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Mumford & Sons, U2 Revive Classic Protest Songs for Global Music Campaign

June 11, 2013  |  9:30am
Mumford & Sons, U2 Revive Classic Protest Songs for Global Music Campaign

With over 3,000,000 members, the ONE Campaign has been making leaps and bounds in the fight against extreme poverty. Yesterday the organization, co-founded by Bono, launched agit8, a music-based campaign designed to build pressure for action against extreme poverty. Agit8, a massive undertaking that combines work from internationally acclaimed artists, filmmakers, actors and activists, is taking the place the week before the G8 Summit in Northern Ireland.

Agit8 hopes to reach the masses this week and invigorate a new generation to help fight the global injustices of extreme poverty and hunger. ONE states that by 2030, extreme global poverty can be ended completely. This “anti-apathy campaign” will provide new videos of beloved artists and swiftly rising contemporary stars covering classic protest songs, a film by Richard Curtis projected on the Tate Modern in London and many impromptu live performances. All of this to help spark the fire of change in a new generation.

“Music to me is one of those things that brings people together,” Jeff Davidoff, Chief Marketing Officer of the ONE Campaign said. “Music is inherently emotional and connecting. Advocacy is about a movement, it’s not about one person doing it, it’s about a whole bunch of people doing it together. Music and movement just go together.”

Artists like Mumford & Sons, U2, Elvis Costello and Macklemore & Ryan Lewis have teamed up with ONE, along with artists from all over the globe, to cover a wide array of protest songs curated by a musicologist with ONE. Buskers, YouTube performers and indie artists alike will stand amongst a level playing field with these massively successful artists as their voices reach the masses through the use of digital media.

“The thing that is most exciting is the collective of artists,” Davidoff said. “So you have these standout protest voices like Tom Morello next to these new voices like Ed Sheeran, who’s doing an incredible cover of Bob Dylan’s ‘Masters of War,’ bringing that really harsh old protest song to a whole new audience.”

While Davidoff spoke of a few covers that will be a part of the Agit8 campaign—like Matisyahu covering “Redemption Song”—he feels that Ed Sheeran stands out in the crowd, exemplifying the goal of Agit8.

“Ed Sheeran is 22 and has 6.5 million Twitter followers. I guarantee you that hardly any of his fans/followers have ever heard of this song. The idea that he, as a hot-contemporary artist, is bringing that song to life for a whole new generation is really what this is all about.”

ONE will be providing a complete run-down on the history of protest music, chronicling each song’s origins and providing alternate performances of each storied track. With an astounding array of musicians sharing personal playlists of their favorite protest songs and covering various classics, ONE is leading by example and showcasing the overwhelming amount of power that a voice truly contains. Check it out here.

Watch Mumford & Sons and Elvis Costello cover Bruce Springsteen’s “The Ghost of Tom Joad” below.

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