Band Together, right now, over me

Jan 12, 2006 at 3:58 pm

A pair of high school girls are trying to make a difference

A wildly overused Chinese proverb goes, “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” The thing to take away, before you roll your eyes at another cliché, is relatively simple: If you plant and nurture a seed of change, it will grow. It’s as much science as parable.

Sara Soltau and Lena Eastes want to be in the business of changing minds. Both juniors at Manual High School, Soltau and Eastes have been friends for six years. Their common bond is a shared idealism, the righteous indignation that humans have, since evolving to walk on two feet and the sudden realization of shared experience, grossly disfigured the natural order. Why else would the poverty pandemic — for instance — have materialized?

“Right now I see all these problems in the world and all these different ways of going about fixing them,” the 17-year-old Soltau said last week. “I’m trying to figure out the best way to make a change.” It’s an admittedly optimistic point of view — the prototypical college, or in this case pre-collegiate, activist — one that critics would likely call naïve. But part of such naiveté, as is most often the case, is a graceful ignorance of such criticism.

Eastes said optimism counterbalances criticism.

“If you don’t ask for something, you won’t get it,” Eastes said. “Optimism is definitely a key tool.”

Such an attitude can do a lot of good. One bit is the benefit the pair organized for this Saturday at the Rudyard Kipling. Called “Band Together Fest,” it features eight Louisville bands and performers, all of whom are donating their time and talent for CARE, a global organization that raises money and provides food and other goods to poor countries and communities. For scale, the organization raised $190 million worldwide ($58.6 million of which came from the American public) for victims of last year’s tsunami.

There are some instantly recognizable names on the bill — pianist Harry Pickens, the bands Bloom Street, Zongo and Serpent Wisdom — as well as three lesser-known high school musicians, some of which are the girls’ classmates: pianist Teddy Stevens, and the bands Telescope and August Moon. (Cover band Johnny Combo is also on the bill.)

Additionally, a number of particularly inspiring items will be for sale. For example, $12 buys a goat for an impoverished family; $21 will provide emergency food to someone in need of it; for $64 you can build a house (!); $112 is worth 1,000 pounds of rice; hygiene kits cost $40; baby chicks are $178; emergency relief kits are $20; and in a prophetic twist, for $8.40, a man will actually be taught to fish.

Soltau said she hopes the sale items will help empower people by providing tangible ways to immediately effect change. In the absence of that, she said, it’s sometimes difficult for people to support something not in front of their faces. Some consider this an Achilles heel of activism in general.

“One reason we have the goats and the house and stuff is to really make people feel like they can make a difference themselves,” she said. “We want it to be a really positive, inspiring concert where people feel like they can band together and make a difference in the world.”

“I think people need to realize that even though they’re individuals, if we can come together as a community we can make a huge difference in another community across the globe,” Eastes said. “I think to focus locally is the best way to go about it.”

• The fourth album from Louisville electronica duo Radianation, called Karmony, hits shelves Jan. 17. But the pair — Andrew N. Aebersold and Annie Gibson — can’t wait quite that long to debut it for the masses. Their CD release party is Friday at Main Street Lounge. Karmony spans a number of subgenres commonly affixed to the electronica tag, from techno and house to pop and watery, undulating trance. Gibson’s vocals soar over Aebersold’s synth beats with a sniper’s precision, aided at times by electronic effects. The music is at times dreamy and others mercurial, mostly up-tempo and all danceable.

Friday is also Goth Night at MSL, and for those of you who aren’t paying attention, Friday the 13th. You’d do well to arrive around 11 p.m. And remember, $2 well drinks. 21+.

Radianation (CD release) Friday, Jan. 13 Main Street Lounge 104 W. Main St. 595-6001 $TBD; 11 p.m. 21+