Concerts for a Landmine Free World

An intimate, unplugged evening with some of North America’s finest singer/songwriters.

The "Concerts for a Landmine Free World" tour features six exceptional artists sharing songs and stories in an intimate, acoustic setting. Singer/songwriters Emmylou Harris, Steve Earle, Nanci Griffith, Bruce Cockburn , Mary Chapin Carpenter and John Prine join forces to create a unique musical event and to raise public awareness of the Campaign for a Landmine Free World.

The tour being presented by the Vietnam Veterans of America Foundation (VVAF) in Canada and the U.S. December 2 – 7, 2000, will coincide with the 3rd anniversary of the Ottawa Landmines Treaty. The project has been spearheaded by Emmylou Harris, who became actively involved in the landmine issue three years ago after accompanying Bobby Muller, president of the VVAF and co-founder of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines, on a trip to Cambodia and Vietnam. As a result of her first-hand exposure to the devastation in that mine-infested region, she embarked on an effort to bring other musicians to the cause. She has introduced the landmine issue to an extraordinary array of well-known artists who have since become involved in supporting the work of the Campaign for a Landmine Free World. The extraordinary public response to the inaugural "Concerts for a Landmine Free World" tour presented in California in 1999 led to the creation of this current tour project.

The Campaign for a Landmine Free World is a new and more comprehensive effort to address the danger and damage caused by antipersonnel landmines being launched by the VVAF, the Washington, D.C.-based international humanitarian organization which co-founded and coordinated the International Campaign to Ban Landmines and was co-recipient of the 1997 Nobel Peace Prize. This new initiative moves beyond calling for a ban and tackles the difficult job of determining how best to clear the millions of landmines that threaten the limbs and lives of people around the world. Surveying landmine areas, assisting victims, and educating the public about the menace of landmines is the focus of this new campaign.

The tour is being organized for the VVAF by the National Council for the Traditional Arts, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to the presentation of folk and traditional arts since its founding in 1933.

ABOUT THE ARTISTS

Emmylou Harris

Long regarded as one of America’s premier interpretive singers, Emmylou Harris released her first album more than two decades ago. Her silvery voice has caressed aching ballads, stomping rock, old-time, acoustic rap and everything in between. Harris was born in Birmingham, Alabama, and grew up near Washington, D.C. As a college student in the late 60s, she sang with a local folk duo and eventually moved to Greenwich Village where she played clubs on the local folk scene. She was "discovered" in 1971 by Chris Hillman which led to work with her original mentor Gram Parsons on his first solo album in 1972. In 1975 she made her major label debut with Pieces of the Sky. To date, she has released 25 albums which showcase not only her talents as a singer and songwriter, but as a connoisseur of songs. Harris’ ability to embrace Bruce Springsteen, Donna Summer, A. P. Carter, Chuck Berry and John Hiatt with equal aplomb has resulted in 27 Top 10 hits and 7 Grammys, most recently the 1996 Grammy for Best Contemporary Folk Album for Wrecking Ball.

Steve Earle

Singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Steve Earle is one of America’s premier musical resources. Raised in Schertz, Texas (17 miles north of San Antonio), he began playing guitar at the age of 11. At 14, he left home and at 19 left Texas for Nashville, Tennessee to pursue his professional musical career. He paid the bills along the way by framing houses, working on oil rigs, on shrimp boats and in restaurants. In creating his fine songs, Earle draws upon American musical styles that range from country to blues, from rock and roll to urban grunge. Since 1994 and his release from prison on drug charges, Earle has set about living clean and sober. He has reclaimed his musical gifts and is writing and performing the best music of his life – no small achievement for an artists with an acclaimed run of albums and singles already to his credit. His latest releases include the Grammy-nominated Train a Comin’ (1995), I Feel Alright (1996), El Corazón (1997) and The Mountain (1999).

Mary Chapin Carpenter

An accomplished and gifted singer and songwriter whose lyrics capture the essence of real life experiences in an extraordinary way, Mary Chapin Carpenter’s genre-blending music is embraced by a wide range of audiences. Her 1987 debut album, Hometown Girl, was followed in 1989 by State of the Heart which contained the Top Ten singles "Never Had It So Good" and "Quittin’ Time." In 1990, the album Shooting Straight in the Dark went platinum and produced the number one single "Down At The Twist and Shout," which won the Grammy for Best Country Vocal Performance/Female. Her fourth album, Come On Come On, went triple platinum and garnered three Grammys, seven hit singles including "He Thinks He’ll Keep Her" and a two-year stint at the top of Billboard’s charts. The introspective Stones In The Road won Mary Chapin her first Grammy for Best Country Album and an unprecedented fourth consecutive Grammy for Best Country Vocal Performance/Female. In addition to her work on albums, movie soundtracks and musicals, Mary Chapin has published two children’s books and supports a number of humanitarian projects.

Bruce Cockburn

Bruce Cockburn is one of today’s most innovative singer/songwriters and has earned a place of distinction in the world of popular music. His 30-year-long, 24-album career continues to flourish today. He had reaped 10 JUNO’s, 18 gold and platinum records, and international songwriting and performance awards. His rich catalogue of material is in demand and has been recorded by such diverse talents as Jerry Garcia, The Barenaked Ladies, Anne Murray, Dan Fogelberg and the Oysterband, to name only a few. Cockburn has long been committed to involvement in a number of social issues. He was instrumental in helping the Haida Indians preserve the rain forests in the Queen Charlotte Islands, and remains active in efforts to secure North American Native rights. In September of 1995, he made a return trip to Mozambique to investigate the post-war problem of landmines and to see if the situation had improved since his last fact-finding mission there for OXFAM in 1988. Upon his return, he embarked upon a cross-Canada speaking/media tour to make public what he had seen. He has been a driving force in the Canadian-led initiative which has thus far persuaded 130 nations to sign the international treaty outlawing the manufacture, export, stockpiling and use of antipersonnel landmines.

Nanci Griffith

Nanci Griffith began her career at age 14, with her "West Texas liberal parents" chaperoning her on the Austin club circuit. In the late ‘70s and early ’80s, Nanci brought her self-described "folkabilly " to Nashville as one of the new generation of folk/country/pop artists which also included Lyle Lovett, Dwight Yoakam, and Steve Earle. During nearly twenty years of writing and performing, Griffith has gathered fervent admirers among legendary artists (Bob Dylan requested Griffith perform at his anniversary concert) as well as the millions of fans she’s reached through relentless touring, playing everywhere from Texas honky-tonks to Carnegie Hall. Griffith’s body of work includes some of country music’s most enduring hits including Willie Nelson and Emmylou Harris’ version of "Gulf Coast Highway," Kathy Mattea’s "Love at the Five and Dime," and Suzy Bogguss’ "Outbound Plane" as well as over a dozen acclaimed solo albums. Since 1986, she’s garnered five Grammy nominations, with her first win (for Best contemporary Folk Performance) coming in 1993 for Other Voices, Other Rooms. She also has received two Grammys for her performances with the famed Irish ensemble, the Chieftains.

John Prine (December 3,4, and 5 only)

John Prine – songwriter, Grammy winner, former postman - is one of the most sharply observant storytellers the folk/country scene has produced. He has built a career on penetrating portraits like "Angel >From Montgomery," "Sam Stone," "Hello In There," "Unwed Fathers" and "Paradise" and irreverent social commentary ("Blow Up Your TV" and "Your Flag Decal Won’t Get You Into Heaven Any More"). On his most recent CD, In Spite of Ourselves, he has put together a collection of overlooked classic country love duets and recorded them with talented women singers including Emmylou Harris, Patty Loveless, Trisha Yearwood, Iris DeMent, Lucinda Williams, Melba Montgomery, Connie Smith and famed Irish singer Dolores Keane. But it took a lot longer to finish the recording than he’d expected. What was to have been completed in three weeks, took three years. In the middle of the project Prine was diagnosed with cancer of the neck and underwent treatment. During his post-treatment transition, he got a call from Billy Bob Thornton who asked Prine to play his brother in the upcoming Miramax film "Daddy & Them." For Prine, who had not sung during his recovery, it provided the perfect bridge back to the working world. Now, with 18 months without recurrence and his voice strong, he’s singing again.

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