We Are Revolution Harmony – Who Exactly Are “We”?
Revolution Harmony is the name of the musical passion project started my music lecturer and journalist, Ray Holroyd. The purpose of this project is incredibly simple – to create music for a good cause, involving a series of important guest stars from the metal scene that are also passionate about this cause, which in turn (in theory) will garner the passion of their fans. It’s a pretty simple, but effective idea for a musical endeavour and one that could prove to be extremely interesting.
It’s clear that Holroyd’s involvement in the journalistic sphere of metal over the years has enabled him to establish an eclectic range of connections in the industry, because Holroyd has just unveiled the project citing that the first track set to be released, entitled “We Are”, will feature none other than THREE great metal legends, albeit from different areas of metal. The smart ones among you will have already deciphered the image above and decided whether you think this is a particularly good idea or not, but bear with us here.
Holroyd has assembled a team consisting of mad Armenian protester Serj Tankian, caffeine-addled, bald sourpuss extraordinaire Devin Townsend, and the Emperor of black metal himself, Ihsahn. What will a track sound like with these madcap musicians? Well, unfortunately we will have to wait and see until July 18th, though it’s worth noting that considering this is the non profit record label’s first All Star song release, it clearly needs to make great use of its talent so as to encourage other musicians to get involved in the future. It remains to be seen how Ihsahn and Tankian’s vocals fit together and whether they coalesce effectively. Ihsahn is a very strong vocalist; proficient in both clean and harsh vocal techniques, though arguably more renowned for his pained black metal howls. Are we going to be hearing a charity song complete with anguished shrieks? Is that entirely appropriate for the subject matter? How will it sound when combined with the soaring vocals of Tankian?
It should also be noted that this isn’t the first time Devin Townsend and Ihsahn worked together, as the latter previously appeared on the former’s 2011 masterpiece Deconstruction, howling the chorus of the seminal “Juular“. Apparently Mr. Townsend will only be performing a guitar solo on the song though, which while his guitar playing virtuosity is very impressive, is a little disappointing considering the sheer power and uniqueness of his ample vocal talents. The single also features Stefan Loh (We Claimed Sentience Once – signed to Revolution Harmony Records) on guitars, and additional vocals from the young up-and-coming UK singer Abbie Johnson.
Photo By Hayley Holroyd
Holroyd is understandably excited for the release of this collaboration and he has this to say:
Revolution Harmony is a dream come true, it’s the perfect harmonious marriage of my two callings: making music and making a positive change in the world! ‘We Are’ is the first milestone for Revolution Harmony, and to share it with three of my musical heroes, Serj, Ihsahn and Devin, who all believe in my vision, is deeply heartwarming and humbling. These musicians are overflowing with talent and compassion, and I am eternally grateful and monumentally honoured to have had them contribute to my cause by singing and playing on a piece of my music. The goal for these All-Star charity singles is to raise significant funds for various smaller charities, by making/selling creative and meaningful music that features rare collaborations by inspirational artists.
All of the money raised by this single will be headed to the Buskaid foundation. Buskaid is a South African charity that is dedicated to running a music school, enabling poverty stricken families and the youths within them to learn about and play music. It’s an obvious choice for Revolution Harmony, but also an inspirational one, as legendary artists unite to provide children on the other side of the world the chances that they themselves had when they were younger, which has led to them being the people and musicians they are today. Rosemary Nalden, the founder of Buskaid had this to say:
There is no doubt at all in my mind that Buskaid continues to transform lives in South Africa. This transformation takes many different forms, and can affect the lives of youths and children alike. I had wondered, with all the changes which are taking place in South Africa and globally, whether teaching music to children in a township would become a sort of quaint anachronism. Far from it! Children of all ages continue to flock in, and I wish you could come to the music school any day of the week and see the crowds of kids. At the moment we can get through this year, just, but when our money runs out we shall close, that is the stark reality. We’re also often teaching 110 kids in a space built for 35, and I have the plans drawn up and permission to extend, but no money. This is a dream which we must make into reality. Any money from Revolution Harmony which can support this will be so very very welcome!
Holroyd speaks on why he chose Buskaid as the charity to receive all the proceeds from their debut single:
I was born and raised in Cape Town, South Africa, down the road from the Khayelitsha township, and was so incredibly fortunate to have lived in an environment where I had the privilege of playing and learning music from a young age. I feel that it is absolutely vital to provide the same opportunity to all underprivileged children. Life in the townships is unbelievably difficult, and music literally saves lives! Also, imagine how many phenomenally talented musicians are going unnurtured and therefore unnoticed, simply due to the lack of opportunity. My whole life has been about music, in fact I’ve never even had a non music-related job, and none of it would have been possible without my childhood music education in South Africa. I could just as easily have been born down the road in Khayelitsha and would not have had the opportunity to study music, so I made it my mission a long time ago to do whatever I can to ensure that music education is available to all children and youth, regardless of their location or financial situation. Buskaid does this every day, and for that they have all my gratitude and they will have all the proceeds from this single too, in order to continue their life-saving work!
The special artists involved have also said a few words about this project, here are their quotes.
Photo by Robert Sebree
It has been an absolute honor being involved with the Revolution Harmony project to bring much needed financial aid to Buskaid in South Africa. Music has saved my life and has the potential to create positive change in all those young kids struggling to make themselves heard and to survive.” He continues on the single itself: “The song is a musical collage of complex yet moving colors intertwining genres and vibes.
Photo by Bjorn Tore Moen
I have followed this song since it was basically just a MIDI file and love how it has grown into this massive piece of music, so it was very easy to get inspired for lyrics and vocal lines.” He continues on his support for the cause behind the single: “Knowing how music has shaped and enriched my own life, and how privileged I have been to be able to follow that passion, I really appreciate Buskaid’s work to enable young people to follow that same path. Like most, my involvement in charity has been very generic, like signing up for donations to some of the global organizations, but Revolution Harmony has given me the opportunity to contribute with something personal, together with people who share my passion for music. I’m honored to be part of this.” He concludes: “With our different backgrounds I think this just underlines the message of the song; a deep passion for music that goes beyond how we are typically isolated and divided.
Photo by Wessel De Groot
I met Ray while he was working at a guitar magazine in the UK. He was very generous with his position there and had convinced me to guest on his charity project. I am happy to contribute and to be involved with the other musicians. I hope the goals he has for the benefit of people in need come to fruition, and I wish everyone involved the best of luck. Please do what you can to help people less fortunate than yourself, it is rarely easy, but it is a testament to the human spirit.
“We Are” will be released via Revolution Harmony Records on the 18th July. Be sure to donate!