Thursday, September 24, 2009

War doesn't work - music does

The Citizens

By Meredith Deliso

On October 2, the World March for Peace and Nonviolence kicks off in New Zealand, but you don’t have to be in the Southern Hemisphere to celebrate.

That night, the Brooklyn Lyceum in Park Slope is hosting its own kick-off party for the World March, a call for the dismantling of nuclear weapons and for an end to all forms of war and violence, complete with music, art and a live feed of the international festivities.

When Mark Lesseraux heard about the march, which begins fittingly on Ghandi’s birthday and ends January 2, 2010, in Argentina, he knew he needed to do something.

“One of my thoughts was, how could we assist with music,” said Lesseraux, of Park Slope. “I always feel like music is really helpful in bringing people together.”

So, reaching out to friends and friends of friends, Lesseraux recruited the bill’s diverse local acts, which includes funk rockers Earthdriver, the neo-soul act Imani Uzuri, salsa singer Choco Orta, drum and bass outfit Red Baraat, Mahina Movement, and Lesseraux’s own band, alternative rock group The Citizens, most of whom, like the march, have a political and social conscious.

“Everybody kind of agreed that we want to live in a world where not only physical violence gets phased out, things like bombs and war, but also the violence that ends up creating war – economic violence, religious violence, sexual violence,” said Lesseraux, who will have a song he wrote, “We Want Peace on Earth,” included on a Sony Records CD compilation for the World March.

Thousands of people have endorsed the march, including Noam Chomsky, Lou Reed, Art Garfunkel, and Jimmy Carter, which will pass through six continents and 90 countries over the course of three months. The night of the kick-off, the Lyceum party will feature live hook-ups from around the globe, as well as art and photos.

“My hope is that not only will our show be a kick off for the march, but that the march will be a kick off for a whole new way of being in the world, where nonviolence is not an old aesthetic idea. Not that Ghandi wasn’t great, but for 2009, people are looking for something that fits with the times,” said Lesseraux. “Practically speaking, war doesn’t work anymore. We need to stop it.”

The World March kick off party is October 2 at the Brooklyn Lyceum (227 Fourth Avenue). Doors open at 7 p.m., with the show at 8 p.m. Tickets are $10 online, $15 at the door. For more information, call 718-857-4816.


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