Sunday, November 12, 2017

Your Playlist: Led Zeppelin

I can't imagine a more rousing way to kick off or end the semester of immigration law than with Led Zeppelin's Immigrant Song.

The song is put to excellent use in Thor: Ragnarok. That means this will be a song that your students will actually know, even if they had no clue of its immigration tie!


November 12, 2017 in Music | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Immigrant of the Day: Singer Regina Spektor, Russia

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Music Break: Ruby Ibarra, Filipina Immigrant Rapper


Colorlines presents "Ruby Ibarra, an MC Turning Immigration Trauma Into Adventurous Rap."  The Filipina-American rapper digs deep into her experiences as a young immigrant on “Circa91,” her debut album.

Ibarra was born in the Philippines. As a child living in Tacloban, she was inspired by a television performance by Filipino rapper Francis Magalona. Her family immigrated to San Lorenzo, California and she was raised in the Bay Area. She attended the University of California, Davis.




October 26, 2017 in Current Affairs, Music | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

You Playlist: Elisa Koreene

Here's a song for you history buffs: Mail Order Bride. It's by Elisa Korenne, a Minnesotan singer-songwriter. And it's about a real woman named of Rachel Calof. Born in Russia, Rachel came to the US as a mail order bride, landing, of all places, in North Dakota. "Hard land for a new life," as Elisa croons.


October 18, 2017 in Music | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, October 12, 2017

A Reggae Revival on the Migrant Trail

IOM, The UN Migration Agency has released the documentary, The Fable of the Lion and the Coyote, directed by Costa Rican filmmaker and producer, Miguel Gómez.

The film, divided into five chapters, tells the story of Talawa, a reggae band formed by Alonso Rojas, Gerardo Quirós, Bryan Chavarría, Francisco Barboza and Andrés Solano. The documentary is inspired by the life-threatening journey of the band and their sound engineer Juan Carlos Briceño, through Central America to the United States, without American visas, and motivated by the false expectations of a tour contract.

The documentary exhibits the risks that the group’s members faced during their two-week journey, from malnutrition to the theft of their musical instruments and death threats from a migrant smuggler. Additionally, the members describe how they almost lost their lives while trying to cross the Rio Grande River that divides Mexico and the US. 

The reggae band Talawa was formed in 2006, and it released  three records in ten years. This is the second part of a documentary that follows the band and their sound engineer during a journey across Central America and the United States motivated by the false expectations of a tour contract.

Watch Chapter 3 here | Watch Chapter 2 here | Watch Chapter 1 here


October 12, 2017 in Current Affairs, Music | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Tom Petty RIP - Refugee


Last week saw the passing to rock `n roll legend Tom Petty.  Here is a song celebrating Tom's life.



October 8, 2017 in Current Affairs, Music | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Talawa's Story - Reggae Revival on the Migrant Trail

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Your Playlist: Cheech & Chong (and Springsteen)

Cheech and Chong's Born in East LA is the citizenship song you need this semester. You get the beauty of Bruce Springsteen's original song (Born in the USA) without the Vietnam War commentary. You students will love lyrics like these:

Oh yeah, you were born in East L.A
Let's see your green card
Huh? green card?
I'm from East L.A


September 24, 2017 in Music | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Your Playlist: Eek-A-Mouse

Jamaican reggae artist Eek-A-Mouse brings it with his song Border Patrol.

It's getting harder, harder
To get across the border, ain't no jive

And, hey, do you also teach Antitrust? Then maybe you should check out his 1988 album Eek-A-Nomics.


August 20, 2017 in Music, Teaching Resources | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, August 14, 2017

Immigrant of the Day: Miguel Sanó


Miguel Sanó is the heavy hitting third baseman for the Minnesota Twins - my local team. (Yes, at five hours and another state away, they're still local. You can buy Twins gear at our Target. 'nuf said.)

Dominican-born Sanó is featured on B/R today in an in-depth and very sweet story about Sanó's struggles in the big leagues.

It was hard for Sanó just to get to the United States. Amateur players must be 16 before they can come to the U.S., and there were allegations that Sanó wasn't old enough. After an official investigation that included bone-density and DNA testing, the Twins were allowed to bring Sanó stateside as an amateur free agent. That was in 2009.

There's a documentary you can watch about this period of Sanó's life. It's called Ballplayer: Pelotero.

Sanó made it to the states, but he didn't escape hardship. In 2014, Sanó's first child, a daughter named Angelica, died just a week after her birth. Sanó struggled with suicidal thoughts following her death.

In 2015, Sanó went pro. His first season was a smashing success, but 2016 was less so as Sanó struggled emotionally and physically.

Sanó is now back on track. Last month, he was named an All-Star and competed in his first Home Run Derby, finishing second. Sanó has also welcomed a second child, a son, who is now 10 months old.

Here is Sanó's walk out music. It's a Reggaeton track by Ceky Viciny called “Klok Con Klok.”


August 14, 2017 in Current Affairs, Film & Television, Music | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Immigration files on George Harrison and The Concert for Bangladesh


George Harrison

Immigration Professor Michael A. Olivas, whose radio show The Law of Rock and Roll is syndicated nationally, shares this huicy rock and roll and immigration crossover tidbit:

USCIS has helpfully posted the A-file of the late George Harrison, as he was petitioning to be allowed to perform in the 1971 Concert for Bangladesh. As we all know, his fellow Beatle John Lennon had his own famous interaction with the then-INS, featured in books and a movie about the case, but this is a lower-watt matter, allowing George to be admitted despite a misdemeanor drug bust in the UK. His request was “To permit me to appear on television shows in connection with the promotion of· a charity drive for the relief of children living in Bangla Desh.”

The Concert was among the very first multi-star concerts with a humanitarian and political fundraising goal, and the record is a classic, starring Ravi Shankar, fellow former-Beatle Ringo Starr, Dylan, Leon Russell, Eric Clayton, Billy Preston, and many others. The documentary was also very successful, and contained many of the songs from George’s towering first post-Beatle record, “All Things Must Pass.” 

Here is the entire Concert for Bangladesh.



August 8, 2017 in Current Affairs, Music | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, August 5, 2017

A Refugee Song Break: Blackness of the Night By Yusuf/Cat Stevens

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Immigrant of the Day: Ballerina Michaela DePrince, Sierra Leone


Photo courtesy the official Michaela DePrince website

Born in Sierra Leone, ballet dancer Michaela DePrince was orphaned at the age of three. Born Mabinty Bangura to a Muslim family, she was sent to an orphanage where the "aunties" who cared for the children believed that her skin condition, vitiligo, was a curse and called her the "devil’s child."  In 1999, DePrince was adopted by a U.S. couple. Inspired by a picture of a ballerina she saw on a magazine in Sierra Leone, DePrince trained as a ballet dancer, winning a scholarship for the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School at the American Ballet Theatre. In 2013, she joined the Dutch National Ballet.

DePrince tells her story in the book Taking Flight:  From War Orphan to Star Ballerina.





July 18, 2017 in Books, Current Affairs, Film & Television, Music | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, July 7, 2017

Proceeds from Coldplay's "Alien" Music to Benefit Refugees


Billboard reports that the "aliens" in Coldplay's animated lyric video for the new song "ALIENS" are extraterrestrials fleeing from otherworldly dangers, but the song is going to benefit refugees on Earth. 

The band has shared the latest track off the forthcoming Kaleidoscope EP, announcing that all proceeds will go to Migrant Offshore Aid Station (MOAS), an international non-governmental organization that rescues migrants and refugees at sea in the Mediterranean.



July 7, 2017 in Current Affairs, Film & Television, Music | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Yo-Yo Ma shares powerful message of peace and togetherness


Cellist and United Nations Messenger of Peace Yo-Yo Ma added his voice in support of refugees and migrants in a video for the TOGETHER Campaign. In his recorded message, Mr. Ma reflected on freedom and respect, and drew a parallel between the migratory movements of birds and our common human ancestry as migrants. His words were beautifully combined with his recital of Pablo Casal’s “El cant dels ocells” (“Song of the Birds”), a piece performed by the Catalan musician at the United Nations over four decades ago.

“There are many ways to think about freedom, freedom to move, to think, to be safe, to express oneself, to remember, to explore…”, Mr. Ma shared with us.

Born in France to Chinese parents, who later immigrated to the United States, Mr. Ma reminded us that we were all migrants at some point, and that we should recall, “how we would want to be treated if we remembered the time when we were migrants.”

On 8 June, Mr. Ma joined the New York Philharmonic and musicians from orchestras around the world in a concert celebrating the power of music to build bridges and unite people across borders.


July 4, 2017 in Current Affairs, Music | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Your Playlist: Immigrants (We Get The Job Done)

Sure, I've posted about the Hamilton Mixtape before. I even highlighted the fabulous track Immigrants (We Get The Job Done). But today the song's official music video dropped. Check it out:


June 28, 2017 in Music | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, June 2, 2017

Your Playlist: John Legend

Check out the video for John Legend's new song Surefire:

The video, directed by Cole Wiley, aims to "raise awareness on issues such as love and how relationships are being destroyed because of the current climate on immigration."


June 2, 2017 in Current Affairs, Music | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Cole Porter's Pro-Immigration Ballet Gets A Trump-Era Revival



NPR has a fascinating story about American composer Cole Porter

In the early 1920s, before he became an icon of the American songbook, composer Cole Porter wrote the score for a protest ballet. The production, called Within the Quota, criticized restrictive immigration laws that had been passed by Congress. According to Princeton music professor Simon Morrison, who rediscovered the score two years ago in Yale's Porter archives, the show opened in New York at a time of fearful backlash against Polish, Greek and Australian immigrants arriving in the U.S. after World War I.

Now, to protest President Trump's anti-immigrant stance, the Princeton University Ballet is reviving the production. Morrison, who produced the show, says after the election, "[I] looked again at the score and thought about its context and thought, Oh my God, this is actually what it was about. These things were real and actually we're feeling them again now."


May 24, 2017 in Current Affairs, Music | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Your Playlist: Moxie Raia and Wyclef Jean

In this video for Follow Me, interviews with refugees play on the wall behind Moxie Raia and Wyclef Jean as they sing. Here's the chorus:

Follow me I am on your side
But we don't have much time
Momma said there's a war outside
Only the strong survive

Another great song to accompany asylum and refugee law.


May 3, 2017 in Music | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Listen to the Blues: Eric Bibb Sings the Migration Blues


Eric Bibb from the U.S. performs at the Flux theater in Zaandam, Netherlands March 24, 2017. Picture taken March 24, 2017.

Voice of America reviews "Migration Blues", a new album from veteran bluesman Eric Bibb, uses the sounds of the American South to tell the tale of everyone from 1920s farmers fleeing the Dust Bowl for California to refugees crossing the Mediterranean today.

Along the way are Mexicans seeking a future in the United States, families moving from land the government has just seized for corporate expansion, and a Cajun jig reminding listeners of the expulsion of French Canadians south down the Mississippi.

The album's most contemporary subject is to be found in "Prayin' For Shore", a blues about the plight of millions of Syrians and others who have fled civil wars in the Middle East on sometimes fatal journeys to Europe across the Mediterranean.

"In an old leaky boat, somewhere on the sea/trying to get away from the war/Welcome or not, got to land soon/Oh lord, prayin' for shore," run the lyrics.  The song is about remembering the drowned.

But the fleeing migrants of today are nothing new.

For Bibb, an African American, another key moment in history was "The Great Migration" of millions of southern blacks away from America's segregated South.

By some estimates, more than 6 million left the rural areas for industrial places like Detroit, New York and Chicago between 1910 and 1970.



March 29, 2017 in Current Affairs, Music | Permalink | Comments (0)