An evening with Joan Baez
Joan Baez – singer, songwriter, activist and cultural icon – returns to Australia in spring 2015, giving audiences the opportunity to experience the world’s most celebrated folk singer. This concert series follows her 2013/2014 triumphant world tour that saw Baez receive standing ovations across four continents. As the UK Independent wrote last year, ‘Her voice is as clear and distinctive as it ever was and her ability to tell a story still as spellbinding.’
In the anniversary year of the historic walk from Montgomery to Selma in which Baez took part, her tireless work to fight for people’s rights continues to resonate and inspire. On May 21 this year, Baez received Amnesty International’s highest honour, its Ambassador for Conscience Award for 2015, The award recognises Baez’s lifelong commitment as an outstanding, courageous activist whose beliefs can’t be separated from her music. Equally her music is celebrated this year with the USA’s Library Of Congress selecting her 1960 debut album, Joan Baez – which jettisoned her onto the front cover of Time Magazine – to be included in the National Recording Registry as a crucial part of America’s history.
The musical and political influence of Baez is incalculable. She sang about freedom and civil rights from the backs of flatbed trucks in Mississippi and from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial before Dr Martin Luther King delivered his “I Have A Dream” speech, and she marched on the front lines of the civil rights movement. Baez brought the Free Speech Movement into the spotlight at Berkeley; organised resistance to the war in South East Asia, travelling to Hanoi; inspired Vaclav Havel in his fight for a Czech Republic; and sang on the first Amnesty International tour. In 2008 Baez stood alongside Nelson Mandela when the world celebrated his 90th birthday in London’s Hyde Park, and performed at Occupy Wall Street in New York. In 2009, Joan attended the first presidential inauguration of Barack Obama in Washington DC and sang at the Peace Ball. She was back in Washington in 2010 to celebrate Black History Month with an all star concert broadcast live from the East Room. In 2011 the prestigious Folk Alliance International presented her with its Lifetime Achievement Award. Into 2012 Joan participated in other historic events ranging from an April benefit concert in Berkeley dedicated to raising awareness and improving the lives of war victims to the outdoor concert celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Esalen Institute on its beautiful grounds in Big Sur. She continues to fights for human rights wherever she goes.