Friday, November 16, 2018

Your Playlist: Chris George

Chris George is the Executive Director of Integrated Refugee & Immigrant Services (IRIS) in New Haven, Connecticut. As their website touts, IRIS is a "non-sectarian, independent nonprofit refugee resettlement agency that has welcomed more than 5,000 refugees to Connecticut since 1982."

Chris is clearly passionate about his work, letting folks know that he's "got the best job in the world."

One of the things that Chris loves most about resettlement work is the obligation that agencies like his have to provide newly arrived refugees a culturally appropriate hot meal.

That obligation comes from a cooperative agreement that the U.S. Department of State has with national resettlement agencies. As the State Department explains on their website, this agreement requires that:

... all refugees are met at the airport upon arrival in the United States by someone from the sponsoring resettlement affiliate and/or a family member or friend. They are taken to their apartment, which has basic furnishings, appliances, climate-appropriate clothing, and some of the food typical of the refugee’s culture

National resettlement agencies incorporate this obligation into their agreements with local resettlement organizations like IRIS.

As Chris told the New Haven Independent, it's "the best federal government requirement of all time ... a great way of welcoming people ... with a meal that they're used to as soon as they arrive."

Chris is so passionate about this requirement, that he wrote a song about it. You can find it at 7:10-8:42 in the clip below:

Here are the lyrics:

In Praise of the Culturally Appropriate Hot Meal

Find an apartment. Make sure it’s furnished.
By federal law, to seal the deal,
within two hours of their arrival,
serve them a culturally appropriate hot meal.

You’ve got Republicans and you’ve got Democrats.
And their bickering is so unreal.
If only more things could be bipartisan,
like the culturally appropriate hot meal.

I’m not talking hamburgers. Hold the lasagna!
It’s not the time for ham or veal.
If you’re a refugee, we’re going to welcome you
with a culturally appropriate hot meal.

Arroz con pollo for the Cubans.
Halal, if you’re from Iraq.
The Congolese, they like variety.
Just make it culturally appropriate, and hot!

This song is guaranteed to make you smile. It will be a wonderful addition to your class on refugee resettlement!


November 16, 2018 in Music, Teaching Resources | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Rock Legend Billy Idol Now a U.S. Citizen



Yesterday, rock legend Billy Idol, who was born in England, became a U.S. citizen yesterday at a naturalization ceremony in Los Angeles.

Coincidentally, UC Davis law graduate Desiree Cristina Velasco Zavala sang the national anthem at the ceremony.  Here is her post on Facebook:

Today I had the awesome opportunity to sing the national anthem for an event attended by none other than BILLY IDOL, singer of my all-time favorite song in the world-Dancing with Myself! What a huge honor to sing today and have him be in the 1st row-though it was a bit nerve wrecking! I was lucky enough to get some hugs and photos, too. And the judge even asked him how he liked my rendition of the anthem and he said it was great and gave me two thumbs up. Honestly, the BEST work day EVER!!!!





November 15, 2018 in Current Affairs, Music | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, October 27, 2018

Don't Be A Lawyer

My Crazy Ex Girlfriend is a show on the CW that intersperses traditional dialogue with dream-sequence song and dance numbers. This week's show featured Don't Be A Lawyer:

Here is one of the most memorable lines: "There are so many other professions that don't turn you into Jeff Sessions."

Also of note, in the midst of the song, an aspiring lawyer inquires "What about human rights law?" The song answers back: "No money, no, no money." Then, "Immigration law?" The answer: "No money, plus it's a bummer."

This is NOT one for the classroom.


October 27, 2018 in Film & Television, Music | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Your Playlist: Belly

Check out this new track by Belly (featuring Meek Mill and M.I.A.). It's called Immigrant:


Here are a few choice snippets:

Immigrant, that's why they hate me just for bein' me
We ain't wanna leave overseas, we were under siege

Huh, oh Lord, we need a breakthrough
Lock our babies up and then they tell us that it's fake news
Yes, Lord, we need a breakthrough
Build a fuckin' wall, I guarantee the people break through


October 23, 2018 in Music | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, September 21, 2018

New Music: Black Eyed Peas tackle gun violence, immigration in videos


A new video release by the group  The Black Eyed Peas is in the news.  In videos for their new song "Big Love," the group looks at gun violence at schools and immigration..  The videos were released today. Proceeds from the song will benefit the student-led March for Our Lives organization, calling for stricter gun laws, and Families Belong Together, which opposes the Trump administration policy of separating children from families in immigrant detention.


September 21, 2018 in Current Affairs, Music | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, September 17, 2018

Music Break - Make America Great Again


The controversial Russian band "Pussy Riot" provides a scathing social criticism of the Trump administration's immigration policies in this video.

UPDATE (Sept. 2919):  The band made the news this week when it was reported that a member, Pyotr Verzilov. may have been poisoned. Verzilov is in the hospital in Germany. 




September 17, 2018 in Current Affairs, Music | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, August 31, 2018

Your Playlist: Capitol Steps

The satirical group Capitol Steps released this updated version of Hotel California called Hotel Arizona:

I'll be honest, I won't be playing this in class anytime soon. I cannot stand the song Hotel California. When I was an exchange student in Spain many years ago, my housemate asked me to translate the song for her - it was her favorite. When I was done, she was horrified. She didn't realize how creepy the song was. It super is. Still, Eagles enthusiasts may enjoy this parody. Especially the trick ending.


August 31, 2018 in Music | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Your Playlist: Springsteen

Bruce Springsteen is a definite go-to for the immprof playlist (here, here), but have you heard his song American Land? It could be the toe-tapping start you need for the semester.


August 30, 2018 in Music | Permalink | Comments (1)

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Watch: Logic’s emotional VMAs performance protesting family separation


From Vox

In a performance of his song “One Day” at the 2018 MTV Video Music Awards, rapper Logic and Ryan Tedder took the stage alongside hundreds of immigrant children and their parents.

The performance echoed the song’s recently released music video, which also addresses the ongoing immigration and family separation crisis. As hundreds of kids filed onstage to stand behind Logic as he rapped, “We do it for the children,” the emotion of the moment struck home — especially when it was revealed that the shirts the children wore were emblazoned with the words “We Are All Human Beings.”

Here is the music video:



August 21, 2018 in Current Affairs, Film & Television, Music | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Neil Sedaka’s 1975 song revived for anti-immigrant era


Robert Morrison on The Conversation writes about the modern relevance of Neil Sedaka's 1975 pop hit "The Immigrant." Sedaka is an American singer-songwriter who has written dozens of hit songs. His song “The Immigrant” was a Top 30 hit when he released it in 1975.

Lyrics to “The Immigrant”

Harbors opened their arms to the young searching foreigner
Come to live in the light of the beacon of liberty
Plains and open skies, bill boards would advertise
Was it anything like that when you arrived?
Dream boats carried the future to the heart of America
People were waiting in line for a place by the river

It was time when strangers were welcome here
Music would play
They tell me the days were sweet and clear
It was a sweeter tune, and there was so much room
That people could come from everywhere

Now he arrives with his hopes, and his heart set on miracles
Come to marry his fortune with a hand full of promises
To find they’ve closed the door, they don’t want him anymore
There isn’t any more to go around
Turning away, he remembers he once heard a legend
That spoke of a mystical, magical land called America


©Neil Sedaka and Phil Cody


August 7, 2018 in Current Affairs, Music | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Protesting Trump's Immigration Policy Through Song


NPR reports on protest music responding the Trump administration's immigration policies.  Nothing struck a public nerve in the United States like the news that children were being forcibly separated from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border by the Trump administration earlier this year.

Social media and opinion polls condemned the policy.  Hundreds of protests took place around the country.  And politically engaged musicians spoke out.

Ultimately, the Trump administration changed the policy.


July 12, 2018 in Current Affairs, Music | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, June 29, 2018

World Premieres Make Classical Music History in Vienna, Give Voice to Migration Stories


Young talented composers and musicians from Afghanistan, Turkey, the United States, Austria, and Japan are pictured with International Organization for Migration Regional Director Argentina Szabados and Bärli Nugent, Assistant Dean and Director of Chamber Music of the Juilliard School. Photo: Lanna Walsh / International Organization for Migration

Here is an upbeat migration story.

The “Voices of Migration” concert, the first ever musical event of its kind to be held at the United Nations, took place in the Rotunda of United Nations Vienna International Center yesterday, showcasing the richness of culture and art that migration brings. Co-hosted by the International Organization for Migration, the UN Migration Agency, and the United Nations Information Service (UNIS), the historic concert featured powerful performances, including two world premieres by migrant composers from the Islamic Republic of Iran and Turkey, performed by a diverse group of world-class musicians.

The stunning programme was curated by Bärli Nugent, a renowned concert flautist and Assistant Dean and Director of Chamber Music of the Juilliard School in New York City. The event drew a high-level audience of over 150 diplomats, UN officials, classical music aficionados, and members of academia. Highly acclaimed Vienna musicians included Sophia Hahn of the Schönbrunn Palace Orchestra, violinist Sylvia Kimiko Krutz, soprano Jerilyn Jiuan-Ru Chou, and pianist Aki Maeda.




June 29, 2018 in Current Affairs, Music | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Your Playlist: Rise Against

I'm always on the hunt for new songs to play in class. Here's a 2009 song by Rise Against called Prayer of the Refugee. The chorus is pretty damning: "I don't need your help now / You will let me down, down, down!"


April 8, 2018 in Music | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, March 19, 2018

Your Playlist: Miguel

Do you cover immigration detention? Then this is the music video for you: Miguel's Now.


March 19, 2018 in Music, Teaching Resources | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Your Playlist: Camila Cabello

Don't judge, you know that Camila Cabello's Havana is catchy as all get out. Your students will love it. And you can tie it into the push-pull factors of migration ("He took me back to East Atlanta" but" half my heart is in Havana").


March 14, 2018 in Music | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Your Playlist: Mennel

Mennel, a 22-year old student, recently auditioned for The Voice (France edition). She sang Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” in both English and Arabic. Menne father is Syrian-Turkish and her mother is Moroccan-Algerian.


February 6, 2018 in Music | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, January 29, 2018

Singer Songwriter Camila Cabello Gives a Shout Out to the DREAMers on the Grammys


Camila Cabello – the Cuban-American singer and songwriter - made a heartfelt appeal to Dreamers before introducing U2 on the Grammys last night.





January 29, 2018 in Music | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, January 1, 2018

Your 2018 Ringtone

For non-Spanish-speaking immprofs, the song begins with: "If immigration comes to arrest you, keep calm. You have the right to remain silent... [and] ask for an attorney.”

The 20 second ditty was created by Unite Here Local 1. Their goal: to educate immigrants about their rights during an arrest. As Maya Miller reports for WTTW (Chicago), "It was made with the intent to be catchy so the lyrics would be easy to recall in stressful or nerve-racking situations."

The union hopes that immigrants and citizens alike will download the ringtone in an effort to educate as many as possible about their rights.


January 1, 2018 in Music | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Your Playlist: Charlie Parker Quintet

This is Visa, from the Charlie Parker Quintet:

Off the same album, you'll find Passport:


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

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Music Break: Jackson Browne - The Dreamer (Featuring Los Cenzontles)