Afterquake — music to remind us that help is still needed

afterquakeIt’s hard to believe it’s already been a year since tragedy struck Sichuan — killing nearly 90,000 people and displacing millions.

And while time can’t pass fast enough in putting that horrible day firmly behind us all, today is a good day to remember that its survivors are still in need.

Working hard to remind us all of this is a fantastic new project by folk artist Abigail Washburn and Dave Liang of the Shanghai Restoration Project called Afterquake. The 7-track album melds Washburn’s folk with SRP’s electronica and mixes in voices, songs and sounds from the people and places affected by last year’s earthquake.

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Abby & Dave with kids in Sichuan

The collaboration was inspired in 2008 through Abigail’s volunteer work for Sichuan Quake Relief where she performed in ‘relocation schools’ with kids from pre-school to high school – most of whom were relocated from mountain villages to schools in new locations far from their families.

“The children and teachers expressed intense grief at the loss of home and family,” says Washburn, a former Sichuan resident featured in Newsweek for her “weirdly wonderful” blend of Chinese culture and American-roots music. “I wanted to return and record their stories and songs in their own voices.”

A kindred spirit was found in collaborator Dave Liang, whose Shanghai Restoration Project combines the sounds of traditional Chinese instruments with hip-hop and electronica. His project has been featured on NPR, KCRW, KEXP and the Beijing Olympics.

A portion of the proceeds from each CD sold will go directly to Sichuan Quake Relief — and while you can buy the CD via Amazon and iTunes, if you go to the official Afterquake shop you’ll be able to help relief efforts even more by purchasing premium CDs signed by the artists, and CDs containing letters from quake survivors and limited photo prints.

This video was shot by Sexy Beijing‘s Luke Mines. More videos/photos are available at Afterquakemusic.com. This video is also available on Youku, but with Chinese subtitles.

(h/t Kaiser Kuo and Youku Buzz)