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Pop / Rock 20/01/2005

Download Performances from Tsunami Aid: A Concert of Hope

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LOS ANGELES (Geffen Records) - The Connect music store is proud to offer Exclusive Downloads of the Live Performances from Tsunami Aid: A Concert of Hope

The staff of the Connect music store worked into the early morning hours following the Jan. 15 telecast of Tsunami Aid: A Concert of Hope in order to make the musical performances from the global benefit exclusively available for downloading, and those troopers managed to get 15 tracks ready for downloading a mere five hours after the credits rolled. Since then, the response has been gratifying, to say the least, as the store continues to experience the busiest period in its brief existence, and they're not making a penny from it.
Here's the deal: each track downloaded for $.99 generates $1.98 for the American Red Cross International Response Fund, as Sony Corporation of America matches each purchase up to $100,000. The 15 tracks are also available as an album for $13.99, so one click on the Buy Now button rings up to $27.98 for disaster relief. The doubling of your donation makes this is a great way to contribute to this critical effort, and you also get a tangible reward for your generosity in the form of some truly inspired musical moments.

The heart-wrenching intimacy of Elton John's "Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me," Sarah McLachlan's "Angel," Lenny Kravitz's "Let Love Rule" and Annie Lennox's "Why" elevate them beyond the familiar original versions, while Norah Jones ' burnished and beautiful "We're All in This Together" ranks with the most captivating tracks on her two albums. The most visceral performance is delivered by John Mayer , who seems to be channeling Jimi Hendrix in his blistering take on "Bold as Love."

Some of the songs – like "Let Love Rule," Diana Ross' vintage Motown workup of "Reach Out and Touch," Gloria Estefan's "Always Tomorrow" and Josh Groban's "To Where You Are" – aspire to the overtly inspirational, as befits the occasion. At the other end of the spectrum, Nelly finds crucial lessons in everyday existence on "N Dey Say," Kenny Chesney struggles to come to terms with loss on "I Can't Go There" and Mary J. Blige captures the intertwined melancholy and hopefulness of Stevie Wonder's "Love's in Need of Love Today."

Of all the artists, none was touched more personally than Brian Wilson : Swedish cellist Markus Sandlund, who played on the Beach Boys auteur's SMiLE album and tour last year, was swept away by the Dec. 26 tsunami while vacationing in Thailand and is still missing. At the end of his moving rendition of "Love and Mercy," Wilson simply says, "We love you, Markus." It doesn't get any more real than that .

As Clint Eastwood pointed out during the telecast, "We have a choice: we can either look away or we can help." You've come this far – closure is just a left-click away. The performances will be available for download through Feb. 15 at

Mary J. Blige Official Website

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