Inspired by Will.i.am's commitment to Trans4m Boyle Heights and the power of music education, we got to thinking how we could highlight the power of musicians to directly inspire kids. When thinking of musicians attaching themselves to a cause, the most obvious method of creating value for charity is to create something for free, and sell it as a benefit to an organization. We've seen charity compilations hundreds of time, some great, some cheesy, but all in the name of good will -- and some have not only left an impact on the charitable organizations they benefit, but on us as well by connecting up emotionally to a cause (whether explicitly or just by association). Today we'd like to highlight one of our favorite albums to create positive social impacts in supporting the children of a community.
Chickens In Love - 2010
826LA is a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting kids ages six to eighteen with their creative and expository writing skills, and to helping teachers inspire their students to write. Their ideas for fundraising involve quite a bit of creativity. This particular offering was born of a writing workshop with Blake Hazard and John Dragonetti of The Submarines (we love those guys). The kids created their own bands and wrote a bunch of tunes, and 826LA even teamed up with local record store Origami to record the kids performing their songs.
This kind of engagement was already a winning formula, but 826LA took it one step further. They decided to enlist well-known local musicians to cover the songs the students created for a compilation album. This included Fiona Apple, She & Him, Cold War Kids, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, Dum Dum Girls, Crystal Antlers, and even smaller, lesser-known acts like The Happy Hollows. They called the album Chickens In Love, after a particularly memorable tune from the workshop. Edward Sharpe did the cover version.
We also really love the Fiona Apple/Jon Brion and the Punch Brothers version of "So Sleepy":
Chickens In Love is a charming reminder of the importance of arts in our schools. Raising funds to keep the arts alive in schools is getting increasingly harder, and it's inspiring to see musicians taking the time to contribute. Some of the bands even participated in a live show at The Echoplex in LA with the 826LA students.
In case you're as bummed as we are about missing an event like that, the collection is still on sale and streaming via Spotify. We hope to see many more programs like this in the future.