5 November 2012 saw the worldwide release of the Oscar-winning song ‘Born Free’ re-recorded by legendary Queen guitarist Brian May and West End and Broadway songstress Kerry Ellis. The classic hit single will be sold in aid of the international wildlife charity, the Born Free Foundation.
The release of ‘Born Free’ ties in with the departure of Freddie the Lion, the impressive fibreglass Freddie Mercury ‘lookalike’ lion that set sail this week on a 21-day voyage from Southampton docks (UK) for the shores of Cape Town. This is in anticipation of the major public arts event Pride of Cape Town, due to roar onto the iconic V & A Waterfront in autumn 2013.
The single was recorded by Brian and Kerry following a recent visit to South Africa to see the work of the Born Free Foundation first-hand and to film a powerful promotional video that accompanies the single focussing on the plight of lions, by the award-winning director Mike Slee (Flight of the Butterflies, 2012) and featuring Virginia McKenna.
Brian and Kerry were also involved in the relocation of two rescued lions at the Born Free Centres located at Shamwari Game Reserve, part of the Shamwari Group, and went on to perform at the launch of Pride of Cape Town, a massive public arts exhibition of fibreglass lions, scheduled for Spring 2013.
‘Born Free’ was first recorded by Matt Monro in 1966 as the title song to the classic wildlife film of the same name, starring Virginia McKenna OBE and the late Bill Travers, which told the story of George and Joy Adamson’s successful release of Elsa, an orphaned lioness, to the wild. Inspired by their experiences in Kenya, Virginia and Bill went on to establish the international wildlife charity, Born Free Foundation.
The music and lyrics to ‘Born Free’ combined the extraordinary talents John Barry (Out of Africa, Dances with Wolves) and Don Black (Diamonds are Forever, The Man with the Golden Gun), collaborators on some of the most enduring film scores of our time.
With May’s driving guitar riffs and Kerry’s power-packed vocals this is very much a new and exciting evolution of ‘Born Free’ the song.
Brian said; "We paid a lot of respect to this iconic song and were fortunate to have Don Black himself write some special new lyrics as we put our own mark on this awesome and moving track. We hope that people will really like what we have done and that it will contribute to the long-lasting legacy of this great piece of music.";
‘Born Free’ is widely recognised and loved all over the world and has been covered by some of the greats such as Frank Sinatra and Andy Williams.
Kerry said; "Seeing Born Free’s invaluable welfare and conservation work to help Africa’s lions really moved us to re-record a song which means so much to so many people. We hope we have done it proud and that the funds raised by the downloads will help the charity continue to protect fragile populations of lions in the wild."
Throughout the years ‘Born Free’ has remained an enduring anthem that magically tugs at the heart strings; a powerful legacy of a film that told the story of a lioness named Elsa and her journey to freedom, made possible by two great conservationists, George and Joy Adamson.
Virginia is clearly delighted by this new version and said, "Born Free is re-born! Brian, Kerry, and Don have brought a new energy and a new meaning to a song, known and loved all over the world. Mike has made a magical film. If Born Free can touch the hearts of a new generation then maybe there is still time to save Africa’s wild lions. How fortunate we are at Born Free to receive this priceless support from people such as Brian and Kerry who share our deep concern and love for wild animals and their place in the world."
The excitement and build up to the Pride of Cape Town and the official unveiling of the spectacular lion sculptures is immense. Numerous businesses are coming on board and pledging support, including leading companies such as Coca-Cola, Shamwari Group, Grand Africa, Red Bush Tea and Land Rover. The re-recorded ‘Born Free’ will further enhance the campaign and Born Free are still urging companies to come on board and be part of this amazing spectacle, the first of its kind in South Africa.
Freddie the Lion will soon take his place alongside the rest of the spectacular pride in Cape Town, having been waved off by a host of well-known stars including Brian May, Tom Jones and English tenor Alfie Boe. The lion statue departed the shores of the UK sporting Freddie’s iconic ‘Live Aid‘ white and yellow striped jacket and trousers, a fitting tribute to the flamboyant and legendary front man of Queen.
Members of the public are urged to alert the global online community about the song and to sign Born Free’s online Petition where they can pledge their support for lion protection and conservation. Visit www.bornfree.org.uk/bfsingle
Available in three formats, including a large-scale production and acoustic version, the ‘Born Free’ single is a digital only release and is available Monday 5th November to download, the day May and Ellis start their 11-date Born Free Tour.
DOWNLOAD DETAILS: Visit www.bornfree.org.uk/bfsingle
SINGLE 1 Born Free – Large scale version - Audio
SINGLE 2 Born Free – Acoustic Version – Audio
BUNDLE 3 Born Free – Large scale version - Audio Born Free – Video