Thursday, March 26, 2015
We've covered Los Jornaleros del Norte before, noting their participation in a new form of protest: singing in front of immigration detention facilities.
Check out their music video for Serenta a un indocumentado. It's an excellent song to accompany your class on detention, deportation, or unauthorized migration.
Friday, March 20, 2015
CNN reports the latest in a pop icon's legal troubles, which could ultimately lead to his removal from the United States:
"Two former neighbors of Justin Bieber have filed a lawsuit against the pop star, claiming he and his bodyguards repeatedly harassed them and their family, vandalized their house with eggs and threatened them with anti-Semitic remarks. . . . In the lawsuit Jeffrey and Suzanne Schwartz say Bieber hosted frequent loud parties and spat in Jeffrey Schwartz' face after he complained about the pop star driving his Ferrari at dangerous speeds down the street of their gated community in Calabasas, California. . . . The suit, filed Thursday in Los Angeles Superior Court, also alleges Bieber's bodyguards dismissed Jeffrey Schwartz's complaints by taunting him repeatedly with `what are you going to do about it, Jew boy?' The suit seeks unspecified damages and a jury trial."
Bieber was a previous Immigrant of the Day.
Sunday, March 15, 2015
If you teach Ozawa v. United States - the 1922 case where a Japanese man sought classification as being white - I've got two songs for your playlist. Both are classics.
First, I give you Michael Jackson's Black or White. And yes, your eyes do not deceive you. That's McCaulay Culkin in the video.
And, second, you cannot forget Kermit the Frog's soulful ballad It's Not Easy Being Green.
Sunday, March 8, 2015
An advocate of immigration reform in the United States, Grammy-winning Latina pop singer Shakira was born in Barranquilla, Colombia, on February 2, 1977. Her father is a Lebanese American immigrant and her mother a native of Colombia of Italian and Spanish descent. Shakira began her musical career at age 12 and quickly captured fans throughout Latin America.
Tuesday, February 10, 2015
One musician award winner should not get lost in the shuffle. The Recording Academy also honored recipients of the 2015 Lifetime Achievement Award, including Flaco Jiménez. Jiménez is a Conjunto, Norteño and Tejano music accordionist from San Antonio, Texas.
Jiménez began performing, at the age of seven, with his father, Santiago Jiménez Sr, who was a pioneer of conjunto music and began recording at age fifteen as a member of Los Caporales. He played in the San Antonio area for several years, and then began working with Douglas Sahm in the 1960s. Sahm, better known as the founding member of the Sir Douglas Quintet, played with Jiménez for some time.
Flaco then went on to New York City and worked with Dr. John, David Lindley, Peter Rowan, Ry Cooder and Bob Dylan. He appeared on Cooder's world music album Chicken Skin Music and on the Rolling Stones' Voodoo Lounge. This led to greater awareness of his music outside America and, after touring Europe with Ry Cooder, he returned to tour in America with his own band, and on a joint bill with Peter Rowan.Jiménez, Peter Rowan and Wally Drogos were the original members of a band called The Free Mexican Airforce.
Jiménez won a Grammy Award in 1986 for Ay Te Dejo en San Antonio, one of his father's songs. He was also a member of the Tejano fusion group Texas Tornados, with Augie Meyers, Doug Sahm and Freddy Fender. The Texas Tornados won a Grammy Award in 1990, and Jiménez earned one on his own in 1996, when his self-titled album Flaco Jiménez won the Grammy Award for Best Mexican-American Performance. In 1999, Flaco earned another Grammy Award for Best Tejano Performance for Said and Done and one for Best Mexican-American Performance as a part of supergroup Los Super Seven.
Jiménez has also won a Best Video award at the Tejano Music Awards and earned a Lifetime Achievement Award from Billboard Latin Magazine for "Streets of Bakersfield" with Dwight Yoakam and Buck Owens.
Thursday, January 15, 2015
for any of a dozen specific reasons without first obtaining a special license from the government. Airlines and travel agents will be allowed to provide service to Cuba without a specific license. And travelers will be permitted to use credit cards and spend money while in the country and bring back up to $400 in souvenirs, including up to $100 in alcohol or tobacco.
You, too, can vacation like Bey and Jay Z.
Friday, January 9, 2015
Those of your preparing for the Spring semester may be looking to update your in-class playlist. Or maybe you're just looking for tunes to listen to while revamping your syllabus. Let me recommend the 1962 hit "Let Me In" by The Sensations. It pairs perfectly with admission procedure. Enjoy!
Tuesday, January 6, 2015
Photo by Jim Block
Michel Thomas was an extraordinary man. Born in Poland in 1914, Thomas left the country as a young man, studying in Germany and France in an effort to escape antisemitism. During WW2, he served in the French Resistance and ended up spending two years in French concentration camps. After the war, Thomas moved to the United States where he spent a lifetime teaching Hollywood stars to master foreign languages.
While Thomas passed away in 2005, his method for language learning lives on in audiotapes.
I was introduced to the Michel Thomas method by my colleague Lindsay Robertson. Lindsay knew that I was trying to brush up on my Spanish before heading to the immigration detention facility in Artesia, NM. In a past life, my Spanish was excellent. I studied through college - taking advanced literature courses and studying abroad. But it had been over a decade since I tried to use my skills.
I did many things to bring my Spanish back up to speed - and will post about them all, eventually. But without a doubt the most surprisingly effective tool was the Total Spanish series by Michel Thomas.
The Thomas CDs are different from anything I've ever listened to before. You listen as he teaches two students how to speak Spanish. In effect, you are the third student in the room. It's extra fun because one of the students isn't very good and so you won't feel like the dunce in the room as you practice.
Thomas emphasizes practical communication skills - pointing out the thousands of words that are largely the same in English and Spanish. As a result, you end up with a much more sophisticated vocabulary that you would if you tried to learn words one at a time.
These langauge CDs are a truly effective tool, whether you are looking to learn Spanish for the first time or looking to brush up on skills you already have. I'd actually recommend that clinics around the country invest in a copy for their students to borrow. (OU has a set available for students in our International Human Rights Clinic.)
Finally, I should also note that Michel Thomas was a polyglot. His language CDs are not just available in Spanish but a multitude of other languages.
Saturday, January 3, 2015
Photo via NPR
But as it's the new year and some readers might not be at the AALS conference in DC (maybe you're home in the company of a virus in Norman, OK for example) - you might just be looking for a good book to read. And one of the best books I read all year was The Brief Wonderous Life of Oscar Wao. Sure, it's from 2008. But you may have missed it. And it truly is a wonder.
But maybe you don't have time for a novel. A novel is a commitment after all. And once you pick of The Brief Wonderous Life, you won't be able to stop until you've devoured it whole.
So for a taste of the power of Díaz' writing, I offer you something shorter: his essay for Conde Naste Traveller on Fukuoka, Japan's Next Great Food City. Seriously. It's amazing.
And here's the musical accompanyment to that article:
Saturday, December 6, 2014
It was a long drive back to Oklahoma from Artesia. Especially since I haven't gotten a lot of sleep this week. I kept myself awake by dancing to Daddy Yankee - a Puerto Rican artist. Are you likely to use these in class? Probably not. But I am told that dancing is a good method for managing secondary trauma. And, so, for your listening pleasure...
Tuesday, November 18, 2014
Bob Marley's Redemption Song is a staple for many immprofs. You may have sung along with the words "Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery; None but ourselves can free our minds." Perhaps while acccompanied by Hiroshi's fabulous guitar playing.
Last night, The Voice's Anita Atoinette (born in Kingston, Jamaica) sang a lovely version of this classic.
She's not the first Voice singer to take on this song. Check out the cover by Tessanne Chin, another Jamaican star from season 5 of the Voice, as well as Mitchell Brunings' cover from The Voice of Holland.
Friday, November 7, 2014
Monday, November 3, 2014
Chingo Bling (known to his parents as Pedro Herrera) is a Mexican-American rapper. Born in Houston, he attended Trinity College. And, most importantly for you, dear readers, he recorded the oh-so-catchy single The Can't Deport Us All.
Sunday, November 2, 2014
Friday, October 31, 2014
Robert W. Wood reports for Forbes on the increase in expatriation, which has U.S. tax consequences. In recent years, some well-known Americans have renounced their U.S. citizenship. In 2012, Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin renounced his citizenship. In 2013, singer Tina Turner did the same.
Sunday, October 19, 2014
A New Form of Protest: Taking Note - The Editorial Page Editor's Blog ‘Chant Down the Walls’ of the Metropolitan Detention Center By Lawrence Downes
Immigrant-rights advocates are singing in protest in downtown Los Angeles, outside the Metropolitan Detention Center, a federal lockup where noncitizens are detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement. They are protesting the Obama administration’s aggressive deportation policies and the lack of action on immigration reform.
The idea arose after a group of about 200 day laborers marched to a protest at the prison in August, and heard pounding on the windows above them. A day-laborer band, Los Jornaleros del Norte, turned its loudspeakers toward the building, and serenaded the detainees with cumbias about migrant empowerment. The band was there earlier this week and plans to be there every Monday afternoon, from now until whenever.
Friday, October 10, 2014
As a member of the avant-garde artist collective Fluxus, Yoko Ono gained notice in New York’s underground art scene in the 1960s for her conceptual art that synthesized a wide variety of media and traditions. After gaining international fame as John Lennon’s wife and collaborator, she weathered controversy to prove herself a legitimate and enduring artist and musician. She has released numerous solo albums since the 1970s, and continues to showcase her art in exhibitions, performances, and retrospectives.
John Lennon was the center of a famous U.S. immigration case decades ago that continues to be discussed.
Thursday, October 9, 2014
From the Bookshelves: "I Hear America Singing": Folk Music and National Identity by Rachel Clare Donaldson
"I Hear America Singing": Folk Music and National Identity by Rachel Clare Donaldson
Folk music is more than an idealized reminder of a simpler past. It reveals a great deal about present-day understandings of community and belonging. It celebrates the shared traditions that define a group or nation. In America, folk music—from African American spirituals to English ballads and protest songs—renders the imagined community more tangible and comprises a critical component of our diverse national heritage.
In "I Hear America Singing," Rachel Donaldson traces the vibrant history of the twentieth-century folk music revival from its origins in the 1930s through its end in the late 1960s. She investigates the relationship between the revival and concepts of nationalism, showing how key figures in the revival—including Pete Seeger, Alan Lomax, Moses Asch, and Ralph Rinzler—used songs to influence the ways in which Americans understood the values, the culture, and the people of their own nation.
As Donaldson chronicles how cultural norms were shaped over the course of the mid-twentieth century, she underscores how various groups within the revival and their views shifted over time. "I Hear America Singing" provides a stirring account of how and why the revivalists sustained their culturally pluralist and politically democratic Americanism over this tumultuous period in American history.
Tuesday, September 30, 2014
If you only know Mathangi "Maya" Arulpragasam -aka- M.I.A. from her 2012 Super Bowl performance where she infamously extended her middle finger to the camera, you're missing out. M.I.A. is the daughter of a Tamil activist who spent her early years hiding from the Sri Lankan army and, ultimately, ended up a refugee in London. Her music makes a great accompaniment to immigration law.
It’s about people driving cabs all day and living in a s—ty apartment and appearing really threatening to society. But not being so. Because, by the time you’ve finished working a 20-hour shift, you’re so tired you [just] want to get home to the family. I don’t think immigrants are that threatening to society at all. They’re just happy they’ve survived some war somewhere.
Clever listeners will realize that Paper Planes samples from The Clash's 1982 "Straight to Hell," another immigration anthem.
Friday, September 26, 2014
The prolific and enduring songwriter Paul Anka began his career as a teenager, scoring his first No. 1 hit with the single “Diana,” which he wrote and performed, in 1957. After a number of hits, he turned to songwriting, composing for Buddy Holly, Connie Francis, Frank Sinatra, and penning the Academy Award-nominated theme for the 1962 film The Longest Day, in which he also appeared. In the mid-1970s, Anka returned as a recording artist with the single “(You’re) Having My Baby” and others. He remains active as both a songwriter and recording artist.