Udo Lindenberg) and Larry Campbell (Bob Dylan, Levon Helm, Elvis Costello) became an important part of the human rights organization’s 50th anniversary celebration. Recorded with a multitude of international stars, including Ewan MacGregor, Kris Kristofferson, Donald Fagen, Rosanne Cash, the Gentleman, Jane Birkin, Carly Simon and many more, the song made its striking debut on the Jay Leno Show in the U.S.. Since then, “Toast to Freedom” has traveled the world, where many have recorded new versions of the song.

With her version of “Toast to Freedom - The Berlin Mix”, young artist Luca wins the “Toast to Freedom” song contest.

Coinciding with the release of “Toast to Freedom,” Amnesty also sponsored a competition encouraging musicians all over the world to enter their own musical interpretations and arrangements of this catchy tune. Of the many entries received, “Toast to Freedom – The Berlin Mix” by the young Berlin artist Luca, was unanimously chosen by the judges as the winner. Inspired by Berlin’s own struggles against tyranny, Luca succeeded in creating a moving arrangement that captures a deep and intense yearning for freedom. Accompanied only by sister Maria on cello and by unadorned acoustic guitar and fragmentary bass, Luca’s “Toast to Freedom – The Berlin Mix” delivers equal parts reality and rapture. Appropriately, the song’s video is set on both the rooftops and the streets of the city. Luca’s version was also a clear winner for songwriter Carlton: “The message of the original, which is about each individual’s right to freedom and the protection of human rights around the world, is in Lucas’ version transformed into a very personal one. In the original, we used many musicians to create a powerful and colorful sound, and to do justice to a multicultural understanding of rights and freedoms. By contrast, Lucas’ version is fragile, sensitive, but at the same time it delivers a very concrete message. This is a young voice coming forward to make the point that the fight for freedom and human rights takes place in our very own back yards every day.” Executive producer Jochen Wilms says, “Luca’s Berlin Mix adds a new and very personal dimension to the artistic initiative. She recorded it independently in Berlin and, together with Berlin cameraman Daniel Devecioglu and co-director Tom Richter, also produced her own video - a truly impressive and moving professional production!”

Get it on iTunes top of site

December 10, 2012 is the date on which Human Rights Day will be celebrated, as well as the day on which the Nobel Prize for Freedom will be awarded. Also at this time, Osnabrueck’s “Toast to Freedom – The Freedom City Mix” and Luca’s “Toast to Freedom – The Berlin Mix” will be made available through customary digital download portals on the web, with all proceeds going directly to Art for Amnesty. Additionally videos of both versions will appear on YouTube.

Amnesty International: Toast To Freedom

Cover Toast To Freedom for Amnesty International"Toast To Freedom" - A hymne to freedom!

Amnesty International is concluding its 50th anniversary year celebrations with release of "Toast To Freedom", a new and exclusive commemorative song, performed by a spectacular selection of about 50 iconic artists. (Release-date: 3rd of May 2012).

Written by veteran guitarist/producers Carl Carlton (Robert Palmer, Eric Burdon, Keb Mo) and Larry Campbell (Levon Helm Band, Bob Dylan, Elvis Costello), "Toast To Freedom" is the brainchild of longtime music industry executive, activist, and entrepreneur Jochen Wilms in collaboration with Art for Amnesty founder Bill Shipsey.

"Toast To Freedom" was inspired by Carlton, a longtime supporter of Amnesty International, who suggested teaming up with Wilms on a commemorative project to mark the organization’s 50th anniversary.

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The basic tracks were recorded at the legendary Levon Helm Studios in Woodstock, N.Y, affectionately 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, stages his intimate, multi-artist concert performances known as the “Midnight Ramble.”


Amnesty International...is a Nobel Peace Prize-winning grassroots activist organization with more than 3 million supporters, activists and volunteers in more than 150 countries campaigning for human rights worldwide. The organization investigates and exposes abuses, educates and mobilizes the public, and works to protect people wherever justice, freedom, truth and dignity are denied.

“TOAST TO FREEDOM” perfomred by

Amy Helm
Angelique Kidjo
Axelle Red
Bertha Blades
Blind Boys of Alabama
Carl Carlton
Carly Simon
Christine & The Queens
Christophe Willem
David D’Or
Donald Fagen
Emmanuel Jal
Eric Burdon
Essie Jain
Ewan McGregor
Florent Pagny
Jane Birkin
Jerry “Wyzard” Seay
Jimmy Barnes
John Leventhal
JP Nataf
Keb Mo
Kris Kristofferson
Larry Campbell
Levon Helm
Mahalia Barnes
Marianne Faithfull
Matthew Houck
Max Buskohl
Moses Mo
Nacho Campillo
Pascal Kravetz
Rosanne Cash
Shawn Mullins
Sir Samuel
Sonny Landreth
Sussan Deyhim
Taj Mahal
Teresa Williams
Vida Simon
Warren Haynes
Wayne P. Sheehy
Zackary Alford
Executive Producers: Bill Shipsey and Jochen Wilms
Produced by Bob Clearmountain
Co-Produced and Written by Carl Carlton & Larry Campbell   

top of siteBuy/download at iTunes Buy/download at Amazon

For more information:

Toast To Freedom Website
Toast To Freedom on Facebook
Toast To Freedom on Twitter
Toast To Freedom on YouTube
Amnesty International

Many thanks to all participants for all the material about the project!