For­ever Dy­lan

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - MUSIC - By CAITLIN R. KING Chime­sof­free­dom:thesong­sof­bob­dy­lan­honor­ing50year­so­famnesty In­ter­na­tional

A Bob Dy­lan trib­ute al­bum with a mod­ern mind-set to cel­e­brate Amnesty In­ter­na­tional’s golden an­niver­sary.

ANY­ONE who ever doubted the trans­for­ma­tive power of Bob Dy­lan’s mu­sic need only look to Ke$ha. Yes, Ke$ha. The ir­rev­er­ent pop star known for singing about brush­ing her teeth with “a bot­tle of Jack” turns poignant while cov­er­ing a song from one of mu­sic’s great lyri­cists on the new four-disc Chimes of Free­dom: The Songs Of Bob Dy­lan Hon­our­ing 50 Years Of Amnesty In­ter­na­tional. The project fea­tures 75 newly recorded Dy­lan songs by 80 artistes, in­clud­ing Malaysian singer-song­writer Zee Avi, Adele, Sting, Su­gar­land, Elvis Costello, hip hop artist K’naan and oth­ers to sup­port the hu­man rights or­gan­i­sa­tion. Ke$ha is one of the more un­likely stars to con­trib­ute to the com­pi­la­tion avail­able now. The pop star de­fined by party an­thems like Tik Tok and Your Love Is My Drug took on Dy­lan’s Don’t Think Twice, It’s Al­right. As she found her­self alone in her be­d­room for the first time in months, the words of the song – about a per­son bid­ding good­bye to a lover - took on a new, deeply per­sonal mean­ing. She re­alised she was say­ing good­bye to her care­free, for­mer life – be­fore big hits and world tours brought on pres­sure and pri­or­i­ties. She broke down as she be­gan singing, and the emo­tion is cap­tured on the record.

“Ev­ery­thing has changed. It’s amaz­ing, but there are mo­ments that are in­cred­i­bly lonely. This caught me at one of those in­cred­i­bly lonely mo­ments, and it re­ally struck home. There’s a line, ‘It’s KNOCKED side­ways a decade ago by on­line piracy, the record in­dus­try had a spring in its step in the run-up to the Midem trade fair last week­end, buoyed by fig­ures sug­gest­ing le­gal down­load­ing has taken off for good.

“As we en­ter 2012, there are good rea­sons for op­ti­mism in the world of dig­i­tal mu­sic,” Frances Moore, head of the In­ter­na­tional Fed­er­a­tion of the Phono­graphic In­dus­try (IFPI), told re­porters ahead of the an­nual Riviera event, which ran from Jan 28-31.

In­dus­try fig­ures show the dig­i­tal mu­sic busi­ness reg­is­ter un­prece­dented global ex­pan­sion in 2011 – sug­gest­ing mu­sic lovers are fi­nally turn­ing their backs on piracy and are will­ing to pay to down­load the records they want.

Moore, whose or­gan­i­sa­tion rep­re­sents the in­ter­ests of the record­ing in­dus­try, says “con­sumer choice has been rev­o­lu­tionised” and that le­gal down­load ser­vices with ex­pand­ing au­di­ences now reach across the globe.

Last year saw a jump in the reach of dig­i­tal mu­sic ser­vices, with sites such as Spo­tify, Deezer and Sony’s Mu­sic Un­lim­ited now avail­able in 58 coun­tries world­wide com­pared with 23 at the start of 2011. a long and lone­some road, babe, where I’m bound I can’t tell.’ It’s trag­i­cally rel­e­vant,” said Ke$ha.

“I think these are all pos­i­tive things for young peo­ple to see that you can be strong and you can be ir­rev­er­ent and you can say what you want and you have the free­dom of speech, but I’ve learned that vul­ner­a­bil­ity is ac­tu­ally an as­set. It can be just as much of an as­set as strength.”

Ke$ha isn’t the only eye-pop­ping name on the com­pi­la­tion: Nine­teen-year-old Mi­ley Cyrus does a ren­di­tion of You’re Gonna Make Me Lone­some When You Go. The project has a wide range of acts, from Ma­roon 5 to 92-year-old folk leg­end Pete Seeger, who sings For­ever Young with a chil­dren’s cho­rus. Dy­lan waived the pub­lish­ing rights to his en­tire cat­a­logue, and all of the artistes, mu­si­cians, engineers and oth­ers in­volved in the record­ing process did ev­ery­thing pro bono.

Aero­smith gui­tarist Joe Perry, who recorded Man Of Peace, de­scribes it as “thin ice” to cover an artist as iconic as Dy­lan, be­cause not only are his songs bril­liant, but his per­for­mances of those songs have

Dig­i­tal mu­sic rev­enues grew an es­ti­mated eight per­cent to Us$5.2bil in 2011, while the num­ber of peo­ple pay­ing to sub­scribe to mu­sic ser­vices leapt 65% to 13.4 mil­lion be­come so revered them­selves.

“(Artists like Dy­lan) know where (the songs) live and breathe and where the heart­beat is. So cov­er­ing them can be a touchy thing,” said Perry, who recorded the Dy­lan song Man Of Peace. “Hope­fully you don’t make it dif­fer­ent just for the sake of mak­ing it dif­fer­ent. I just wanted to kind of rein­ter­pret my take on the song and just have fun singing it.”

Leg­endary coun­try artiste and ac­tor Kris Kristof­fer­son con­sid­ers Dy­lan a per­sonal friend but says he’s been an in­spi­ra­tion and a hero a lot longer than that. Johnny Cash in­tro­duced them while Kristof­fer­son was work­ing as a jan­i­tor at Columbia Record­ing Stu­dios in Nashville in the 1960s.

At 75, Kristof­fer­son says he has been around long enough to un­der­stand and ap­pre­ci­ate Dy­lan’s im­pact on mu­sic.

“If you look at pop songs be­fore Dy­lan, none of them were po­etry like his are. He opened up the doors for creative writ­ers and made song­writ­ing to me what it is to­day,” said Kristof­fer­son, who cov­ers Quinn The Eskimo (The Mighty Quinn).

“Mu­sic was a whole lot dif­fer­ent world­wide, IFPI es­ti­mates show.

The in­dus­try looks to be emerg­ing from a 10-year cri­sis and on­line mu­sic sales are fi­nally prov­ing vi­able. when I was a lit­tle kid. Pop mu­sic was lifted up as an art form by Bob Dy­lan.”

Bri­tish pop singer Natasha Bed­ing­field recorded Ring Them Bells in Nashville dur­ing her US tour last year. She said she used to lis­ten to it as a kid with her brother and sis­ter.

“To me the song is about free­dom, ‘ Ring them bells for the blind and the deaf, for the in­no­cent,”’ she said. “For me it felt quite poignant, par­tic­u­larly for this al­bum, where Amnesty is all about peo­ple who are be­ing un­justly treated.”

Chimes Of Free­dom is a fol­low-up to Amnesty In­ter­na­tional’s 2007 col­lec­tion of John Len­non songs per­formed by ma­jor artists, called In­stant Karma, which raised over Us$4mil for their ef­forts in Dar­fur.

“Mu­sic has been at the heart of so many move­ments for change,” said Julie Yan­natta, who served as the al­bum’s ex­ec­u­tive pro­ducer with Jeff Ayeroff. “Mu­sic has a way of re­mind­ing us who we are at our essence and what we need to do to live to­gether in a bet­ter world, and Amnesty is very much a part of that.” – AP

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