Thursday, April 16, 2009

I Dreamed a Dream + When I'm Gone - simple vids

A simple post now. We rarely have any video footage of Allison Crowe, however, we do see some beautiful still photography from Allison's friend, and fellow-musician, Billie Woods.

The images accompanying both of these vids come from Woods' portfolio - and were captured in concert at the Edmonds Centre for the Arts, Edmonds, Washington, USA on January 31, 2009.

First up is Allison's performance of Fantine's "I Dreamed a Dream" from Les Miserables - words and music by Alain Boublil & Claude-Michel Schönberg) - found on her "Live at Wood Hall" double-album.

US music blog Muruch says: "Here Allison Crowe once again proves that there is no song too great for her powerful voice to conquer. Her vocals on 'I Dreamed A Dream' are especially potent and moving. As with her cover of 'Hallelujah', she seems to put every fiber of her being into the song and it's an awe inspiring thing to hear."

British and American "reality" tv talent show maven Simon Cowell's newest signing looks to be Susan Boyle, from Blackburn, West Lothian, Scotland. Her recent appearance on the UK program "Britain's Got Talent" singing "I Dreamed a Dream" has brought the song to the front of public attention - much as Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah" was brought to a mass audience via "X Factor"-winner Alexandra Burke.

In times when much of the world is being bombarded by news stories that make people fearful and distressed, the story of an underdog wins hearts and minds.

This song has been rarely performed by Allison - I remember this time so well ( :

And, here's Allison performing Phil Ochs' elegiac "When I'm Gone":

With this choice, Allison gives a nod to, not only the late great activist/singer-songwriter, Ochs, but, also, to righteous babe Ani DiFranco who's recorded this song for the soundtrack of "Steal This Movie" - a film based on the life and adventures of '60s radical, Yippie Abbie Hoffman. Crowe's recording of "When I'm Gone" is on her newest album/CD, "Little Light".

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"Give Peace a Chance: John & Yoko's Bed-In for Peace" celebrated by new Allison Crowe video

“Once upon a time, there were two balloons called Jock and Yono,” begins John Lennon’s ’airy tale on The Beatles’ 1968 Christmas record.

It was a time when the actions of popular musicians and artists could be aimed to make us think - not just buy.

"We're going to sell peace the way other people sell soap", Lennon told a young photo-journalist Gerry Deiter. In the Spring of 1969, Deiter was assigned by LIFE Magazine to document the “Bed-In for Peace” staged by John Lennon and Yoko Ono at Montreal’s Queen Elizabeth Hotel. As performance art it spanned eight days a week - from May 25 to June 1 '69 - and was designed to bring attention to social issues of the day and, particularly, the US war in Vietnam.

Born in 1934 in Brooklyn, New York, Dieter emigrated to Canada during the war in Vietnam. He was the only photographer present for the entire 8 days of the Montreal “Bed-In for Peace”. There he captured hundreds of images of John and Yoko singing, composing, visiting with friends and talking to the media. Lennon and Ono spoke to some 150 journalists during the press conferences they held daily from their bed. June 1, 1969 was the culmination - the recording of “Give Peace A Chance”, now an international peace anthem.

With war fever again poisoning mainstream culture, a few years ago Gerry Deiter retrieved his archival photos. Partnered with Joan Athey, a long-time CBC publicist, and based out of Victoria, Canada, their team mounted exhibitions to renew the message of peace and understanding.

On December 10, 2005, just days after launching an exhibition at the Royal British Columbia Museum, and marking the 25th anniversary of John Lennon’s assassination, photographer, newsman, and life-long activist Gerry Dieter passed away following an heart attack.

Dieter’s son Nathaniel inherited the iconic prints, and, keeping her promise to spread the word, Joan Athey acquired a collection of these rarely-seen images.

Now... these images come together in the book "Give Peace a Chance: John & Yoko's Bed-In for Peace". Photography by Gerry Deiter. Compiled by Joan Athey. Edited by Paul McGrath. Published by John Wiley and Sons.

The book launch happens this Sunday, April 19, at 2 p.m. in the Collard Room, Swans Pub, 506 Pandora Ave., Victoria, BC, Canada. International book events are scheduled for: May 12, Gershwin Hotel at 8 pm time in New York City (generously sponsored by the Gershwin); and May 26, at Toronto’s Stephen Bulger Gallery. Photo exhibitions open May 26 in Liverpool, England at “The Beatles Story” and June 12 at the Bethel Woods Arts Centre, (Woodstock Festival) in New York.

Canadian musician Allison Crowe, one of her generation’s most independent and acclaimed singer-songwriters, is honoured to do her part in celebrating the book and the 40th anniversary of the Bed-In. In 2007, Crowe proved a sensation at the John Lennon Northern Lights Festival - named the UK's best new music festival. In 2008 she headlined a concert for the John Lennon Memorial Garden in Durness, Scotland.

This week, she’s created a new video uniting dozens of Gerry Deiter’s images of the 1969 Bed-In with a recording of “Imagine” - captured “Live at Wood Hall”, in concert in 2005 at the Victoria Conservatory of Music.

Allison Crowe's videos have been enjoyed by over five million people globally. Her audience online grows by over 200,000 people each month. The bicoastal singer-songwriter, (whose home territory covers Nanaimo, BC to Corner Brook, NL), has just completed a concert tour of coastal BC with her new band. The quartet next perform dates in Newfoundland before an European tour that takes them to Edinburgh, London, Aachen, Frankfurt, Berlin, Prague, Vienna and more cities. Details tba.

Imagine peace. May we all live “hopefully ever after”.

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