Bono Walks On Together With Aung San Suu Kyi

Amnesty International
Amnesty International (Photo credit: AslanMedia)

Aung San Suu Kyi delivering a speech following her release in 2010

It is a blessing that Aung San Suu Kyi of Myanmar will finally be feted with the honors due her as a tribute and testimony to her strong will and testament.  She suffered a lengthy internment  of house arrest for 15 years (19xx-20xx). She was previously awarded the Nobel Prize in 1991 and Amnesty International‘s Ambassador of Conscience award in 2009, but could not accept either in person because she was under house arrest for 15 years.

I first learned of the heroism of Aung San Suu Kyi when I became a devout listener of U2’s album, All That You Can’t Leave Behind (2000).  The most powerful song on that recording was “Walk On”. I became further attuned to the plight of Aung San Suu Kyi through the efforts of Amnesty International and the global blogging community.

The full meaning and impact of “Walk On” took place for me in June, 2001 when I saw Bono and U2 perform “Walk On” live at the Hartford Civic Center. As Bono sang and U2 played under the video image of Aung San Suu Kyi her immediacy and grace became etched upon my heart.

Bono and Aung San Suu Kyi finally get to meet for the first time after many years of support from Bono, U2, Amnesty International and millions of world-wide fans. This is a significant historical, personal event that is taking place in Dublin, Ireland the day after Aung San Suu Ky receives her Nobel Peace Price.  The mere fact that Aung San Suu Kyi is travelling outside Myanmar and the compound she was held in says freedom to all who love and support injustice. She is expected to visit Dublin solely to be guest of honor at the concert, called Electric Burma.

“It’s so rare to see grace trump military might, and when it happens we should make the most joyful noise we can,” Bono said in a prepared statement. “Aung San Suu Kyi’s grace and courage have tilted a wobbly world further in the direction of democracy. We all feel we know her, but it will be such a thrill to meet her in person.”

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Bill Ortiz, Winter In America, A Tribute to Gil Scott-Heron and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Gil Scott-Heron is our greatest urban poet. His words take us beneath the veneer of society where subsistence  merges to form a greater understanding. It is Winter in America, 2012.

Bill Ortiz‘s EP recording Winter In America is a heroic attempt that helps us to avoid despair. The music and the message push us safely back from the precipice of the winter of our discontent.

The opening track  is an ingenious remix of Gil Scott-Heron’s “Winter In America”. It commences with Bill Ortiz’s horn compelling us to take heed and listen. The track is gutsy and edgy. It crystallizes our attention on what is really going on in the streets across America.

“Winter In America” smartly acknowledges the Godfather of Hip-Hop, Gil Scott-Heron with lead vocalist Tony Lindsay (Santana) trading off lyrics with “The Grouch” on vocals and rap.

Well they say it’s a cold world

But we got a cold play my man

Rest in Peace, Gil Scott

Without you the revolution would not

What makes this EP even more full circle is the track, “I Still Believe”, a Phoenix Black remix with the eloquent spoken word voice of Linda Tillery and “Zumbi” from Zion I accenting with spoken word/rap. “I Still Believe” contains excerpts from Rev. Martin Luther King’s Nobel Peace Prize speech in Oslo.

The co-operation of Gil Scott-Heron’s revolutionary spirit lives on in his recently published posthumous memoir, “A Last Holiday“. There is a chapter in the book which details the tour that Stevie Wonder and Gil Scott-Heron were on to together where they lobbied for a national holiday for the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Gil Scott-Heron draws the correlation between the assassination of John Lennon and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. two great men of peace struck down by violence. As I write this review we are on the edge of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s  birthday and U.S. federal holiday. It just so happens that the Winter in America EP drops on Martin Luther King Day, January 16th, 2012 direct to fans.

Bill Ortiz states the purpose of this recording best when he says, “I try to bring all these elements of who I am musically into one voice.” You’ve done all that and more Bill with your fine achievement, Winter In America.

Winter In America
Bill Ortiz
Released: January 16, 2012
Label: Left Angle Records

Produced By Ali Zandinejad aka Phoenix Black, Bill Ortiz and Steve Heithecker

Track Listing:

1. Winter In America
2. I Still Believe (Remix)
3. Word Play (Remix)
4. I Still Believe (Instrumental)
5. Winter In America (Radio Edit)