The release, which coincides with World Press Freedom Day, aims to raise awareness and encourage people to act on behalf of imprisoned journalists and others.
Featuring nearly fifty artists, the track includes vocals from: the late Levon Helm, Kris Kristofferson, Carly Simon, Angelique Kidjo, Ewan McGregor, Donald Fagen, Warren Haynes, Keb Mo, Eric Burdon, Taj Mahal, Florent Pagny, Marianne Faithfull, Jane Birkin, Jimmy Barnes, Rosanne Cash, Shawn Mullins, the Blind Boys of Alabama, among others.
The track was written by veteran guitarist/producers Carl Carlton (Robert Palmer, Eric Burdon, Keb Mo) and Larry Campbell (Levon Helm Band, Bob Dylan, Elvis Costello) and is the brainchild of Carlton and longtime music industry executive, activist, and entrepreneur Jochen Wilms in collaboration with Art for Amnesty founder Bill Shipsey.
Producer/engineer Bob Clearmountain (The Who, Paul McCartney, Rolling Stones, Bruce Springsteen) produced the track at the studios of four-time Grammy winner, the late Levon Helms, which was then sent out to artists, who added vocals.
Shipsey said of Helm: "On behalf of Amnesty International's millions of members around the world I want to say how grateful we are to Levon Helm for his generous artistic contribution and support that will make a real difference to our life-saving work around the world.
"We in Amnesty owe him a huge debt. The best way to repay that debt to him is by continuing our work. Levon Helm created with 50 international musicians some musical magic for Amnesty. This happens when goodness and love combine with kindness and art to produce beauty and power leading to unarmed truth - still the most powerful thing in the universe."
Filmmaker Natalie Johns of Dig for Fire captured all stages of the international production on video. Johns is known for her works with such artists as Jay-Z, Peter Gabriel and The Rolling Stones. The project will be featured in a short 'making-of' documentary as well as a companion music video.
The track is available for purchase via online retailers worldwide via www.ToastToFreedom.org. Net proceeds will benefit Amnesty International.
Secretary-General of Amnesty International Salil Shetty said: "Human rights are everybody's business. I would like to thank all the people who gave their time to make this project happen. I hope Toast To Freedom will become a major source of inspiration in the coming years."
"TOAST TO FREEDOM" PERFORMED BY
Blind Boys of Alabama
Christine & The Queens
Jerry "Wyzard" Seay
Wayne P. Sheehy