Animals Asia recently presented a very special night of music at New York City’s Rockwood Music Hall, featuring compelling talks by Animals Asia founder Jill Robinson, and US Director Morgan Lance. Bands for Bears presented fantastic performances by musical artists Bird Courage, Forge the Bell, and Carl Banks guided by spectacular emcees Jasmin Singer and Mariann Sullivan of Our Hen House. Two lucky raffle winners went home with one-of-a-kind bear hoodies that were created just for the event by Clint Van Gemert of HeadHoods. A huge thank you to our volunteers, whose hard work and high energy helped make the night a great success.
The evening kicked off with a powerful set from self-proclaimed melodic nomad Carl Banks. Carl has a wide variety of influences which came through in his captivating performance. A musical raggedy man of sorts, Carl says he is most comfortable with a guitar in hand and blues harp in the rack, playing for an audience of one to 1,000.
Following Carl’s upbeat start, Jill took the stage and spoke about the massive animal welfare movement in China, inspiring supporters and educating newcomers about the incredible effort to end bear bile farming in Asia.
Forge the Bell featured a soulful vocal performance by Animals Asia supporter Joy Askew, who has previously performed with Peter Gabriel, Joe Jackson, and Laurie Anderson. Joy formed Forge the Bell with T Taylor, a veteran of the free jazz scene, in 2012. The addition of Daniel Mintseris completed the band with keys, beats, and sound design. Mintseris has also worked with Saint Vincent, David Byrne, and The Waterboys.
Anticipation was high as local favorites Bird Courage began their set, and their performance was stunning. Gentle melodies were followed by cheers from the audience. The experimental folk trio formed over the past two years in Brooklyn and have since developed a huge following. Their first full-length record, “Māia Manu” was released in September 2013.
The night closed with inspiring words from Animals Asia US Director Morgan Lance who ended the event with news of greatly increased awareness and support in the United States of our work.