Artists for Change – Retrospective

Relative to the 100k that took to the stage around the world on Saturday, our crowd was a single grain of sand on a beach. But our sound completely filled the cavernous Spirit of Hope Church in Detroit, and all 100 years or so of its history.

The biggest highlight of the day for me was discovering artists I’ve only heard once before or not at all, the pinnacle of which was Michelle Held, a singer/songwriter who played her first open mic just weeks ago at Black Lotus and stunned the audience with her haunting vocal, which I would describe as what Lisa Gerrard would sound like if she came from Kentucky.

Juan Zo of the Universal Circles Band was another delight: an electro-spacey guitar sound laced with the steady beat of hoop drums that Juan very frankly said was intended to get the kundalini rising, which it did.

After coordinating the whole event with Writer L. Bush, I was finally treated to some of his live poetry, which he delivered with fist-pounding passion.

And the beating heart of it all was Joe Kidd and his partner Sheila Burke, who delivered some soaring folk/roots music that made me think of flying eagles and the sweat of close bodies in brotherhood.

A little something to leave you with, the writings of Joe Kidd himself, sharing what he saw in that experience:

brothers & sisters

yesterday we gathered at spirit of hope church to create an atmosphere

an atmosphere free of pollution

an atmosphere free of contamination

an atmosphere that we may inhale deeply into our lungs

deeply into our minds


it is the breath of life that we have inherited through the ages

it is our birthright to be clean

it is our birthright to be healthy

it is our birthright to be free to sing and to speak the words necessary

to bring forth peace in a free nation, a free tribe

to love and to be loved by friends and partners who inspire us to do good and great acts

it is our duty to drop any and all obstacles that stand in the way of happiness

it is our duty to deny the wishes of our oppressors who browbeat us into submission

with drugs, alcohol, television, medicine and countless other lies and poisons

it is our duty to expose those who fill our hearts with

doubt, fear, greed, jealousy, anger, and hate


let us today stand up together to acknowledge our true purpose

our true destiny and our true legacy


brothers and sisters

let us move our desires for positive change

out from the realm of imagination

and into the realm of exercise


let us exercise our muscles until we feel the burning sensation

that tells us we are strong and getting stronger

that tells us that our legs are able to walk us into any battlefield

as well as any sacred garden

in order to rescue any lost and lonely soul crying out for touch


let us exercise our devotion and our determination

until our hearts are pounding with excitement from the visions

of our prayers becoming reality

let us exercise and work and break our bones

and never stop

except to offer one another an outstreched hand

a smile, a piece of bread, or a drink of water


brothers and sisters

the enemies are a vast and violent hoard

ruthless, merciless, and void of conscience

deepley entrenched but not unmoveable


we must avoid becoming desparate

divided, diverted, diminished , or discouraged

let us learn from those who have cut the path

and handed down the torch

that bears the flame

ignited by the eternal light

of peace, compassion, and charity

let us now honor with our individual and united actions

those who have paid the price with their precious lives

remembering them in song and poetry

and our infinate love

let us now be joyous in our celebration and our commitment

to immortal lives

and lives well lived

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