Music: Act Locally, Rock Globally

International-flavored music tour gives peace a chance

G. M. Clausen

Singer Ruthie Bram is one of the global performers on the "EuroRock 2007" tour.

Fourteen bands you've never heard of will be playing a night of short sets Friday at the Madison Theater. Many of the musicians are too young to drink legally, with this tour being their first. So why in the hell should you care?

Because they're rocking the world for peace.

The EuroRock Tour hopes to spread the message of peace through collaboration, traveling coast to coast with a groove and a goal. Backstage Pass Productions founder LouRicca conceived the idea two years ago, bringing proactivity with a hug and smile.

"I know musicians from all over the world, and everyone I talk to wants peace in the world," he says. "I thought why don't we bring everyone together from Europe to America to show everyone we can get along."

Now in its second year, the tour's size and scope are impressive from any angle. The bands hail from Sweden and South Africa and many points in between, with a few Yanks in the mix.

The tour kicked off in New York City Aug. 29 with a televised special, followed by a Walk for Peace through Manhattan in the shape of a heart. Marchers followed a horse-drawn carriage pulling a grand piano to a free outdoor concert while singing John Lennon songs.

The EuroRockers will be stopping by Covington on the East Coast leg of their bi-coast, also heart-shaped tour route. For many of the bands, this is their first tour in the United States. Each night will begin with the solo and piano artists, eventually moving into the harder Rock & Roll acts with special guests in between. The groups and solo artists are diverse in genre, from Classical Pop to Electronic Punk Rock. At many of the show's stops, local acts will open to support the show in true EuroRock synergistic spirit.

In a fashion that could be considered rare for such an altruistic cause, the message of peace caught the eye of many major movers and shakers ­ political and otherwise. Filmmaker Victor Colicchio, writer and producer of films including Summer of Sam and High Times Pot Luck will be following the East Coast leg of the tour for a documentary. With producer Dave Pederson of Super Size Me fame in tow, the crew will interview the bands and locals they meet along the way about peace and how they think peacemaking efforts should be handled.

"The whole focus of the film will be on EuroRock spreading the word of peace," LouRicca says. "That's the mission of EuroRock. Despite the fact that we're all sorts of different musicians from different genres, we're different colors, we're different in every way you could think of, we speak for the people.

"I know in America people don't want war," he says. "And that's the way it goes around the world."

The film crew will certainly catch great footage of a private barn-raising show held at Woodstock, where the EuroRockers were invited to spread the word. Many veterans of the original Woodstock festival, along with many liberal politicians (and potential presidential candidates) will also be on hand.

The circular nature of peace and music (ignoring Woodstock '99) makes the tour's formation all the more interesting. A testament to the global culture and interconnectivity of the Internet, LouRicca found the majority of the tour's participants through MySpace connections.

When looking for an act to represent the Middle East, LouRicca found 18-year-old Ruthie Bram thanks to her lyrically thoughtful songs posted on her page. A refugee of the Lebanese Civil War in 1988, Bram's songs draw inspiration from her experiences and the urge to connect individuals through music.

"Many times people feel isolated in their experiences," Bram says. "Hearing a song about that topic makes them realize that they are part of a larger community of people with similar thoughts and feelings. Music simply brings people together. I want to do that — bring people together with my music."

With 50 percent of the tour's profits going to the Global Fund, an organization fighting AIDS, the tour's message surpasses even the hope that can be found in music. Thanks to its altruistic message, the tour was nominated for the MySpace Impact Awards in the category of International Development.

Philanthropy in the global picture can't discount the message these EuroRockers hope to get across night by night. Dionne Lennon, the youngest participant at 14-years old, views the impact the show will have on audience members to be motivating as well.

"(The audience) is seeing all these bands coming together, not caring where they came from," Lennon says. "What matters is that we're playing for peace, and I think people will be very inspired, especially because we're all very young. We all have so much in common.

"World leaders can't agree on it, but we can come together," she says. "That's such a powerful thing."

Though messages of peace have been heard through music for ages, the power comes not just in the message, but the action.

"I doubt there is much new to be heard from the EuroRockers about peace that has not previously been said by many people in other places and times," Bram says. "However, this is the here and now and it is our turn to put our stamp on the world scene that we find ourselves in. It's our opportunity to take or to ignore."

Not bad for a barely legal chanteuse. Check out Bram, Lennon and others singing for peace. Got something deeper on schedule already? I think not.

The EUROROCK 2007 tour ( stops at the Madison Theater Friday.

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