June 23, 2002

The event celebrated the recent release from house arrest of pro-democracy leader and Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi but also served as a crucial reminder that the campaign for democracy in Burma is at a critical stage, and your support is needed now more than ever. As Aung San Suu Kyi has said: “My release should not be looked at as a major breakthrough for democracy. For all people in Burma to enjoy basic freedom – that would be the major breakthrough”.

The evening included performances from an array of artists… from comedians such as John Hegley, Lee Mack, Tony Hawks, Omid Djalili and stalwart supporter and comedienne Maureen Lipman to musicians such as Jamie Catto & Duncan Bridgeman – creators of 1Giant Leap (see below) appearing with Fran Healy, Faithless and Horace Andy. Also featuring Clive Rowe from West End hit Chicago.

The show also featured a video piece contributed by MTV by artists such as Dennis Hopper, Pierce Brosnan, Alanis Morissette, Ronan Keating, Sheryl Crow, Lenny Kravitz, Jamiroquai, Mary J Blige, Macey Grey… and many more.

A Review of the event by Jamie Catto from 1 Giant Leap

Wow! What an absolutely beautiful night!

The show was at the gorgeous Royal Court Theatre in Sloane Square, London, and it was to raise awareness and money for the Free Burma Campaign. Burma has been suffering under a nightmarish military regime for decades. The military literary USE the citizens of that country as if they were slaves for their own profit and run a sweatshop forcing literally MILLIONS to toil so that some Western and (I think) Asian companies can make their products cheaper. The heroine of the night and inspiration to her country for decades was AUNG SAN SUU KYI who has recently been released from house arrest and prison after many years. She won the 1991 Nobel Peace prize and had a beautiful video message for the audience in London. She said “I don’t believe ‘Freedom’ is a word we should whisper, so for all of you joining our cause I say it loud and clear…FREEDOM.” and she reminded us that the reason we all enjoy our own ‘rights’ and ‘freedom’ is that people fought for it in the past. We would not live with all the rights and freedom we enjoy now if past generations had not fought for us. Now it’s our turn to ‘fight’ for theirs.

The concert began with a film edit of many stars whispering ‘freedom’ such as Bono, Dennis Hopper, Lenny Kravitz, Alanis Morrisette, and then a Burmese Monk blessed the evening with a brief ceremony. Then there were many comedians and musicians performing on a beautifully cluttered stage. First Maxi Jazz of Faithless with me and Duncan, Frank Byng (percussion), Aubrey Nunn (Bass), Geoff Dugmore (Drums) and Dave Randall (Slovo) played an unplugged version of the Faithless track ‘Reverence’. Then, Horace Andy sang ‘Money Money Money’ (is the root of all evil…) which was fantastic. After another brilliant comedian it was our turn to play ‘Racing Away’, again with Horace, and me singing Grant Lee Phillips’ part. In the second half, Fran Healey from Travis opened with ‘Turn’. It was great to see just him and a guitar, raw at the front of the stage. Then Slovo played ‘Sertao Blues’, and newcomer Mike Rosenberg played his song ‘Stay’ which wowed the audience as he’s only 18. You could have heard a pin drop, it was stunning. There were other contributions, one operatic from Madame Butterfly and Clive Rowe ended the evening singing ‘Something Inside So Strong’ by Labbe Siffri. What a vibe!

Everyone had a wonderful day and evening and it was largely thanks to a lady called Svenja who works at MTV UK. She co-ordinated and set up the whole thing pretty much, and MTV themselves shelled out thousands of pounds to support the event.

It was, by all accounts, a great success! Do find out about the Free Burma campaign if you can, and get involved. If we don’t, who will?

Jamie Catto 1GiantLeap

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