Album: Action Moves People United
Artists: Various

ampu-1-front-cover_1420x1420In times like these, with so much focus on problems and division in the world, a project like Action Moves People United could not be more needed and timely. A huge number of dedicated people have come together to make this happen in conjunction with UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) which strives to promote peace and security among nations through education, science, and culture. The team has produced a musical spoken word album that will exchange ideas, stories, and information focused on bringing about World Peace through individual responsibility, education and helping each other. The mission of the project is to raise awareness of environmental and humanitarian crisis and find actionable solutions.


Rupam, Kevin, Krista

Rupam, Kevin, and Krista

The recording is a double CD album with 45 tracks of music and spoken word, which has also been submitted for Grammy® consideration in two categories. One of the goals for the project is to pair up artists who live in opposing countries for collaborations that go beyond politics, religion and borders. The album is produced by Grammy® winner Kevin Mackie, award winning producer Krista Wallhagen, who did the album’s graphic layout, logo design, and cover painting, and Guinness World Record® holder, musician, and award winning filmmaker Rupam Sarmah, who also engineered and mastered the recording. Rupam has been featured here on Music and Media Focus, most recently for his sound healing album OMKARA.


The project includes more than 300 international artists from over 30 countries, including world-class musicians, authors, artists, and even an astronaut who have contributed to this immense effort. While there are too many names to list them all, a small sampling includes actor Dan Aykroyd, John Lennon’s son Julian Lennon, Kathy Sledge of the R&B group Sister Sledge, NY Times best selling author Colin Andrews, folk music icon Janis Ian, Annie Haslam of the band Renaissance, musicians from The Moody Blues, Yes, Jethro Tull, Peter Gabriel, new age music Grammy® winners Ricky Kej, Wouter Kellerman, Laura Sullivan, Paul Avgerinos, and so many more incredibly talented people. For a complete list, visit: The album was released, most appropriately, on World Peace Day, September 21, 2016 and soon was in the Top 10 on the prestigious Billboard chart.


In an interview with musician and writer Sharon Lia, AMPU producer Kevin Mackie shared: “We wanted to educate people. If you really listen and gather the message, which is a powerful message, whether it was protecting the environment, getting along, or killing dolphins, its all about trying to enlighten people to understand what’s around you – its an educational tool. We strongly believe, it’s not just what we are doing, but its what others are doing too. We make a better impact banding together from around the world.” Through media initiatives, in collaboration with artists, authors, and organizations worldwide, AMPU’s mission of establishing a peaceful planet and a healthy biosphere will be an ongoing commitment.



Dan Ackroyd

Dan Aykroyd

With 45 tracks there obviously isn’t room to go into detail on all of them, and in addition, there is a lot behind each track and many people involved. So for the purpose of this article, I will choose a few to highlight. Opening the album is a powerful and inspiring composition entitled “Enlighten Your Soul.” The music, composed by Rupam Sarmah, is a veritable United Nations in itself, beginning with the sound of sitar and tabla drums from India, and evolving through snippets of Celtic, Tibetan, African, and other examples of world and western music. A very special guest is durmmer Alan White who played with John Lennon and currently with Yes. Over this soundtrack, actor Dan Aykroyd, of Saturday Night Live fame, recites the words of Laurie Ziel which speak of the need for global awareness and mentions the names and deeds of numerous people such as Nelson Mandela, Ghandi, Betty Williams, the Dalai Lama, and many others who have taken a stand for world peace and social justice. According to Rupam: “This song was recorded with over 300 live instruments and vocal tracks.” To hear this track, please visit:



Julian Lennon

A smaller production, although no less impactful, is a composition by Julian Lennon called “Saltwater (Reggae Version).” As used here, the term “saltwater” refers to the tears that “well in my eyes,” on hearing about the damage that is being done to our environment. Interestingly, other than the fact that the song has a reggae beat, the chord changes and slide guitar give the piece a George Harrison-like feel, in addition to Julian’s voice often being compared to his father John Lennon’s, there is a bit of a Beatle-esque quality to the composition. With it’s infectious groove and relevant message, this song stayed with me for quite a while after hearing it.


A very different issue is addressed in a track entitled “Lost In The Digital Age.” In an interesting juxtaposition, an earthy Native American Flute soundtrack played by Lakota musician Tiokasin Ghosthorse, provides a background for a spoken word piece about how our immersion in technology is creating a dissociation with each other and the planet. The words are by best-selling author Colin Andrews and AMPU producer Krista Wallhagen. In addition, Colin is a well-known paranormal investigator, and is the person who coined the term “crop circles.” Also well known is two-time Grammy® winning singer-songwriter Janis Ian who on this album, provides a spoken word piece called “The Song Unsung,” which is a poem written by Nobel prize winner Rabindranath Tagore of India in 1913. This inspiring track is set to music written by Rupam Sarmah and features a number of Indian musicians on traditional instruments as well as American new age artist Todd Boston on Sarod.


Another piece Rupam collaborated on musically, this time with Sharon Katz is “Mandela Meets mahatma-gandhi-nelson-mandela-seriesGhandi.” Sharon, as a young teenager during the terrible apartheid era in South Africa, used to sneak out to the racially divided townships by hiding under blankets in the back seat of her friend’s car. Sharon began her lifelong mission of using music to help break down the country’s artificially imposed racial barriers. Back in 1992, Sharon made history when she formed the country’s first-ever, 500-member multi-cultural and multi-lingual performing group. This powerfully moving track with its roots in India and Africa pays tribute to two seminal figures in the movement towards peace and justice.


This album is incredibly broad in its scope and covers a wide range of topics in addition to world peace, the environment, etc. Among them is the issue of disability. A track entitled “Disfigured” was written by Jeeja Ghosh from India who is a person with cerebral palsy, and also features spoken word by ILSE Geveart who is also a person with disabilities, as well as music by Stephen Melillo. Stay tuned for a feature film about “ability in disability” called “One Little Finger” which will be released next year directed by Rupam. AMPU producers Kevin Mackie and Krista Wallhagen were also personally involved in a variety of tracks such as: “Count On You,” “Answer The Call,” “The Wake Behind,” and more.


Kathy Sledge

Kathy Sledge

As the album draws to a close, the next to the last track is a warm and sultry ballad entitled “Seizing The Day,” sung and spoken by Kathy Sledge of the iconic R&B group Sister Sledge. This leads up to the grand finale, “Voices For Peace,” a huge production involving over 50 people on vocals, spoken word, and instruments on a song composed by Linda Chorney. Its funky groove provides an upbeat background for a variety of inspirational quotes about the various issues addressed throughout the album, and makes for a perfect ending to this informative and uplifting recording.


While the artists on this album are literally from all over the world, it was also nice to see quite a few familiar names of people from my own SF Bay area music community, as well as a number of artists I’ve met or written about over the years, such as Jeff Oster, Lisa Sniderman, Catherine Marie Charlton, Oscar and Kenya Autie, Amie Penwell, Jody Quine, D. Edward, Fiona Joy, Will Ackerman, Tom Eaton, Kathy Sanborn, Kevin Lucas, Grant Maloy Smith, Nona Brown, Jordan Buetow, Arun Shenoy, Anaya Kunt, Stef Mariani, Ann Roos, Ruth Weber, Shakila Mohseni, Sharif Awan, and so many more. I sincerely wish I could go into depth on all the over 300 people involved and their incredible songs and contributions on this album. This is one of, if not the most detailed and far-reaching projects I’ve ever written about, and sifting through all the information to determine what to include has been a daunting task to say the least, and what has been written here barely scratches the surface. I have nothing but the highest regard for the organizers and people behind the scenes who pulled all of this together, as well as the artists who contributed their time and talents.


As I began by saying, there has never been more of a need for the kind of messages and Printawareness espoused by Action Moves People United. The multitude of issues that face us locally and globally are almost beyond imagining. While it is sometimes overwhelming to think about, we can take at least some degree of solace in knowing that there are so many people around the world, as well as organizations, from grass roots to The United Nations, that are dedicated to finding solutions and planting seeds of consciousness that will hopefully blossom into action and much needed healing for our world and its people. I can’t think of a more fitting way to conclude this feature article than with the words of Dan Aykroyd, who shared: “I pray for the moment of mass consciousness when we all wake up and bring peace into our own hearts and souls. It’s a challenge and it’s going to take every one of us to make it happen.”



Click the links below to hear samples and/or purchase this album: