Darfur CD Project

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A Message from the Berklee Women's Network CD Subcommittee

(Lynette Gittens and Shannon Kim, Cochairs; Janelle Browning, Mitzi Dorbu, and Leanne Ungar, Members)

This CD project began when three women—Linda Mason, wife of Berklee president Roger Brown; Liz Walker, news anchor for Boston CBS-4; and activist Rev. Dr. Gloria White Hammond—were planning a trip to Darfur, Sudan, with the relief group Mercy Corps in 2004. In African tradition, it is a well-known custom that one must never make a visit without bringing something for the host. Given the amazing character and need of the people in Darfur, President Brown proposed the idea for a songwriting competition to the college to create a gift of music and hope for the women and children of Darfur in a way that only Berklee could provide.

Roger contacted Berklee Songwriting chair Jack Perricone, and he quickly mobilized to put this idea into motion. He put out a call to all songwriting majors on campus, and within two weeks a dozen beautiful songs were submitted. The two winners, their bands, and a group of faculty and students were assembled to record the winning compositions. These songs would be the start of Berklee's gift to Darfur...read more




Upon hearing the two songs in the refugee camps, the Sudanese women leapt to their feet and began trilling and singing in jubilant musical response. That beautiful outpouring of emotion in melody and rhythm was recorded and brought back to Berklee with Linda Mason. When she returned, Linda met with the Berklee Women's Network and inspired the group to take action. A subcommittee was formed, and two more songwriting competitions were announced, the last of which included alumni. This time the sounds from the Sudanese women were the inspiration, and their voices can be heard throughout this recording.

The 18 songs chosen were selected by a committee of members from Berklee's administration, faculty, staff, and students, as well as Linda Mason, Melinda Weekes from My Sister's Keeper, and Laura Guimond from Mercy Corps. Production of these songs began in 2005 and with Leanne Ungar, associate professor of Music Production and Engineering, acting as coordinator, engineer, and mentor, 15 faculty members mentored student compositions that were recorded in studios at Berklee, in homes across Massachusetts, and in professional studios in and around Boston.

The Berklee Women's Network Sudan CD Subcommittee participated in this process from the beginning to the end: selecting, shaping, showcasing, and, for some, mastering this CD. To say the journey has been humbling and incredibly worthwhile is an understatement. We would like to thank all of those who have dedicated their time, talent, and energy to this process.

Get the CD
This musical collaboration is a true testament of what can be done when we realize "we are all connected." Thank you for taking part in the efforts to address the suffering in Darfur by purchasing this CD. The CD is available through iTunes">http://phobos.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewAlbum?id=200816119... and CD">http://cdbaby.com/cd/berkleecom">CD Baby. Proceeds from the sale of the CD will benefit the Mercy Corps Darfur Fund.

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