Saturday, March 20, 2021

Your Playlist: Pitbull

Saturday nights were made for Pitbull. His song Can't Have is one for the immprofs.

For talking about immigrants who find things harder in the U.S. than they thought things would be:

The grass looks greener on the other side
Til you get to the other side, haha

Yet the song also includes these words about immigrant success:

First we shined the shoes
Then we own the shoe shop
First we make the sandwich
Then we own the restaurants
First then we clean the house
Then we own every house on the block
Not bad for some immigrants


March 20, 2021 in Music | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, March 7, 2021

Your Playlist: Los Tigres del Norte

It's Sunday night, a good time for a song that's not new, but perhaps new to you.

Check out "La Jaula de Oro" by Los Tigres del Norte. It tells the story of an immigrant from Mexico, who has been living in the U.S., undocumented, for 10 years. He misses Mexico, but cannot return. When he talks about this with his son, his son responds in English, that he doesn't want to go back. The saddest lines are about his kids:

Piensan como americanos,
Niegan que son Mexicanos,
Auque tengan mi color,

The U.S., he concludes, is a cage made of gold (La Jaula de Oro). He is a prisoner who earns money but doesn't venture out on the streets because he's afraid of deportation.


March 7, 2021 in Music | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Immigrant of the Day: Johnny Pacheco, "Godfather of Salsa" (Dominican Republic)



CNN reports that Johnny Pacheco  the "Godfather of Salsa," has died at 85.  .

"The Dominican-born multi-instrumentalist experimented with different Latin American musical styles, though he was particularly enamored with Afro-Cuban genres like charanga and pachanga. He was a bandleader, producer and record label head with an eye for talent, and his famed Fania Records would make stars out of Celia Cruz and other salsa legends."
Born in the Dominican Republic, Pacheco moved to the United States at age 11 and passed away in New Jersey.

February 17, 2021 in Current Affairs, Music | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, February 12, 2021

After U.S. Immigration Battle, Musician Kayhan Kalhor Returns To Iran



Anastasia Tsioulcas for NPR interviewed interviewed internationally-acclaimed musician Kayhan Kalhor discusses his travels from, and return to, Iran (including tangles with U.S. immigration authorities).  Kalhor's music

"is rooted in rigorous erudition, a tradition so distinctive and so precious that it's been named to the United Nations' list of the intangible cultural heritage of humanity.

His instrument, the kamancheh, is a small, dusky-toned, four-stringed, bowed upright fiddle, with a delicate sound that belies its emotional intensity. He composes, sings and plays several other instruments as well.

Kalhor plays the kamancheh in 2017. When he left Iran at age 17, he carried only two items with him: a small backpack and his main musical instrument, the kamancheh.

Kalhor is now one of the most famous performers and composers in Iran, with a global reputation. He is an integral part of the Grammy-winning Silkroad Ensemble, the artistic collective founded by cellist Yo-Yo Ma, who has become a close friend. He's written music for filmmaker Francis Ford Coppola and has collaborated with a range of vaunted artists, from Kronos Quartet, Brooklyn Rider and the New York Philharmonic to Malian kora master Toumani Diabaté and Dutch jazz pianist Rembrandt Frerichs."


February 12, 2021 in Current Affairs, Music | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, February 7, 2021

Belonging Begins With Us

Here is a provocative ad from The Ad Council: Belonging Begins With Us. It's about welcoming those who have moved to this country. As the council states:

We’ve all had moments where we felt like we didn’t belong. But for people who moved to this country, this experience can last more than a moment. Belonging Begins With Us is a new campaign dedicated to fostering a more welcoming nation where everyone – regardless of their background – can belong. This new work features exclusive new music from Lake Street Dive, covering Joe South's 1968 hit "Walk a Mile in My Shoes." Lake Street Dive appears courtesy of Nonesuch Records. #BelongingBeginsWithUs​



February 7, 2021 in Film & Television, Music | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, February 6, 2021

Your Playlist: Simon & Garfunkel

Sometimes you just want to start class with a song that's quiet and calm. Simon & Garfunkel's American Tune is about as chill as it comes. But it's hardly hopeful. They sing:

And I don't know a soul who's not been battered
I don't have a friend who feels at ease
I don't know a dream that's not been shattered
Or driven to its knees

Rolling Stone wrote about the song in 2020, describing it as a timeless "reflection of America's weary, restless mood," where we "dream of flying above it all while symbols of hope slowly recede from view."


February 6, 2021 in Music | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, January 29, 2021

Lila Downs' Tribute to Essential Workers, Dark Eyes


Lila Downs has a new song, Dark Eyes, supporting our essential workers.  The song benefits the Binational Center for the Development of Oaxacan Indigenous Communities (CBDIO), a non-profit organization created by the Indigenous Front of Binational Organizations (FIOB). 




January 29, 2021 in Current Affairs, Music | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, January 21, 2021

Bruce Springsteen's Land of Hopes and Dreams Kicks off the Inauguration Concert


The Boss kicked off the Biden/Harris inauguration concert last night in a heart-felt performance of Land of hope and Dreams.  It is good to feel hopeful again.



January 21, 2021 in Current Affairs, Music | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, January 17, 2021

Joe Biden and Kamala Harris drop playlist for the inauguration



CNN reports that the Biden/Harris "inaugural committee teamed with DJ D-Nice and Raedio -- actress, writer, producer Issa Rae's record label -- to curate the collection of songs. The result is an eclectic mix of artists, from Led Zeppelin and The Doobie Brothers to Kendrick Lamar, Sza and Major Lazer. The Biden-Harris campaign's celebratory theme song, `Higher Love' by Kygo and Whitney Houston, is also in the mix."

You can listen to the the playlist on Spotify.  One of the songs on the playlist is a Bruce Springsteen tune:



January 17, 2021 in Current Affairs, Music | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, January 1, 2021

Your Playlist: Joan Osborne

What's That You Say by Joan Osborne was released just this past July but it's got a real '70s throwback vibe:

As explained by the Grateful Web, the song was "inspired by the story of Ana Maria Rea-Ventre, an immigrant whose family came to America from Mexico to seek a better life when she was a child ... Rea-Ventre's words can be heard in her native tongue throughout the track."

Osborne describes her motivation to release the song this way: "I hear these debates about ‘the problem’ of immigration and I'm just dismayed. I think America has been enriched by its immigrants in every way. How can we forget that? Can you imagine how boring this country would be without the cultural traditions immigrants have brought with them - their food, their music, their ideas, their storytelling - and without the new forms that are created from the interplay between all these traditions? How have we come to this place where we don't celebrate that anymore?”


January 1, 2021 in Music | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, December 28, 2020

Anarchy in the UK? The UK struggles to manage immigration


Boris Johnson, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom

Brexit became a reality in 2020.  Nolan Rappaport for The Hill reminds us that, as it implements Brexit, the United Kingdom joins the United States in addressing the challenge of managing undocumented immigration. Rappaport notes that

"[t]he Public Accounts Committee in the United Kingdom’s (UK) House of Commons recently published an immigration enforcement report that indicates the UK is experiencing similar problems [as the United States] . . . .   The UK committee concluded among other things that the government of the UK does not know the size of the UK’s illegal population or have a clear grasp of the harm that it is causing."

We shall see what direction President-elect Biden takes U.S. immigration law and policy.



December 28, 2020 in Current Affairs, Music | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, November 29, 2020

Your Playlist: Carlos Santana

How do you feel about swearing in the songs that you play in class? Is is better if the bad language is, well, in another language? Try Migra by Carlos Santana. Appropriate for any discussion of Border Patrol -- though be aware of the "pinche."


November 29, 2020 in Music | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, November 4, 2020

Your Playlist: Passenger

Are you familiar with singer-songwriter Michael David Rosenberg? He performs under the name Passenger. Check out his beautiful song To Be Free, which includes these lyrics:

Like feathers on the ocean breeze
They went spinning and tumbling 'cross the sea
Never know where they'd come down
Or who they'd be
Like heather on the hillside
They were bruised and they were battered by the breeze
Searching for a place
To be free


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

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Your Playlist: Elbow

I recently stumbled across The Blanket of Night by Elbow. I'd not heard of this band or song before. But I can tell you, it is beautiful. Haunting. Here's how the song begins:

Paper cup of a boat
Heaving chest of the sea
Carry both of us
Carry her, carry me
From the place we were born
To the land of the free
Carry both of us
Carry her, carry me

Listen for yourself:

You could use this song to accompany discussion of irregular migration, European migration patterns, or asylum.


October 20, 2020 in Music | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, October 10, 2020

Your Playlist: Rolling Stones, Heartbreaker (1972)


Written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones in 1972, Heartbreaker could have been written in 2020 as an anthem for the Black Lives Matter movement.

Here are the lyrics:

Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo (Heartbreaker)

The police in New York City
They chased a boy right through the park
And in a case of mistaken identity
The put a bullet through his heart

Heart breakers with your forty four
I want to tear your world apart
You heart breaker with your forty four
I want to tear your world a part

A ten year old girl on a street corner
Sticking needles in her arm
She died in the dirt of an alleyway
Her mother said she had no chance, no chance!

Heart breaker, heart breaker
She stuck the pins right in her heart
Heart breaker, pain maker
Stole the love right out of you heart

Oh yeah, oh yeah
Want to tear your world apart
Oh yeah, oh yeah
Want to tear your world apart

Heart breaker, heart breaker
You stole the love right out of my heart
Heart breaker, heart breaker
I want to tear that world
I want to tear that world
I want to tear that world apart

Heart breaker, heart breaker
Stone love, stone love
Oh yeah, oh yeah

Heartbreaker, heartbreaker
Want to tear that world apart

Doo, doo doo doo doo doo doo, doo doo doo

For non-commercial use only.
Data from: LyricFind

October 10, 2020 in Current Affairs, Music | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, October 9, 2020

Your Playlist: Maximo Park

Looking for a new immigration tune to add to your playlist? Check out Risk to Exist by Maximo Park:

The song is pretty deep, focusing on immigration as the result of colonization:

Now I'm no expert but a cursory reading of the facts say you reap what you sow
And the expert colonises we begin, caused enough hurt to eat up the soul
And if we're proud of the things we have, shouldn't others want to share as well
Now the regimes that we propped up have descended into a living hell
Throw your arms around me
Before the waves all swallow me
I cannot breathe
Put your arms around me
I've come too far and the ocean's deep
Show some empathy


October 9, 2020 in Music | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Eddie Van Halen Dies at 65


Rock legend and previous ImmigrationProf Immigrant of the Day Eddie Van Halen ,has died at age 65 after a battle with cancer. 

Born in the Netherlands, Eddie Van Halen moved at age seven to the United States, settling in Southern California. Eddie was a naturalized U.S. citizen.

As CNN reports, "Eddie Van Halen, whose full name was Edward Lodewijk Van Halen, and his brother Alex Van Halen began performing together as teens, but formed the core of what would later become Van Halen after meeting David Lee Roth.

Over four decades, Van Halen released more than a dozen albums together.
Van Halen's guitar wizardry anchored the band through four turbulent decades of platinum albums, sold-out tours and a revolving door of lead singers, from Roth to Sammy Hagar to Gary Cherone and back to Hagar and Roth again."



October 7, 2020 in Current Affairs, Film & Television, Music | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, September 26, 2020

Your Playlist: Rage Against The Machine

Looking for a new song to play in your immigration class? Consider Rage Against The Machine's Without A Face (1996):

Here's what the band's lead singer Zack De La Rocha said about this song: "It seems as soon as the wall of Germany fell, the US government was busy building one between the border between the US and Mexico. Since 1986 as result of a lot of the hate talk and hysteria that the the government of the United States has been speaking, 1500 bodies have been found on the border. We wrote this song in response to it."


September 26, 2020 in Music | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, September 7, 2020

Happy Labor Day! Remember and Thank a Worker


Roy Orbison, Working for the Man


Bruce Springsteen, Working on the Highway


Ruthie Foster, Working Woman

On the Bruce Springsteen: From My Home To Yours” broadcast, on September 2 on Sirius XM's E Street Radio, he dedicated the show to working men and women as Labor Day approaches.  He played songs -- including those on video above -- from Woody Guthrie, Joe Hill, Patti Smith, Public Enemy, Peter Gabriel, Rage Against The Machine, Donna Summer, Bob Seger, Roy Orbison, Aaron Copeland and more.

Please help all our essential workers toiling in the fields to feed us all. Many are immigrant workers.  Immigrants, of course, have contributed mightily to Labor Day.




September 7, 2020 in Current Affairs, Music | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, September 6, 2020

The Texicana Mamas Celebrate Tejana Culture With Wondrous Harmony



NPR writes "[t]he mashup of Mexican and Texan cultures manifests itself in food, fashion, attitude and music in a way that is distinct from the rest of Southwestern U.S. " This week's Alt.Latino guests, the Texicana Mamas (Tish Hinojosa, Stephanie Urbina Jones, Patricia Vonne) are yet another example of that cultural hybrid.  The story and new album are worth a listen.



September 6, 2020 in Current Affairs, Music | Permalink | Comments (0)