Before the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan on Aug. 15, 2021, the nonprofit Miraculous Love Kids was the country’s only school of music where girls and young women could participate and learn how to play the guitar. That privilege was quickly made illegal by the new Taliban leadership, and after nine months of trying, founder/director Lanny Cordola was able to safely move his students and their families into neighboring Pakistan.
Although the Miraculous Love Kids have been able to restart their musical studies there, they face discrimination due to their status as refugees and are still looking for a new permanent home. From that hardship comes their latest recording, a cover of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers’ “I Won’t Back Down” featuring country star Blake Shelton, Eagles members Joe Walsh and Timothy B. Schmit, and Guns N’ Roses/Velvet Revolver drummer Matt Sorum.
“When I was working to get the girls out of Afghanistan, ‘I Won’t Back Down’ became our anthem to never give up no matter what the circumstances or odds in our pursuit of freedom, justice, equality, and peace,” says Cordola, a musician who has toured with the Beach Boys and who founded Miraculous Love Kids in 2015. “It’s not only for the girls and women of Afghanistan but for all oppressed people of the world.”
He continues, “the girls and I are honored to have Blake, Joe, Timothy, and Matt join us in spreading this message far and wide. Hopefully their involvement will bring more awareness about Afghan refugees like the girls and their quest for a better life.”
“I’m so proud of my longtime friend Lanny as he has shared the gift of music with these wonderful young girls that have been through so much,” Sorum says of the new recording. “The joy they feel playing music gives them much needed hope to persevere. They are an inspiration to us all. Please help them with their endeavors to relocate and spread their message of peace and love around the world.”
The Miraculous Love Kids have previously collaborated with Brian Wilson, Sammy Hagar, Tom Morello, System of a Down’s Serj Tankian, and Nils Lofgren of Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band. For more information on the organization, visit its web site.