If you consider the current domestic atmosphere of misunderstanding, vitriol and fear, there’s no better time for folks to educate themselves and their families. And so it is with great pleasure (and relief) that we announce the March 3rd release of celebrated songwriter, Ben Lee’s aptly named new album, Ben Lee Sings Songs About Islam For The Whole Family.
Says, Ben himself, “I wrote and recorded this record over the past few years, but with recent events unfolding in the US, targeting Islamic people as a broad stroke threat, I felt inspired to release this album urgently, to help remind families in the US and around the world of the peaceful messages that can be found at core of the Islamic religion.”
The artist, who began his career as a young teenager in the early 90’s in the Australian lo-fi punk band Noise Addict, infers that the 9 tracks on the album are meant to enlighten, more than anything else, “All these songs contain Islamic prayer phrases, or ideas found in the Koran, designed to inspire, comfort and help human beings become more peaceful and loving creatures.”
Ben’s spiritual and philosophical quest has been well documented on his most recent efforts, such as Deeper into Dream, Ayahuasca: Welcome to the Work and last year’s Freedom, Love & the Recuperation of the Human Mind, featuring Sara Watkins and Grant Lee Phillips, but the forthcoming album, despite being largely a children’s record, is arguably his most ambitious in terms of communicating a timely message…
“I love all religions and decided a few years ago to start making music for kids and families that would highlight the beautiful concepts and teachings found in each religion and focus on their similarities rather than differences.” Ben adds, “I am not a Muslim. I am an avid student of religion and philosophy. My experiences with different faiths have been profound and varied. I was born Jewish, studied Taoism in my 20s, had a Hindu wedding, studied esoteric Christianity and mystical Islam in my 30’s and worked closely with Tibetan Buddhist monks preserving their culture.”
From his first acoustic-driven solo album Grandpaw Would in 1995 (featuring Liz Phair), Ben’s songs have always attempted to take his most complex and existential yearnings, and compress them into sublimely catchy and melodic pop songs. This seemingly paradoxical quest has yielded some wonderful results over the years: “Cigarettes Will Kill You” from 1999’s Breathing Tornados has become a modern Australian classic, while “Hard Drive” and “All My Life” (songs Ben wrote for Evan Dando’s existential comeback album Baby I’m Bored) were hailed by Bruce Springsteen as favorites of that year, and Q Magazine who called them "tender reflections on life, love and drug-induced folly set in soulful, country-tinged guitar pop.” But it was 2005’s Awake is the New Sleep that saw Ben get the worldwide recognition his songs deserved spawning the alterna-hit “Catch My Disease” that went Top 10 in Spain and the Netherlands and was awarded the Song of the Year ARIA award (Australian Grammy) as well as going Double Platinum in Australia. This album saw Ben tour all over the world with artists like Aimee Mann, Nickel Creek, Sara Barreilles and Dashboard Confessional.
Currently, Ben is working on the release of an album of songs co-written with Josh Radnor (How I Met Your Mother) under the moniker Radnor & Lee, and a musical theatre production named B is for Beer co-created with legendary American author Tom Robbins (Jitterbug Perfume, Even Cowgirls Get the Blues).
Proceeds from Ben Lee Sings Songs About Islam For The Whole Family will be going to ACLU, who are focused on preventing the current US administration legislating laws against Islamic people entering or living freely in the US.
Please enjoy this music, share it with your friends, your children, your neighbors and remember that Islam, like all true religions, is a religion of peace.
For more information, please visit https://www.ben-lee.com