NOW Extra archives If you want love Lebanese singer-songwriter and peace activist Peter Jam Ana Maria Luca , September 13, 2011
eter Jam wears a black hat, a colorful shirt, and a silver earring bearing the old nuclear disarmament movement logo. He sings about peace and love. In June 2011, he grabbed his guitar, bid farewell to his family and his two boys (two dogs he says he can’t live without) and boarded a plane to Europe to embark upon his Peace Tour. By the end of the summer, he had sung: “Love loves you and we all love you, my friend” to people in 25 different cities.
Peter Jam performed in Europe’s public squares and small pubs, rather than big concert halls. “The street is where the people are, and we have to sing to the people. [The project] is all about peace, so we need to be among people,” he told NOW Extra.
Peter Jam (Jambazian is his real name) is Lebanese-Armenian. He was born in Bourj Hammoud, the Armenian suburb of Beirut. He describes himself as a human rights and peace activist as well as a singer-songwriter. He started to sing and play guitar when he was a school boy. He even formed a band that performed covers, but soft rock with a message of love and peace was the path that called to him. He started writing his own music, and released his first album last year. The debut record is entitled “Vibrations,” but Peter explained with a huge smile on his face that most people call it “Love loves you and we all love you my friend” (the motto on the front cover).
Jam brought a small video camera and a tripod on his adventure. He assembled footage from the Peace Tour into a video for his song “If you want love, you will get love.” The musician described how he came up with the idea: “I had been thinking about a video for quite a while. I wanted something that mirrored the message of the song. So I thought: ‘Why don’t I to Europe and sing to people in the street?’ That was it.” Jam added that it took a strong will to put his ideas into practice. “I needed visas, a camera operator, tickets, a camera, a tripod…I had no money, no sponsors, so I had to put money aside for the trip. I am proud of what I did,” he says.
He managed to play the song in squares in Amsterdam and Rotterdam (in the Netherlands), Bern (Switzerland), Rome (Italy), Vienna (Austria), Budapest (Hungary), Bratislava (Slovakia), Brno and Prague (Czech Republic), Warsaw and Krakow (Poland), Koln and Berlin (Germany). “I even got to sing my song in front of the European Commission headquarters in Brussels, where you’re not allowed to stop and sit. But I was fast. It only took three minutes,” he remembers.
Jam received positive feedback from European listeners:”Everywhere I went, people loved it, and some wanted to sing with me, like the guys dressed as Roman soldiers in Rome.” He was emboldened by support from his friends along the way:
“My friends helped me very much. I had friends in each city. Now my dream is to travel to the Far East.”
Peter Jam says his positivity helps him to accomplish his dreams. His next tour will take him to the United States. This time, he will not only be promoting peace and understanding, but also helping children in need and raising environmental awareness in collaboration with BIOS, an environmental organization in Connecticut. “Steve Schappert, the head of the project, managed to modify the six cylinder engine of a 1972 Ford Mustang and make it run on water. We’re going to tour the North Eastern United States as part of the 4ChildrenTour campaign,” he says.
In the meantime, Peter Jam has completed his second album. “It is still about peace and love, but I am trying to negotiate with sponsors so that the next album will not be produced on faith,” he says.
Check out the artist’s website www.peterjam.com
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