Friday, April 12, 2024

Songs to make you laugh, with 'Weird Al' Yankovic


Need a break?  Well, I sure do.  Weird Al" Yankovic joins NPR's All Things Considered to curate a playlist of songs to make you laugh in celebration of National Humor Month.




April 12, 2024 in Current Affairs, Music | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, April 2, 2024

Lead in Broadway Tour Sidelined by DACA EAD Delays

Oklahoman J. Antonio Rodriguez held one of the lead roles in the touring production of the Broadway musical Hadestown: Orpheus. Unfortunately, Rodriguez can no longer perform. In fact, he hasn't performed since March 13. And the reason has to do with paperwork and government delays.

Rodriguez is undocumented. Nevertheless, he had authorization to work in the U.S. pursuant to the DACA program. He timely filed to renew his employment authorization, but it hasn't yet come through. And so, Rodriguez is sidelined from the Hadestown production.

You can read the full story on Playbill. And big thanks to immprof (and musical fan) Elizabeth Keyes (Baltimore) for the tip. It's an absolutely infuriating tale.

As Rodriguez told Playbill: "It just... really sucks."


April 2, 2024 in Current Affairs, Music | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, February 14, 2024

Your Playlist: Bobby Caldwell

Shout out to my kiddo who came up with the perfect Valentines Day song for your immigration class: What You Won't Do For Love by Bobby Caldwell. After all, "Some people go around the world for love."



February 14, 2024 in Music | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, February 4, 2024

Your Playlist: Here's to You by Ennio Morricone and Joan Baez

I heard Here's to You by Ennio Morricone and Joan Baez for the first time today. One of my kids turned me onto it. How is it that a Gen Z'r was hip to this 1971 gem? Unsurprisingly, it features in a video game -- Metal Gear.

Anyhoo... the song is a great one for immprofs. You might use it for exclusion on political grounds (anarchists) or for your class on noncitizens in the criminal justice system.

Wikipedia has the full tale. It's a song about Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti--Italian immigrant anarchists who were executed in the United States in 1927 after being convicted of murder.

Give it a listen:


February 4, 2024 in Music | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, February 1, 2024

Music Break: Los Jornaleros Del Norte


This new music video by Los Jornaleros Del Norte covers the classic immigrant anthem, "La Jaula De Oro (The Golden Cage)!"   Inspired by the famous song by Los Tigres Del Norte from 1986, Los Jornaleros del Norte aim to reflect the realities of being far from one's homeland, unfulfilled promises of politicians, and imprisonment that are part of the immigrant experience -- even in the apparent "golden cage." KJ


February 1, 2024 in Current Affairs, Music | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, January 4, 2024

The 10 Best Corridos of Chalino Sánchez




Gustavo Arrellano writes about the "The 10 Best Corridos of Chalino Sánchez":

"2017 is coming to an end, and the English-language media (besides me) has yet to write a word about the 25th anniversary of the murder of Mexican balladeer Chalino Sánchez. He’s no mere singer . . . `He’s the most influential musician in the United States of the past quarter-century—no one comes even close.' Modern-day regional Mexican music is just one Chalinillo (Chalino imitator) after another . . . .  Yes, Chalino sang about the drug trade, but his main muse was los valientes—“the brave ones,” the wild men of rural Mexico whose exploits were immortalized in corridos . . . . He wrote hundreds of such songs, and his sparse prose backed by the hard-charging simplicity of conjunto norteño makes every Chalino tune a three-minute Western."





January 4, 2024 in Current Affairs, Music | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, December 31, 2023

Happy New Year!



December 31, 2023 in Current Affairs, Music | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, December 25, 2023

Merry Christmas to All: An Immigrant's Contribution to American Christmas Tradition

In The Conversation (With "White Christmas," Irving Berlin and Bing Crosby helped make Christmas a holiday that all Americans could celebrate), Ray Rast writes about two truly American songs written by an immigrant in times of crisis.  In Rast's words, 

In 1940, he wrote another quintessential American song, `White Christmas,' which the popular entertainer Bing Crosby eventually made famous."



December 25, 2023 in Current Affairs, Music | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, October 9, 2023

Voila? 21 Savage Now a Lawful Permanent Resident


News from the Rolling Stone.

Rapper 21  Savage has had some run-ins with the U.S. immigration system, even once spending time in detention.  His four-year immigration saga has come to a happy conclusion as the rapper revealed he is now a “lawful permanent resident” of the United States.  He can now visit to his birth nation of England.

In an Instagram post, 21 Savage declared “London, I’m comin home,” hinting at his first-ever concert in the United Kingdom,

21 Savage was represented by immigration attorney Charles Kuck.


October 9, 2023 in Current Affairs, Music | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, September 18, 2023

Your Playlist: Informer by Snow

Have I got the jam for you. Informer by Snow is the best-selling reggae single in US history. Don't remember the 1992 mega hit? Give it a listen:

Yeah, you know it.

Ok. So you've got a Canadian singing reggae, which he got into after Jamaican immigrants moved to his childhood neighborhood. Is that the immigration angle? Nah.

This is an INA § 212 song.


The singer, Darrin Kenneth O'Brien -aka- Snow has a Canadian criminal record. He has a late-80s conviction related to beating a person with a crowbar during a bar brawl. He served 8 months of the 1 year sentence for that offense. He spent another 8 months in jail awaiting trial for attempted murder before being acquitted. He actually wrote Informer during that second stint behind bars.

As this TikTok-er, known for his musical deep-dives, explains, O'Brien was unable to get a visa to come to the U.S. to promote Informer or later musical endeavors.

@patrickhicks82 You better listen for me now #music #musicstory #musichistory #90smusic #hiphop #reggae #dancehall ♬ original sound - Patrick Hicks Music Stories

Have your students play around with 212 and figure out his inadmissibility. 


September 18, 2023 in Music, Teaching Resources | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, July 13, 2023

Immigrant of the Day: Arnel Pineda (Philippines)

Does the name Arnel Pineda ring a bell to you? He's the current lead singer of the band Journey. You know: Don't Stop Believin'. Pineda took on the role of lead singer in 2007, taking over for Steve Perry.

Somewhere along the line I came across this article--The True Story of Arnel Pineda's Visa Journey--describing Pineda's experience in getting the visa he needed to audition with the band. Short story: it sounded like a fake narrative to get into the US. Except that the consular officer recognized Pineda from seeing him perform and had already been blown away by his ability to sing like Steve Perry!

I just used that tale in class today in our discussion of the admission process.

There are actually a few interesting videos online with Pineda, including this one where he talks a little more about his visa journey:


July 13, 2023 in Music, Teaching Resources | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, June 4, 2023

Portrait of Linda Ronstadt


Latino USA is celebrating its 30th anniversary.  It is bringing listeners voices of some of the most influential Latina/os in the last three decades.  This episode of Latino USA is with music legend, Linda Ronstadt.  Ronstadt has had an extraordinary music career.   She has produced a wide range of musical work, from rock, folk, country, big band, Broadway, mariachi and even light opera. In 2000, Latino USA interviewed Linda for the first time — delving into her Mexican roots and her decision to return to the traditional Mexican music of her childhood.  At 76 years old, Ronstadt talks about her memories growing up in Tucson, Arizona, reckoning with her family history and her legacy.


June 4, 2023 in Current Affairs, Music | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, May 5, 2023

Pathbreaking Asian American bookstore closing after 41 years


One of my favorite spots during graduate school was Eastwind Books of Berkeley, located on University Avenue a short distance from the UC Berkeley campus. It was a place to find innovative writing and discover fresh voices. It was also a gathering place for community, causes, and working out ideas to launch a movement.

So I was saddened to see in the Berkeleyside that Eastwind Books closed this week. To be sure, Eastwind is part of a larger movement of independent bookstores closing their brick and mortar locations due to competition from online booksellers, rising rents, and a transformation of commercial activity in a college town during the pandemic. They're also a small operation helmed by Harvey and Beatrice Dong, community activists who are now in the 70s, who deserve to rest and dedicate themselves to other pursuits in retirement.

But this wasn't just any indie bookstore. As the Berkeleyside article states aptly, it's served as a "library, salon, stage, and publisher for generations of Asian American writers, activists and academics." For those who never got to focus on ethnic studies because their high schools and colleges didn't teach it, Eastwind stocked the canon and refreshed it with new releases as the field of study enlarged. For those who didn't know they would be interested, they stocked music, graphic novels, and art alongside the academic monographs. (Not to mention the Asian American authors who launched first books with signings that might've been hard to garner in mainstream bookstores.)

We should all be heartened to know that Eastwind will continue to sell some books online and its sister organization, Eastwind Books Mulicultural Organization, will host events and publish books (one is already listed for May 2023). More details on the future operation and glimpses of the history and context for Eastwind as part of a larger landscape of bookstores appear in this feature article


May 5, 2023 in Books, Film & Television, Music | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, January 27, 2023

Should Australia let Kanye West in?

Professor Mary Crock

Australia is no stranger to immigration controversies.  Ye, formerly known as Kanye West, also is no stranger to controversy. Mary Crock (University of Sydney) for The Conversation considers Ye's immigration issues in Australia:

"Just one year after then-Immigration Minister Alex Hawke moved to expel tennis star Novak Djokovic from Australia on character grounds, his Labor successor, Andrew Giles, is faced with another controversial visitor in the form of Ye (formerly known as Kanye West).

Although he’s both a musician and rapper, Ye may be best described as a social influencer – and one with very offensive views, especially when it comes to Jewish people and the Holocaust."

Professor Crock concludes by noting that 

"What is clear from previous cases is the fact the immigration minister has long enjoyed extraordinary power to exclude and expel non-citizens whose presence in Australia might prove unpopular. And these decisions inevitably involve political calculations. Just ask Novak Djokovic."



January 27, 2023 in Current Affairs, Music, Sports | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, November 18, 2022

Papers Please: The Musical

Ho did I not know about this beauty? Check out Papers Please: The Musical from Random Encounters.

"You will tear up every visa from a person with a beard."

"Every migrant overweight you must now interrogate."


November 18, 2022 in Film & Television, Music | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, October 20, 2022

Your Playlist: Los Lobos

Matter of Time by Los Lobos is a great segue into topics like the push/pull factors of migration and family reunification.

Here's the opening verse:

Speak softly, don't wake the babyCome and hold me once moreBefore I have to leaveBecause there's a lot of work out thereEverything will be fineAnd I'll send for you babyJust a matter of time



October 20, 2022 in Music | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, September 14, 2022

Sierra Leone's Refugee All Stars in Concert


A nice music break with refugees from UCTV:

"Sierra Leone's Refugee All Stars have risen like a phoenix from the ashes of war and inflamed the passion of fans across the globe with their uplifting songs of hope, faith and joy. From their humble beginnings in West African refugee camps, Sierra Leone's Refugee All Stars have performed on some of the world's most prestigious stages and matured into one of Africa's top touring and recording bands."



September 14, 2022 in Current Affairs, Music | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, September 3, 2022

Your Playlist: Olmeca

Here's a fun one for your Labor Day weekend -- Olmeca's Browning of America.


I'm definitely going to work this song as an intro to one of my classes this week. It goes nicely with a discussion of "chain migration" -- after all, don't you think that phrase was created out of fear of the "browning of America"?


September 3, 2022 in Music | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, August 28, 2022

Your Playlist: Los Tigres Del Norte Ft Calle 13

Here's a heck of a song to open your semester of immigration law with: América by Los Tigres Del Norte and featuring Calle 13:

Here's the basic theme:

Porque América es todo el continente
Y el que nace aquí, es americano

Which means:

Because America is the whole continent
And whoever is born here is American

This is followed by a shout out to various American nations: Argentina, Colombia, Ecuador, Paraguay, Brazil, Chile and Costa Rica, Salvador, Uruguay, Venezuela, Guatemala, Mexico, Cuba, and the Bahamas.

My favorite bit comes a little later:

Soy la pesadilla del sueño americano
Soy América, soy lo que dejaron
Toda la sobra de lo que se robaron

Which translates to:

I'm the nightmare of the American dream
I am America, I am what they left
All the leftovers of what was stolen

This song is definitely making my playlist this year.


August 28, 2022 in Music | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, August 3, 2022

Your Playlist: Me Fui (various artists)

The story of the song Me Fui is fascinating. It was originally composed and sung by Reymar Perdomo, a migrant from Venezuela living in Perú. The original video is a street performance with Reymar leading a group of Venezuelan immigrants in song.

That video went viral. And what happened next was pretty epic.

A Colombian journalist, Daniel Samper, brought Reymar to Colombia and surprised her with a bus sing-a-long featuring three well-known Colombian singers--Carlos Vives, Santiago Cruz and Andrés Cepeda.

Cool, right? THE STORY ISN'T OVER!

Some time later, 16 Latin American artists collaborated on another version of her song: Ventino, San Luis, Debi Nova, Víctor Muñoz, Sebastián Yatra, Raquel Sofía, Fonseca, Juan Fernando Velasco, Santiago Cruz, Fanny Lu, Leslie Shaw, Silvestre Dangond, Andrés Cepeda, Cáceres and Javier Ramírez.

The title of the piece now is Me fui: El himno de los migrantes venezolanos que reunió a diferentes cantantes latinos (I left: The Anthem of Venezuelan Migrants that Brought Together Different Latino Singers).

This is clearly a song with legs. A great accompaniment to your push/pull discussion.


August 3, 2022 in Music | Permalink | Comments (1)