Five of America’s most popular musical acts are coming together for an 11-stop concert tour this fall to raise awareness of the unprecedented worldwide refugee crisis. Lampedusa: Concerts for Refugees will be headlined in North America by Grammy Award-winning artists Emmylou Harris, Steve Earle, Patty Griffin, Buddy Miller, and The Milk Carton Kids. However, a sixth performer has just been added for select dates, including Toronto – Robert Plant.
Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) announced today that it will host this singer/songwriter tour in support of the organization’s Global Education Initiative, which was commissioned by Pope Francis. JRS seeks to double the number of refugees served in its educational programs by 2020.
“After witnessing firsthand the work of JRS in Ethiopia this past June, I have never been more inspired to champion such a critical cause,” said Emmylou Harris, 13-time Grammy winning artist. “The better angels of our nature call upon us to act with compassion and not with fear in the face of so much suffering.”
In an effort to shed light on the plight of the more than 65 million refugees worldwide and the need to raise funds to support refugee education, Plant offered this statement about joining the tour.
“I’m taking a break from recording the new Sensational Space Shifters record to be a part of this very important and worthwhile cause. When I watch the news and see people from these places being displaced by hatred and ignorance, I know that these people are just like you and me. All they want is to live in peace and have their children grow up loved, fed and educated. That seems a million miles away for many people at the moment. They are living in refugee camps, in conditions that are far below sustenance levels. When I heard that some of my friends were rallying to do a series of concerts to help raise funds and awareness, to help address the basic needs of food, shelter and medical care, I wanted to help, in whatever way I could. One thing that I want to make clear: as with all the other members of this tour, I will be performing two or three songs a night and no more. I’m not making a political statement. The organization that is receiving these funds is a religious one. This appeal is trying to help on the ground wherever it can. I hope that my voice, along with my friends, helps bend the arc of the universe a little more toward the loving and helps with the work of getting the basic essentials of life to those who are without.”
The complete tour dates are below. The shows featuring Plant are noted.
October 6 – Boulder Theater in Boulder, CO
October 8 – Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts in Kansas City, MO
October 9 – Rococo Theater in Lincoln, NE
October 11 – Sheldon Concert Hall, St. in Louis, MO
October 12 – Pabst Theater in Milwaukee, WI w/Robert Plant
October 13 – Vic Theater in Chicago, IL w/ Robert Plant
October 14 – Massey Hall in Toronto, ON w/Robert Plant
October 16 – Berklee Perfomance Center in Boston, MA ) w/Robert Plant
October 18 – The Town Hall in New York, NY w/Robert Plant
October 19 – Merriam Theater in Philadelphia, PA w/Robert Plant
October 21 – Lisner Auditorium in Washington, DC w/Robert Plant
Everyone’s journey begins somewhere – and for some that journey includes Lampedusa, an Italian island off the coast of Sicily that serves as a waypoint in a refugee’s search for safety and security.
JRS works in more than 45 countries worldwide to meet the educational, health, social and other needs of many of these refugees and other forcibly displaced persons. The scale of this humanitarian crisis is staggering: one in every 122 people is a refugee. More than half are women and children; at least 30 million are under the age of 18.
“We are ready to bring this critical issue to the stage and help people understand that education provides a path forward in life for refugees,” said Fr. Timothy P. Kesicki S.J., the President of the Jesuit Conference of Canada and the United States. “Most people don’t realize that refugees spend an average of 20 years displaced from their homes and many never return. It’s time to take action and our Lampedusa concert tour will help us do so.”