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Celebrate Brooklyn pick of the week: A musical tribute to the Freedom Riders!

Hal Willner is almost singularly known for putting together concerts featuring an eclectic mix of artists and musical styles.

In previous Celebrate Brooklyn festivals, we’ve been blessed with his tributes to Leonard Cohen and Neil Young which brought out such artists as Laurie Anderson, Nick Cave, Rufus Wainwright, Cat Power and Iron and Wine.

This summer, Willner works his magic again, this time for a cause, rather than a person.

On June 16, Rosanne Cash (daughter of Johnny), Geri Allen, Lou Reed, Jason Walker, Toshi Reagon, Steven Bernstein, and more will perform the music of the civil rights movement as part of the producer’s “Freedom Rides Project.”

The concert celebrates the rides’ 50th anniversary through songs that inspired — and then sprang from — them, including spirituals like “We Shall Overcome” and “This Little Light of Mine.”

“This is one in a long of events that have always been very special,” said Jack Walsh, festival producer. “I expect there will be some great surprises for this one.”

Hal Willner’s Freedom Rides Project at Celebrate Brooklyn at the Prospect Park band shell [Ninth Street and Prospect Park West in Park Slope, (718) 855-7882], June 16 at 7 pm. Free. For info, visit

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