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)

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)