Brandi Carlile, Emmylou Harris, Steve Earle, and More Join Forces in Portland

Five musical legends come to the Aladdin for a show supporting education for refugees around the world.

By Fiona McCann September 28, 2017

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Steve Earle is joined by Emmylou Harris, Brandi Carlile, Dave Matthews and Patty Griffin at the Aladdin Theater. 

Image: Chad Batka

What if you could catch musical power players Patty Griffin, Dave Matthews, Brandi Carlile, Emmylou Harris, and Steve Earle all live and in one place—while also doing your part for refugees around the world? Enter Lampedusa Concerts for Refugees, a series of intimate, acoustic performances to raise funds and awareness to support educational opportunities for displaced people.

Now in its second year, the series has expanded to include several new cities, Portland among them. “I just don’t see how anybody wouldn’t support this cause,” Steve Earle tells Portland Monthly ahead of next week’s (sold-out) Aladdin Theater show. “We’re going through the greatest refugee crisis of all time right now. This is an incredibly good cause.”

For Earle, who is no stranger to political causes—he's used music in the past to address the death penalty, among other issues—artists have an obligation to address politics. “I think artists are the conscience of society,” he says. “That’s part of our function.”

The Lampedusa concerts—named after a small island off the Italian coast that has become a major transit point for tens of thousands of North African immigrants to Europe—are produced by the Jesuit Refugee Service in partnership with the UNHCR, aimed at raising funds for the former’s Global Education Initiative

The initiative has provided educational services to more than 140,000 people in 38 countries, and is looking to double the number of people reached by 2020.  

“We raised a lot of awareness and a lot of money last year,” says Earle, who played the first series of Lampedusa concerts last year. Activism aside, it’s also a bang-up musical lineup, with Earle promising a memorable night for attendees. “It’ll be a really, really good show.”

Lampedusa Refugee Concert

8 p.m., Wed, Oct. 4, Aladdin Theater, SOLD OUT

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