Tibetan Freedom Concert Photo Book Celebrated in New York

Members of Beastie Boys, Sonic Youth honor photographer Danny Clinch

December 7, 2000 12:00 AM ET

Members of New York's enlightened rock set turned out at Irving Plaza Wednesday to honor photographer Danny Clinch, who's just released When the Iron Bird Flies, a collection of powerful images taken from the past four Tibetan Freedom Concerts. With the walls of the venue decorated with stark shots from the book, musicians took to a makeshift, carpeted stage on the Plaza's floor, with couches and chairs set up for attendees to make themselves comfortable in the intimate setting. Though the photos and Tibetan Freedom Concerts -- meant to bring about awareness of Tibet's political situation -- were the focus of the evening, the moving performances were an equal rival.

Sonic Youth's Lee Ranaldo and Steve Shelley accompanied Spanish-speaking singer Christina Rosenvinge in a brief set that kicked off the evening, with little of the former musicians' predilections towards dissonance and feedback. Instead, Ranaldo and Shelley seemed content to play backing musicians (Ranaldo on keyboards and guitar, Shelley on drums) to the low-voiced singer, whose gentle vocals were so quiet, Clinch had to come out and ask the audience to "keep your conversations about a free Tibet" to a minimum so others could hear her.

Also turning in performances were ex-Shudder to Think frontman Craig Wedren (whose four-song set was virtually a cappella, riding on his near-operatic vocals), Warren Haynes (who covered the Beatles, Hendrix and, fittingly, U2, who had just performed at the venue the night previous) and bassist Leonard Hubbard and vocalist/noisemaker Rahzel from the Roots (who previewed a new genre they called "jazz-hop").

Though he had canceled earlier interviews in the day since he wasn't feeling well, Beastie Boy and Tibetan Freedom Concerts organizer Adam Yauch made a brief appearance as well. Despite the recent relaxing of sanctions allowing western rock music into China, Yauch doesn't think it necessarily means that western ideas will follow shortly. "I'm not sure if China is really opening up to the West," Yauch said. "I don't know what affect that will have on the government. The situation in Tibet hasn't gotten any better as of late. If anything, they've cracked down more and the oppression has increased."

"The main tangible result of the Tibetan Freedom Concerts is that it's getting more awareness about the situation amongst young people in the U.S. and abroad," he continued. "It hasn't had an effect yet, but I think it will. Ultimately, more and more people are finding about the cultural genocide that's going on there, and the human rights violations, and I think that the more people that know about that, the more change can come about."

To read the new issue of Rolling Stone online, plus the entire RS archive: Click Here

Music Main Next
Around the Web
Powered By ZergNet
Daily Newsletter

Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
marketing partners.


We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

Song Stories

“Whoomp! (There It Is)”

Tag Team | 1993

Cecil Glenn — a.k.a., "D.C." — was a cook at Magic City, a nude dance club in Atlanta, when he first heard women shout "Whoomp — there it is!" Inspired by the party chant, he and partner Steve "Roll'n" Gibson wrote a song around it. Undaunted by label rejections, they borrowed $2,500 from Glenn's parents and pressed 800 singles, which quickly sold out in the Atlanta area. A record deal came soon after. Glenn said the song was meant for positive partying. "If you're going to say 'Whoomp there it is,' and you're doing something negative, we'd rather it not have come out of your mouth."

More Song Stories entries »