Wednesday, October 1, 2008

IJM's AMJ tour @ CPC

IJM stands for International Justice Mission and is a human rights agency that is made up of lawyers, investigators and aftercare professionals. IJM finds communities that have extreme corruption and massive exploitation, usually in the form of forced-labor slavery, human trafficking, sexual exploitation, and/or police brutality. They figure out how that community runs, infiltrate the systems, rescue victims and prosecute those responsible. IJM was founded by Gary Haugen, the man who gathered all the evidence needed for the investigation of the Rwandan genocide on behalf of the United Nations. After Rwanda, Haugen determined that there was a need in the world for an organization whose sole purpose was to make sure that horrific acts of oppression like the many that took place in Rwanda were put to an end. The result was IJM. Although IJM is still relatively small, in 2007 alone, IJM rescued 1663 victims.

IJM now has a AMJ tour going on until October 26th - AMJ standing for Art, Music, Justice, and I was lucky enough to be invited to attend one of the concerts last night. The line-up consisted Sara Groves, Sandra McCracken, Charlie Peacock, Brandon Heath and Derek Webb. Those of you who are religious may recognize them as Christian musicians- IJM, like it's founder, has a core of Christian morals, hence the Christian artists- but, mind you, it wasn't all "praise god" every which way, moreso a nod towards the religious roots. The focus was all on the horrible conditions that many people live through every day and simply raising awareness of IJM and its purpose. The concert opened up with all 5 musicians onstage while the video screens played a film showing a collection of images and quotes as well as clips from Dr. Martin Luther King's I Have a Dream speech. The musicians from then on out each got their time in the spotlight with their respective songs, with a little collaboration here and there.

I've gotta tell you- and I know that many out there may roll their eyes at this- but I think sometimes Christian music can just be so powerful in the way that the songs are constructed- the pure compositional aspect of it. For some reason, I feel that often a modern Christian song will contain more sophisticated chord progressions than a song from any other genre out there on the radio these days - maybe it's partly influenced by these musicians being raised on hymns or something, I don't know, but still...the quality of chordal music found within the Christian genre can be so remarkably solid and Then again, that's just my opinion, you're welcome to disagree with me. But many times throughout this concert I couldn't help but think to myself, "Now this is quality music. This is real."

Sara Groves was pretty much responsible for this tour, and she has been actively helping others for a long time now. She and her family adopted a village and hope to have each one of the 1000 children in it sponsored by the end of the tour- she is obviously heart and soul for this cause. She sang "I saw what I saw" live with the video playing on the screens behind her. Check it out, and enjoy a mp3 from each artist (save for Charlie Peacock) featured in this wonderful and meaningful tour.

Rich Young Ruler by Derek Webb [mp3]
Add to the Beauty by Sara Groves [mp3]
I'm Not Who I Was by Brandon Heath [mp3]
Lock and Key by Sandra McCracken [mp3]

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