On the morning of the 24th of June 2016, motivated by the divisive impact of national and international events, a galvanising social media post called upon people to respond to division by demonstrating the power of music to bring communities together in positive collaboration. The response was phenomenal. Thousands of people, from pop and classical singers, musical theatre, folk and opera stars to chamber choirs and community choirs came forward, as well as orchestral players, concert soloists, jazz musicians and many more across the world. People clearly wanted to come together. To channel the offerings of so many people, Michael wrote the song Human Kind. Featuring quotations from John Donne (‘No man’s an island’) and Jo Cox (‘More in common’), the song was conceived to be adaptable for a wide range of musical genres and abilities. It was also designed so that it could be recorded across the world, creating an international music video bringing people together from all communities, cultures, nations and musical genres.
Human Kind was recorded at the end of a huge collaborative concert held at the Union Chapel in London on Tuesday 2nd August 2016, organised in a matter of weeks. With a huge line-up of solo artists, massed choral and orchestral forces, it was an extraordinary evening of music spanning genres and crossing borders. Artists included international stars from a huge variety of backgrounds: Cassidy Janson, star of Beautiful – The Carole King Musical, mezzo soprano Sarah Connolly, guitarist Mark Lettieri of multiple Grammy winners Snarky Puppy, pop chart-topper singer Sarah Jane Morris and Bengali folk star Saida Tani. The conductor was James Burton with the orchestra led by Britten Sinfonia principal Thomas Gould. Journalist, author and environmentalist George Monbiot premiered his collaboration with folk singer Ewan McClennan. The concert was hosted by legendary journalist and broadcaster Robin Lustig, former anchor of BBC Radio 4’s The World Tonight.
Since then, people across the world sent in their recordings of Human Kind. They include Pihcintu, a refugee choir combining girls from Cambodia, China, Congo, El Salvador, Egypt, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Uganda, Vietnam, West Indies, and Zambia, and amazing choirs from Vietnam, Northern Ireland, Scotland, India, Malaysia, the UK and USA, soloists Cassidy Janson, Jonathan Hoard, Saida Tani, Sarah Connolly and nine members of Snarky Puppy. It was released worldwide on the 16th of June 2017, with all proceeds of online sales being donated to Musicians without Borders, Music Action International and Amnesty International.
We are now bringing together communities from a variety of backgrounds and nationalities for an even bigger collaborative concert at the Union Chapel, London on Tuesday the 25th of July 2017. The programme follows a similar format to 2016, including many top solo artists returning from last year and some very exciting new artists, all bringing their extraordinary talents together for charity. Choirs all have prime seats in the balcony with a fantastic view of the concert. The first half is a series of solo acts, concluding with a cappella choirs all singing together (400 people!) The, after more solo acts, the main event at the end of the second half is that soloists, choirs, orchestra and band all combine for a massed performance of Human Kind in a rich, expanded version inspired by
the video single.