20. Carly Rae Jepsen, "Call Me Maybe" When people defend pop as a genre,…
- Posted on Mar 28th 2011 12:00PM by Alex Suskind
Christie Goodwin, Redferns
Sam, a former child soldier himself, joined a musical guest list that included the Wainwrights, Josh Ritter, Jesse Malin and Charlie Mars, all of whom gave intimate and powerful performances in hopes of raising money for the school.
To start the evening, hosts Susan Sarandon and Mary-Louise Parker came up onstage to introduce the artists and express their gratitude for those who had come out to support the cause. "Not only do I hope you have a lot of fun [this evening] ... but I can also vouch that everything you are giving is going in the right place," Sarandon said.
Parker elaborated more on the performers of the evening and why music was such an important part of the event. "It's really appropriate that tonight is a musical benefit because last night, Okello came to my house for dinner and he was talking about these kids [from Hope North]...and how one of the only things that they really respond to...is music and how it sort of infuses them and wakes them up spiritually," said an enthusiastic Parker.
The show kicked off with a performance by Sam himself. Accompanied by a violinist, he played a touching, folk-like song he composed for his mother on a Ugandan harp. After two acoustic numbers by Mars, Martha Wainwright came up to perform two songs, including 'Four Black Sheep in the Night.' Wainwright's voice filled the small venue, as the entire audience stood transfixed on her every word.
However, the two big draws of the evening were singer-songwriters Josh Ritter and Martha's brother, Rufus. After performing 'Kathleen' from his 2003 album, 'Hello Starling,' Ritter stepped away from the microphone and unplugged his guitar to sing a quiet version of his 2006 single, 'Girl in the War.'
The biggest cheers of the night were saved for Rufus. Along with his duet with Martha, he debuted a new song inspired by the fact that he is now 37 and out of the dating circuit: "I'm out of the game/I've been out for a long time."
Earlier in the night, he spoke to Spinner about how he got involved with the benefit. "I've known Susan and Mary-Louise for a couple of years now, and they have always been so generous coming to [mine and Martha's] shows," he said. "They asked us to do this and I read up on it and ... felt like [it was] an incredible opportunity."
In addition to the music, there was a live auction that featured items like VIP tickets for an upcoming U2 show and, perhaps the best prize of all, a walk-on role to the hit Showtime program 'Weeds.' All in all, the event seemed to get the message across. "There are so many good people in the world," Sam told the crowd. "I can't thank you enough."
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