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)

Friday, September 4, 2020

Your Playlist: Lucy Rose

It's Friday night and I'm listening to Is This Called Home by Lucy Rose. Here are the opening lines: 

When you're running out
And you hear them coming like an army loud
No time for packing
When you're running out
You fall to the ground
But you're holding on
Is this called home?
Land turns to dust
This can't be home
Time's running out for us

Consider it as an accompaniment to your asylum class.


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

Sunday, August 30, 2020

Your Playlist: Steve Earle

Check out Steve Earle's City of Immigrants, which opens with:

Livin' in a city of immigrants
I don't need to go travelin'
Open my door and the world walks in

It might be a nice song to open the semester.


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

Friday, August 14, 2020

Your Playlist: K'naan

Check out Coming to America by Somali-Canadian entertainer K'naan. It's a song you might use when teaching marriage fraud. (The first alternative I've found to M.I.A.'s 10 Dollar.) Here's the hook:

I'm tired of always going through barriers
I just wanna live a good life
So I'm coming, coming to America,
I hope we gonna have a good time
Baby thanks for letting me marry ya
A green card sure looks fine
So I'm coming, coming to America,
I hope we gonna have a good time

Fair warning, you might want to find a clean version. I've linked the original below.


August 14, 2020 in Music | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Your Playlist: Rhianna

American Oxygen by Rhianna might be a great way to start or end the semester. Check out these lyrics:

Oh say can you see, this is the American Dream
Young girl, hustlin'
On the other side of the ocean
You can be anything at all
In America, America
I say, can't you see
Just close your eyes and breathe

Breathe out, breathe in
American oxygen
Every breath I breathe
Chasin' this American Dream
We sweat for a nickel and a dime
Turn it into an empire
Breathe in, this feeling
American, American oxygen

The video is far more dark than those lyrics suggest. One might ask -- at the start or end of the semester -- whether this is really is a country where "You can be anything at all" anymore.


August 5, 2020 in Music, Teaching Resources | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, July 30, 2020

Your Playlist: Sara Bareilles

A Safe Place to Land by Sara Bareilles (and featuring John Legend) is a great accompaniment to your class on asylum or refugees. So many great lines but I like this verse:

Oh, imagine yourself in a building
Up in flames being told to stand still
The window's wide open
This is leap is on faith
You don't know who will catch you
Maybe somebody will


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

Friday, July 24, 2020

Your Playlist: Yolanda Be Cool & DCUP

Here's a fun and upbeat tune for your next immigration class: We No Speak Americano by Yolanda Be Cool & DCUP. Sweet video too.


July 24, 2020 in Music | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, July 3, 2020

Now Streaming: Hamilton

Hamilton, the Broadway hit, is now streaming on Disney+. The movie features the original cast. Woot. Woot.

Disney+ costs $6.99/mo. That's not nothing, but consider this: The platform has Star Wars content (including the Disney+ original The Mandalorian which is aces), the Avengers content and, my kids would point out, the entire Simpsons catalogue. Remember, we're still stuck in the age of quarantine. Treat yourself.

After you screen the movie, why not kick back with Hamilton and the Law, which includes essays by immprofs Liz Keyes and Anil Kalhan!


July 3, 2020 in Film & Television, Music | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, June 4, 2020

Music Break: Bruce Springsteen, American Skin (41 Shots)


"American Skin (41 Shots)" is a song written by Bruce Springsteen, inspired by the police killing death of Amadou Diallo, a 23 year old immigrant from West Africa.  Springsteen's performance of the song in New York City's Madison Square Garden in 2000 led to controversy; the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association called for a boycott of Springsteen's shows.

Among the lyrics:

41 shots
Lena gets her son ready for school
She says, "On these streets, Charles
You've got to understand the rules
If an officer stops you
Promise me you'll always be polite
And that you'll never ever run away
Promise Mama, you'll keep your hands in sight"

Is it a gun? Is it a knife?
Is it a wallet? This is your life

It ain't no secret (It ain't no secret)
It ain't no secret (It ain't no secret)
No secret, my friend
You can get killed just for living in your American skin

The song seemed relevant to the contemporary moment.


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

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

One Video, Shot in 11 Countries, Lets 50 Musicians Perform in Solidarity with Fellow Refugees and Migrants



Músicos venezolanos interpretan Algo está pasando - R4V (Español)

One Video, Shot in 11 Countries, Lets 50 Musicians Perform in Solidarity with Fellow Refugees and Migrants


May 27, 2020 in Current Affairs, Film & Television, Music | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, May 25, 2020

Freedom University Premieres Music Video! "Señor Presidente"


Freedom University Premieres Music Video! "Señor Presidente"

"Señor Presidente" (Mr. President) is a folk song in the son jarocho music tradition from Veracruz, México. Students, faculty, staff, and friends of Freedom University collaborated virtually during the Coronavirus pandemic to make this music video for their final Spring 2020 class project.

Each Freedom University student wrote and sang their own verse for this traditional son, "Señor Presidente," which is known for its sharp political satire. Freedom University's son jarocho ensemble "Son de Sueños" is taught by Professor Eduardo García and Professor Laura Emiko Soltis.

Every musician in this video is a first or second generation immigrant from Colombia, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Japan, Mexico, Nigeria, or Uruguay.

Guitarra de Son….... Christopher Mena
Jarana……............... Eduardo García
Violin……….............. Laura Emiko Soltis
Leona……................ Ernesto Orozco Jr.
Zapateado..............  Carolina Martinez, Laura Emiko Soltis
Vocals……............... Eduardo, Simi, Sofia, Deicy, Mateo, Arizbeth, Leo, Emiko

Alex Mascorro, Sound Engineering and Video Editing
Mascorro Productions, Inc.

Please share widely with your networks to amplify the beautiful voices of undocumented youth in Georgia!

Support Arts Education at Freedom U!


May 25, 2020 in Film & Television, Music | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, May 23, 2020

Your Playlist: The Cult

All this talk of sanctuary cities has me thinking of The Cult's hit She Sells Sanctuary.

It's hard to topple my previous recommendation -- I Wanna Live In A Sanctuary City. But the Cult offers a real contender, getting an extra edge with some musical nostalgia.


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

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Immigrant advocates protest NJ lawmaker with violin performance outside his home


Immigration activism has been on the rise in the years of the Trump presidency and the administration's aggressive immigration enforcement agenda.  USA Today reports on an unusual form of activism -- violin playing at the residence of a political leader:  "There were no protest signs, no catchy chants. Instead, Claudia Mejia-Sydenstricker, 15, played the Sarabande movement from Bach’s Partita in D minor while standing on the sidewalk outside state Assemblyman Robert Auth's home.

The recital, interrupted only by a police officer asking Claudia’s dad not to stand in the street during the performance, was spurred by a recent Assembly hearing during which immigrant advocates believe Auth used his own violin to mock undocumented immigrants."

Auth sits on the Assembly's Commerce and Economic Development Committee, which debated A-3971, a bill that would allow counties and municipalities to borrow money intended to provide coronavirus relief.

After a representative with the immigrant advocacy group Wind of the Spirit testified to the committee that undocumented immigrants were excluded from receiving federal stimulus aid, Auth picked up a violin, pretended to play it, then smiled to someone off screen. 

Auth’s actions provoked criticism.  New Jersey Citizen Action posted a clip of the hearing on its Twitter page and accused Auth of “mocking immigrants’ struggle to pay bills.” Wind of the Spirit compared Auth to infamous fiddler Nero.



May 13, 2020 in Current Affairs, Music | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, May 10, 2020

RIP Little Richard



Rock pioneer Little Richard has died at the age of 87.  As CNN reports,

"The pioneer would have stood out in any era. But in the 1950s, when Little Richard came to prominence, he was like no other: a flamboyant, makeup-wearing, piano-playing black man who personified the `devil's music' to establishment guardians.  . . . `Richard opened the door. He brought the races together," said arranger H.B. Barnum in Charles White's 1984 biography The Life and Times of Little Richard."

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

Tuesday, May 5, 2020

A Cinco De Mayo virtual concert to aid farmworkers

Farmworkers are essential workers and help keep open the food supply chain in the midst of a pandemic.   As one study recently found, immigrants comprise "31 percent of US agricultural employees, 26 percent of workers in food and beverage manufacturing and processing, 26 percent of grocery wholesalers, and 17 percent in retail grocery and other food and beverage stores."

Nicole Acevedo for NBC News reports on an event to provide support to farmworkers -- and to celebrate Cinco de Mayo.  Latin music icon Marc Anthony kicks off the a virtual music festival to raise money for the Farmworkers' COVID-19 Pandemic Relief Fund and help nearly 3 million farmworkers who have served as essential workers during the pandemic.

The "Altisimo Live!" benefit concert will be co-hosted by actress and producer Eva Longoria. It will be livestreamed today, Cinco de Mayo, starting with a tailgate at 1 p.m. ET and musical performances at 5 p.m. ET.  “Altísimo Live!” will be available on and Twitch.

The concert counts with an all-star Latino lineup which includes music legends such as Emilio and Gloria Estefan, Maná, Los Tigres del Norte, Juanes, Carlos Vives, Gloria Trevi, Los Lobos and Alejandro Sanz, as well as chart-topping artists such as J Balvin, Maluma, Anitta, Luis Fonsi, Sech, reggaeton duo Wisin y Yandel, boy band CNCO, Nicky Jam, Becky G., Tainy and Elvis Crespo.

Latino celebrities such as actors Andy Garcia, Diane Guerrero, Kate Del Castillo, Rosario Dawson, Sofia Vergara, Luis Guzmán, Edward James Olmos, comedian Cristela Alonzo and many other artists are also set to participate in the event.

Labor leader and civil rights activist Dolores Huerta will also participate in the event.


May 5, 2020 in Current Affairs, Music | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, May 4, 2020

Senior White House Advisor Stephen Miller and Public Health Restrictions on Immigration During the Pandemic

As we have posted before, Senior White House Advisor Stephen Miller is the brains behind many of President Trump's aggressive immigration policy measures.  The global pandemic is allowing Miller the opportunity to push new restrictive measures.

Since the early days of the Trump administration, Miller has tried to invoke the president’s public health powers to curtail immigration — then COVID-19 arrived, report Caitlin Dickerson and Michael D. Shear in The New York Times. “One official said the ideas about invoking public health and other emergency powers had been on a ‘wish list’ of about 50 ideas to curtail immigration that Mr. Miller crafted within the first six months of the administration.”

Even during the Obama administration, Stephen Miller — then a Senate aide — helped draft a bill that would have eliminated the Optional Practical Training (OPT), which helps international students remain in the U.S. and work following graduation, Stuart Anderson writes in Forbes. Now the administration is considering imposing new restrictions on OPT, particularly for Chinese students. Anderson references a Business Roundtable study which found that “[c]ontrary to claims that immigrants displace American workers, scaling back OPT would cause the unemployment rate to rise 0.15 percentage points by 2028.” 

Watch that man!



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

Saturday, May 2, 2020

Your Playlist: Calle 13

It's Saturday night. Let me recommend the now-defunct Puerto Rican group Calle 13 and their song Pa'l Norte:

Lyrics include the following:

Hoy me voy Pa'l norte sin pasaporte (Today I am going north without a passport)
Sin transporte (Without transport)
A pie, con las patas (On foot, with the legs)


May 2, 2020 in Music | Permalink | Comments (0)

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)