Monday, April 15, 2019
World-renowned cellist Yo-Yo Ma brought his Bach Project to the sister cities of Laredo, Texas, and Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, on Saturday. Laredo’s “Day of Action” featured performances in both cities to celebrate the relationship between the two communities. Ma played the opening notes of J.S. Bach's "Suite No. 1 for Unaccompanied Cello" in a park near the Juarez-Lincoln International Bridge, one of the crossings that connect the U.S. and Mexican cities.
"As you all know, as you did and do and will do, in culture, we build bridges, not walls," Ma said. After his performance, he gestured to the bridge. "I’ve lived my life at the borders. Between cultures. Between disciplines. Between musics. Between generations."
Friday, April 12, 2019
I found myself browsing YouTube for a good song to pair with discussion of sanctuary cities. Lo and behold, I found two unusual choices.
First, check out Johnny Guitar's I Wanna Live In A Sanctuary City.
That's the one I've settled on to play. Sure, the sound quality could be better. But the lyrics are charming. How can you not like a line like this: "Donald Trump continues his pedantic rants, he's gonna take away the city's million dollar grants."
The quality of this second video is much better. You would expect that as it's from the Theater for the New City Street Theater Company.
It's a solid choice and I just might play it in the future. But there's an odd rant about the EPA and climate change in the middle. It doesn't stay quite as on point as Johnny Guitar.
Wednesday, March 27, 2019
Thursday, March 21, 2019
I tend to start the semester with a heady tune like Land of the Free (the Killers) or Borders (M.I.A.). I'm starting to rethink that approach. Let's be honest, the best thing to be done on day one is to welcome the students to the class and get them psyched for the semester to come. No one could possibly do a better job with that mandate than the venerable Sir Mix-a-Lot with his version of Jump On It.
Thursday, February 28, 2019
A week before the Grammy Awards, 21 Savage was arrested in Atlanta and placed in removal proceedings by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which said he was an “unlawfully present United Kingdom national” and charged him with overstaying his visa. He was released a week later on $100,000 bond. 21 Savage — birth name She’yaa bin Abraham-Joseph — was born in London.
"Three days before 21 Savage’s arrest on Feb. 3, LaPolt was already putting an action plan in motion. `We had heard that they were looking at him,' she said.
In late January, 21 Savage performed a new version of his single `A Lot' on `The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon,' with lyrics that touched on the issue of children being separated from their parents at the United States border, a controversial Trump administration tactic to discourage illegal immigration.
`There was scuttlebutt after the Jimmy Fallon show' coming from `some very high levels in Washington,' LaPolt added. What she heard suggested that 21 Savage had ruffled feathers."
Wednesday, February 20, 2019
Friday, February 8, 2019
This is Malinda Kathleen Reese's second appearance on the immprof blog. She must be honored beyond compare. Malinda is the person behind the fabulous fun of "Google Translate Sings" on youtube where she creates videos that use Google Translate to distort the lyrics and stories of well-known songs.
For years, I've been using her google translate of "Let It Go" as an introduction to teaching court translation. No more! I will be using her rendition of Hamilton from now on.
Big ups to immprof Liz Keyes for bringing this amazingness to my attention.
Wednesday, February 6, 2019
Check out this new music video from the Killers, directed by Spike Lee. It's for their new song "Land of the Free."
I may play this in class tomorrow. We'll be talking about immigrant detention and I like the lines: "And we got more people locked up than the rest of the world / Right here in red, white and blue (I'm standing, crying) / Incarceration's become big business / It's harvest time out on the avenue."
The Killers' frontman, Brandon Flowers, told one interviewer that the song comes from a place of “enough is enough." “I would start the song, and then I would put it away and say, ‘I’m not the guy to do this’… and then it just piled up... It was just like, ‘I have to get this out.’”
Thank you, Dina Haynes, for the music tip!
Sunday, February 3, 2019
An Atlanta-based rapper known as 21 Savage has been apprehended by Immigration and Customs Enforcement. A government spokesperson has said that 21 Savage is a citizen of the U.K. who came to the U.S. at the age of 12 and overstayed his visa.
He is a Grammy-nominated artist, appearing on Post Malone's Rockstar, which was up for Record of the Year and Best Rap Performance.
21 Savage isn't just deportable for being out of status. He's got a 2014 drug conviction. And he'll be in removal proceedings in the notoriously tough courts of Atlanta.
Thursday, December 27, 2018
American Dreamers: Voices of Hope, Music of Freedom has been nominated for a Grammy Award in the category of Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album. It's a jazz album featuring a 21-piece band and spoken word stories from 53 DACA recipients hailing from 17 states and 17 countries.
Here's their new take on an old favorite, Immigrant Song:
They've also tackled Deportee:
South Coast Today has a nice write up on the album and its artists.
Friday, December 14, 2018
From Hawaii Public Radio:
Sudanese singer Alsarah is known for her powerful voice and eclectic mix of what she calls “East African retro pop.” She and her Brooklyn-based band The Nubatones are in Honolulu for a week-long residency at Shangri La.
Singer, songwriter, and ethnomusicologist Alsarah was born in Sudan to politically active parents. After a coup, her family was forced to flee to Yemen. Then when civil war broke out, they fled to the United States. Many of her songs are reflections of identity and survival.
Monday, November 19, 2018
Friday, November 16, 2018
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!
Thursday, November 15, 2018
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!!!!
Saturday, October 27, 2018
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.
Tuesday, October 23, 2018
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
Friday, September 21, 2018
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.
Monday, September 17, 2018
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.
Friday, August 31, 2018
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.
Thursday, August 30, 2018