Lennon remake album offers aid, awareness

Christie Leigh Babirad

During the short part of his life after the Beatles, John Lennon stood up, or occasionally stayed in bed, for what he believed in. He was for fairness and equality, as his music testifies. Amnesty International has put together a campaign to raise money for the people of Sudan. “Instant Karma” is a collection of Lennon’s songs remade by contemporary artists including Christina Aguilera, U2, Lenny Kravitz, Green Day and Aerosmith, among others. All the proceeds from the CD collection will go to Amnesty International’s work on Darfur and to other human rights crises worldwide.

A conflict that all started with two rebel groups has lead to an estimated 200,000 to 400,000 people dead. The people in Darfur, the largest country in Africa, have been suffering from mass killings and displacement at the hands of a militia group, the Janjaweed. Bombings, raids, murders, raping and torture are part of the daily life of those in Darfur. They are without basic needs and in desperate need of international intervention. Some 2.5 million people have been displaced from their homes. There are several Web sites that claim to be pushing for more legislation to aid those effected by the Darfur genocide.

“Instant Karma’s” objective is to not only raise money, but awareness as well. Informing the rest of the world of the crisis occurring in Darfur through music, this two-disc collection featuring contemporary music artists strives to turn the passive listener into an active one.

Although Avril Lavigne isn’t quite the right voice for the powerful “Imagine,” it is still a good collection of remakes. Green Day’s version of “Working Class Hero” is an amazing take on the already incredibly passionate song. “Whatever Gets You Thru the Night” done by Los Lonely Boys is oddly upbeat, but isn’t totally unappealing. The Black Eyed Peas doing “Power to the People” is a perfect fit.

A Lennon fan would appreciate this album, but someone who is interested in the protest rock of the ’60s and ’70s would also appreciate it.

The album is available in stores and on iTunes.

ReAnne Utemark also contributed to this article.