The Woman Life Freedom - Music for Iran Volume 1 compilation features 50 songs by 50 artists from all over the globe (including Calvin Johnson from Olympia, Washington). It is available on Bandcamp; all funds derived from the sale of Woman Life Freedom go to Iranian grassroots organization Free Them Now, who help prisoners get access to basic needs and facilitate international support.
Woman Life Freedom was compiled by Katja of the band Holiday Ghosts. Katja has been volunteering with Free Them Now for for the past few years as a translator and editor of press releases and other documents. The death last September of Mahsa Zhina Amini, a 22 year old Kurdish woman who died after being beaten by the Islamic Republic of Iran’s (IRI) so-called “morality” police, sparked spontaneous protests across the country, mainly led by young women, seeking a revolutionary change in the leadership of the country. Katja, whose parents were born in Iran but left the country for political reasons, wanted to assist the protesters and those being persecuted by the current regime in Iran.
Katja says she wondered "What can I personally do, what resources do I have at my disposal? I know so many bands and artists; I spread the word about this compilation idea. People were excited to get involved."
The compilation came together quickly, as most of the artists already had demo recordings or other material to contribute, though some artists recorded songs specifically for the compilation. "Green Child wrote a song specifically for the compilation. The Cornwall band Hongos covered an Iranian song, and The BVs [based in Germany] covered Holiday Ghosts!"
Woman Life Freedom was released March 3 via Bandcamp, and the response has been uniformly positive. "It's been really well received, gotten a lot of traction the first day with lots of people sharing it. More than anything (though the money is great) what I wanted was the conversation about the current protest to be out where it wasn't before, to have people discussing Iran and not think the revolution is over." A Woman Life Freedom Volume 2 is already in the works and "One Iranian artist got in touch about being on the second volume."