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Bush Is So Over Now: Song Marks End of Political Era
Monday, May 21, 2007
By Nathan Diebenow, Associate Editor
video rehearsal6inside.jpg
 THE HARMONIC ANGELS choir seen here rehearsing sang back-up to Op-Critical’s “Happy Springtime (Bush Is Over)” single. The music video for the song can be viewed on YouTube at (www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jco4etlHwaE).

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 BRETT KIMBERLIN, a musician and election reform activist, wrote the words to “Happy Springtime (Bush Is Over)” to signify the beginning of a new era after the darkness of the Bush administration.

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 PEACE PRAYER TREES were placed along the Washington Mall by John Lennon’s widow Yoko Ono coincidently as Op-Critical and the Harmonic Angels recorded “Happy Springtime (Bush Is Over)” this past April.
 

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The message behind Brett Kimberlin’s new song couldn’t be clearer yet he is finding that a part of his audience is missing the bigger picture.

The song carries the weight of a powerful pro-peace song. It’s a version of the John Lennon classic "Happy Xmas (War Is Over)" that fits today’s political landscape.

But "Happy Springtime (Bush Is Over)" is much more than a song about impeaching President George W. Bush, said Kimberlin in an interview with the Iconoclast.

"It’s more like the Bush era of darkness and sadness is over," he noted. "And there’s a new beginning. If we start envisioning the fact that this era is over, we can create a new reality in our minds."

Lennon’s original "Happy Xmas" was released in 1971 prior to the end of the Vietnam War, and "Happy Springtime" follows in this tradition since it was released before the end of the Iraq war.

One other thing Kimberlin noted was that Lennon never wrote about the impeachment of any president. Besides, Canadian-rocker Neil Young already wrote "Let’s Impeach the President."

From start to finish, the "Happy Springtime" project took three weeks. Kimberlin describes the recording experience as if the late-Beatle himself had been present during the recording session. "It was like the stars were with us," he said.

Kimberlin said he penned the words to "Happy Springtime" in literally 15 minutes, obtained the license to use Lennon’s music, and laid down the tracks in the studio in two or three takes all with help from his band Op-Critical.

The only stumbling block was finding a children’s choir willing to sing back up on the song. Kimberlin said he looked all around the D.C. area for one like the Harlem Children’s Choir that sang in Lennon’s original version. He almost came up empty.

"Almost all of the ones I contacted were hesitant of the political message because some kids in the choir were Republican or whatever or donors who get money from foundations didn’t want to look political," he explained.

Then Kimberlin hooked up with these Harmonic Angels, a choir that sings about peace and harmony. One of their concerts was for AIDS orphans in Kenya, and they jumped at the chance record "Happy Springtime," he said.

It should be noted that the "Happy Springtime" project should came as no surprise to people close to Kimberlin. Music and activism are two of his passions which he has been fortunate enough to combine in his five-year-old nonprofit Justice Though Music Program.

This group works with famous musicians and bands to get young people to vote. During the last two election cycles, the group gave away thousands of DVDs featuring such artists as the Indigo Girls, Bright Eyes, Dar Williams, Ministry, Anti Flag, and Strike Anywhere. The JTMP website also hosts interviews and live shows for fans that wouldn’t normally find on a commercial site.

The "Happy Springtime" project evolved from the same ethic, Kimberlin explained. It also just so happened to be accompanied by a happy coincidence that served only to encourage the musicians.

During the recording session, Lennon’s widow Yoko Ono had a 55-foot "Imagine Peace" billboard installed on the side of the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C. She also placed peace prayer trees on the Washington mall, so that people could write a prayer of peace and tie it to the tree.

"We had no clue this was even happening," Kimberlin said, still astonished. "We found out about it and went down there the same day she was here and shot the video of the ‘Imagine Peace’ banner and peace trees. It was a beautiful sunny day."

These images are captured in the music video for "Happy Springtime." The video can be seen on YouTube where it has been viewed over 26,000 times. Various progressive websites also have it posted. In the video, Kimberlin gives the peace sign while walking toward the camera with the "Imagine Peace" banner in the background.

"We sent a note to Yoko Ono’s address in New York letting her know it was up. I’m entirely confident that she would be in support of this video and message," Kimberlin added.

The Happy Springtime video was released right before the Bush impeachment movement day of action on April 28, but Kimberlin said that his song remains relevant. Signs of Bush’s era lifting are all around – Paul Wolfowitz’s resignation as the president of the World Bank being the latest. Wolfowitz played a lead part in instigating the 2003 U.S.-led invasion of Iraq.

"It’s like a domino effect. We wake up to a new scandal. It’s definitely over," Kimberlin explained.

Kimberlin said that he will be busy during the summer with plans to video Al Gore’s LiveEarth concert on July 7. And come fall, he’ll have his eyes on election reform as the co-founder of the Velvet Revolution.org with Brad Friedman. (Full disclosure: The Iconoclast is one of VR’s affiliates.)

"We give a voice to people, and we show them that they shouldn’t be afraid. By speaking out in numbers, I think that it gives people a sense of security," said Kimberlin of his work

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INFO
Happy Springtime video
www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jco4etlHwaE

Bush Is Over
www.bushisover.org

Op-Critical
www.myspace.com/opcritical

Justice Though Music Program
www.jtmp.org

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