Sunday, March 22, 2020

Your Playlist: Mary Jane Girls

Tomorrow marks the end of Spring Break and the start of online classes here at OU. To commemorate the transition to a virtual classroom in a quarantine world, let me recommend the Mary Jane Girls hit In My House.


March 22, 2020 in Music | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Your Playlist: Michael Bruening

Thanks, Natalie Teague, for pointing us to this fabulous video.


March 18, 2020 in Music | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, March 1, 2020

Your Playlist: Meklit

Meklit describes herself as an "Ethio-American vocalist, singer-songwriter and composer, making music that sways between cultures and continents." Check out her song This Was Made Here, which features the wonderful lyric "names get braided":

Can't get enough Meklit, you might find her TED talk interesting: The Unexpected Beauty of Everyday Sounds.


March 1, 2020 in Music | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, February 10, 2020

Musical in NYC Area: Fandango for Butterflies (and Coyotes)



An En Garde Arts Production
Written by Andrea Thome
Directed by José Zayas
Music by Sinuhé Padilla

Fandango for Butterflies (and Coyotes) is now playing in the New York City areaHere is the synopsis:

"Inspired by interviews with undocumented immigrants from Latin America living in New York, the piece will take the form of a fandango, a community celebration where stories are brought to life through live performance, music, and dance.

On the eve of city-wide ICE raids, a group of immigrants gather in an undisclosed community center in NYC for a fandango. As fear encroaches — fear for family left behind in their home countries, fear for loved ones in the middle of their dangerous journey to New York, fear of leaving the sanctuary of the community center simply just get a bag of ice — a sense of camaraderie builds between the participants. Strangers become friends, friends become family, and the fandango plays on."


February 10, 2020 in Current Affairs, Film & Television, Music | Permalink | Comments (1)

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

One Year After His Arrest by ICE, 21 Savage’s Immigration Case Is Far From Over


In February 2019, rapper 21 Savage was released from immigration detention.  Marc Hogan for Pitchfork updates us on his 21 Savage career and immigration case: 

"One year has passed since 21 Savage’s controversial arrest by U.S. immigration authorities. For the Atlanta-based rapper, who relocated there from his native UK as a child, the past 12 months have been eventful but shadowed with uncertainty. For allegedly overstaying his visa, he faces deportation and a 10-year ban from returning to America. The case remains open, mired in a nationwide immigration court backlog that could leave him without legal resolution for years. (Charles Kuck, 21’s immigration lawyer, tells Pitchfork there are no new updates to the rapper’s case at the time of this writing.) While he waits in legal purgatory, 21 Savage has been plenty busy: touring, doing features on over a dozen songs, and even winning a Grammy."


February 4, 2020 in Current Affairs, Music | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, February 3, 2020

15 Minutes of Latinx Fun (with a side of immigration politics): The Superbowl Halftime Show

Here is the entire Shakira/J-Lo Superbowl Half Time Show:

Now, let's talk about it.

At my house, the number one question people had was: who is that rapper? It's J Balvin. He's a reggaeton heavyweight out of Colombia. (That's also where Shakira hails from.)

Next, you might have also asked yourself: did I just see kids in cages? Yes you did. Jump back to 11:40. That's when J-Lo's daughter Emme kicks things off, singing from her cage: "If you wanna live your life, live it all the way and don't you waste it." Once Emme exits the cage (and stands next to her mom who is bedecked in the most fantastic reversible boa jacket ever seen -- one side American flag, one side Puerto Rican flag -- Emme starts singing "Born in the USA."

A powerful performance by some pretty amazing Latinx entertainers.


February 3, 2020 in Current Affairs, Film & Television, Music, Sports | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, January 30, 2020

Your Playlist: Cypress Hill

What pairs well with drug-related removal grounds? Just about anything, if I'm being honest. There are a million and one drug-related songs to choose from. But I'm partial to Cypress Hill, Hits from the Bong.


January 30, 2020 in Music | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, January 23, 2020

Your Playlist: Gaby Moreno and Van Dyke Parks or David Rudder

The Immigrants is song performed by different musicians. Pick your favorite version:

Here's the meat of the chorus:

The immigrants are here to stay, to help build America
The immigrants ain't going nowhere, they're here for America
Fighting for a better life
Fighting through the grunge
America remember Ellis Island
We all came here to take the plunge


January 23, 2020 in Music | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, January 4, 2020

Your Playlist: Gaby Moreno and Van Dyke Parks (with Jackson Browne)

This is Gaby Moreno and Van Dyke Parks with Jackson Browne performing Across the Borderline.

If the song sounds familiar, that's because it's been around awhile. You may be familiar with the Willie Nelson or Ry Cooder versions of the tune.

Here's a taste of the lyrics:

There's a place where I've been told
Every street is paved with gold
And it's just across the borderline
And when it's time to take your turn
Here's a lesson that you must learn
You could lose more than you'll ever hope to find

When you reach the broken promised land
And every dream slips through your hands
Then you'll know that it's too late to change your mind
'Cause you've paid the price to come so far
Just to wind up where you are
And you're still just across the borderline


January 4, 2020 in Music | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, December 8, 2019

Music Break: Watch Lin-Manuel Miranda's Stunning Video: "Immigrants (We Get the Job Done)"


As finals season descends upon us, an upbeat music break is required every so often.  Here is a possibility.  

In 2017, Lin-Manuel Miranda released a striking music video for the song "Immigrants (We Get the Job Done)."   The track is taken from The Hamilton Mixtape, a compilation of songs pulled from Miranda's musical. It debuted at No. 1.



December 8, 2019 in Current Affairs, Music | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, December 6, 2019

Your Playlist: Luba Dvorak

This is American Sin by Luba Dvorak.

You can find the full lyrics here. For now, here's a sample:

Moon was high the river was low
When we left Guatemala for Mexico
My wife she died in El Salvador
Me at the kid we headed north

Dvorak himself is an refugee from Czechoslovakia. As the Houston Chronicle discovers, Dvorak was amazed by the refugee camp in Austria: "Me and my brother. He was 5, I was 6, and we thought it was the coolest thing: This old army base that had been evacuated and filled with bunk beds, and three families to a room. Only later, did my mother tell me about how terrible it really was."

Houston immprofs -- this guy plays Wednesday nights at Shoeshine Charley’s Big Top Lounge. Massively jealous of y'all.


December 6, 2019 in Music | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, November 30, 2019


#NoMusicForICE is a campaign by musicians to remove their music from Amazon in protest of the tech company's "providing digital infrastructure that powers Immigration and Customs Enforcement," in furtherance of ICE's "human rights abuses."

Check out this piece from Newsweek and this post on Medium for more on the movement.

Screen Shot 2019-11-30 at 7.46.22 PM


November 30, 2019 in Current Affairs, Music | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, November 29, 2019

Your Playlist: James Brown

How have I never played this classic before? James Brown's Living in America. I'm thinking this might pair well with 42B Cancellation.


November 29, 2019 in Music | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, November 23, 2019

Your Playlist: The Beatles

Immprof Sarah Sherman-Stokes recently played The Beatles' Here Comes the Sun before her class on DACA. After all, John Lennon's fight for deferred action may well have paved the way for DACA itself.

Besides, in these so-often-dark days, we should all be on the lookout for a little sunshine.


November 23, 2019 in Music | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, November 11, 2019

Your Playlist: Christina Aguilera

I'm wrapping up asylum today in my podium immigration course. I'm going to share the Jeff Sessions quote about dirty immigration lawyers and play the Trump quote about asylum being a big fat con job. What's the perfect song to pair with this topic? Christina Aguilera's Dirrty, of course.


November 11, 2019 in Music | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, November 1, 2019

Your Playlist: Daniela Andrade

For your Friday night listening pleasure: Daniela Andrade's Gallo Pinto. Here's one verse:

This one’s for my mami, this one’s for my dad
Gave up everything to give me
What they couldn’t have
This one’s for dreamers
Working through their past
You are not defined by all the things that you don't have


November 1, 2019 in Music | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, October 25, 2019

A Sign of the Times?: Rock Icon Neil Young to Become an American Citizen, Voice Political Opinions



Randy Lewis for the Los Angeles Times reports that rock music icon Neil Young will become a U.S. citizen.  A long time resident of the United States, Young is well-known for the political angle to his music.  As Lewis reports, 

“`I’ve passed all the tests; I’ve got my appointment, and if everything goes as planned, I’ll be taking the oath of citizenship' shortly after turning 74 on Nov. 12. The salient point being, `I’ll be able to vote,' said Young, who has lived roughly two-thirds of his life in the U.S. since arriving in Los Angeles in the mid-’60s and first making his mark on the rock ’n’ roll landscape with Buffalo Springfield.

`I’m still a Canadian; there’s nothing that can take that away from me,' he said. . . . `But I live down here; I pay taxes down here; my beautiful family is all down here — they’re all Americans, so I want to register my opinion' about this country."

Young's decision to become a citizen may be part of a more general trend among immigrants who want to participate politically through the ballot box.  As Matt Pearce reported earlier this week, "Over the last two decades, naturalized immigrants have grown into a force at the ballot box, with the United States recently swearing in more than 700,000 foreign-born U.S. citizens each year. . . . Naturalized citizens . . . cast more than 8% of the ballots in the 2018 midterm elections, almost double their share in the 1996 presidential contest, according to U.S. Census Bureau estimates."


October 25, 2019 in Current Affairs, Music | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, October 11, 2019

Singer/songwriter Lila Downs Protests Child Detention


Mexican singer-songwriter Lila Downs appeared at UC Davis last night.  Earlier this year, she released a over of Manu Chao’s “Clandestino” with her own unique twist. She played the song last night. 

The original song speaks to undocumented communities living in hiding. Downs’ rendition is a lively cumbia take on the original, with a focus on current issues at the U.S.-Mexico border as she sings, “If we don’t fight for the children, what will become of us?”

“I mention the immigrant children in the detention centers and sing from the feminine perspective, about the thousands of women and children who migrate today,” she said in an interview with Rolling Stone.


October 11, 2019 in Current Affairs, Music | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

'I Feel Afraid for My Country.' Selena Gomez on America's Immigration Crisis


Check this out in Time! 

'I Feel Afraid for My Country.' Selena Gomez on America's Immigration Crisis

As Gomez puts it, "I’m concerned about the way people are being treated in my country. As a Mexican-American woman I feel a responsibility to use my platform to be a voice for people who are too afraid to speak."


October 1, 2019 in Current Affairs, Music | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Your Playlist: Brandy Clark

I've been searching for the right song to pair with diversity visas for a long time. I can't say I'm done with that search, but here's the song I landed on for this year -- Brandy Clark's Pray to Jesus.

It's a pretty song and the chorus is nicely on point:

So we pray to Jesus and we play the lotto
Cause there ain't but two ways
We can change tomorrow
And there ain't no genie
And there ain't no bottle
So we pray to Jesus and we play the lotto


September 11, 2019 in Music | Permalink | Comments (0)