Back in June, Jason Mraz went to Ghana with Free the Slaves to visit with our partner Challenging Heights—an organization that helps free and rehabilitate child slaves. Challenging Heights’ founder, James Kofi Annan was himself sold into slavery when he was just six years old. The Challenging Heights school provides a refuge for former slaves and children vulnerable to traffickers.
See video of Jason Mraz talking about visiting Challenging Heights.
Jason visited the shelter and performed “The Freedom Song” with the children there—by all accounts, it was a stirring moment. And Jason is still spreading the love. Just yesterday, he talked about his experiences in Ghana with the Bangor Daily News (a local newspaper in Maine). The article says:
“What he gets most out of music and being a musician is still an elusive concept for Mraz.
‘I’m really not sure what it is I get out of music, but maybe when I do I’ll stop, so it’s probably better I don’t,’ he said after thinking a few moments. ‘It’s everything and it’s nothing, and it’s the nothing that makes me keep going, but I’m still searching.’
Mraz is less nebulous when it comes to pegging one of the biggest rewards of being a musician: when hundreds or thousands of people sing your songs exactly word for word in unison.
‘That’s pretty badass. It’s a pretty good feeling. I chuckle every time it happens,’ he said. ‘Recently it happened in Ghana with a song called “Freedom Song” written by a friend, which I shared with Free The Slaves organization. That moved me, hearing a bunch of kids singing it word for note while they were out playing.
‘It’s mind-blowing to realize the power of song.'”
Some back story: “The Freedom Song” was written in Louisiana in the wake of hurricane Katrina. Seattle-based musician Luc Reynaud travelled to the devastated state and spent time with displaced children in a shelter. Together with these kids, he composed the song. Luc’s band, Luc and the Lovingtons played two benefit shows for Free the Slaves last week. Jason Mraz joined the band in San Diego to perform “The Freedom Song.”
See video of the performance after the Jump! Watch out for Jason Mraz singing with children in Ghana at the end of the video! >>
Mraz attended our annual Freedom Awards last year. Inspired by the ceremony, he became the first celebrity to go into the field with Free the Slaves to see, first hand, how we work with our partners work to end slavery. Find out more about the 2010 Freedom Awards here.