So yesterday we shared our readers’ first answers to the question, “What Is the Best Pro-Immigration Song Ever Recorded?” The response to that list was so positive that it lead to this post. Yes, we get even more suggestions, and here they are. Feel free to share your own suggestions.
Earlier this week we asked our Facebook community a very simple question: “What is the Best Pro-Immigration Song Ever Recorded?” We received such an engaging and diverse response that we decided to share some of the selections here.
Calle 13′s “Pal Norte”
La Santa Cecilia’s “Ice El Hielo”
Led Zeppelin’s “Immigrant Song”
Los Tigres del Norte’s “Somos más americanos”
Juan Gabriel’s “Canción 187″
Celtas Cortos’ “El Emigrante”
Ricardo Arjona’s “Mojado”
Vicente Fernández’s “Los Mandados”
Manu Chao’s “Clandestino”
Woody Guthrie’s “Deportee” (Arlo Guthrie & Pete Seger)
What other songs would you add? Let us know.
This Cinco de Mayo a bilingual rock band from Kansas City will celebrate a milestone of their own—and it involves a band of original Chicano “Rebeldes.”
Making Movies, an AfroLatino-influenced indie rock band currently on a regional tour that has taken them through Puerto Rico, Panama, the Midwest, Southwest and now California, will open for East L.A.’s Chicano rock veterans, Los Lobos, at the Second Annual ‘Los Lobos Cinco de Mayo Fest’ on May 5 at L.A.’s Greek Theatre. (The concert also features Kinky, La Santa Cecilia, and Los Fabulocos.)
The slot will mark a special moment for the quartet, whose new album, “A La Deriva,” was produced by multi-instrumentalist, Los Lobos’ Steve Berlin. Berlin was first turned on to Making Movies when the guys opened up for Los Lobos at their Kansas City show a little more than a year ago. “I was like, ‘Holy s**t, what the hell’s going on here?’ So, as a band, we were knocked out, and then I sat there for the whole show. I was riveted.” Berlin told KCUR.
Led by brothers Enrique and Diego Chi (singer/songwriter/guitarist and bassist respectively)—and made complete by percussionist Juan Carlos Chaurand, and drummer Brendan Culp, Making Movies formed in 2009. Their do-it-yourself ethos and striking live show has taken the band across the United States opening for respected artists including Ozomatli, Los Lobos, Neon Indian, Cursive, Mariachi el Bronx and Delta Spirit.
In recent weeks, they’ve been compared to Astro, Devandra Barnhart, Animal Collective, and My Morning Jacket. They also recently beat out four indie rock bands from Spain, Puerto Rico, Russia, and Japan to win MTV Iggy‘s “Artist of the Week.”
Amidst the acclaim, Making Movies still elicits surprised reactions from those who stumble upon them. Recently, while playing the growing ‘Middle of the Map’ fest in Kansas City, a local journalist noted the following comment from an “out-of-towner” in the audience: “I can’t believe this band is from Kansas City.”
We believe it. In fact, these young Rebeldes seem to be taking their AfroLatino sound to places one wouldn’t naturally equate with Latinos.
In September, they’ll headline the Northwest Arkansas Hispanic Heritage Festival, which, this year, has a special theme honoring the country of Panama. Watch Univision Arkansas’ interview with the band in regards to the festival here:
But that’s not all. The band is an avid supporter of the Dream Act (check out Tormenta, a song they wrote for Dreamers in 2010), and last year, they co-founded a weeklong music camp for kids in underserved areas of Kansas City. Called M.U.S.I.C.A, the camp is fully booked for this summer.
As for the business of their music, “A La Deriva (adrift),” is rhythmically adventurous, lyrically substantive, and melodically sensuous—a progressive Latino sound. The concept album, which tells the story of a family falling apart through lyrics that explore an abusive relationship and how it effects multiple generations, is available on iTunes or Spotify.
You can listen to the single “Cuna de Vida” here.
In the midst of a national tour (dates here) with internationally known reggae group SOJA, the Panamanian-born, Oakland-bred duo Los Rakas found time for a special May Day release called “Mi País.” The song is off their upcoming album, the double-disc “El Negrito Dun Dun & Ricardo” which will see release on their label, Soy Raka, this summer.
MTV Hive released the first video off the release, “No Tan Listo” last week, but “Mi País” hits close to home and most appropriately for today’s May Day demonstrations around the world. We hear Raka Dun expressing his American dreams and struggles while making his way to the studio as he does everyday in Oakland, California: on the train, through the streets, and finally to the studio with Raka Rich to continue striving all while reminiscing about his home country of Panama.
Watch the video:
In a recent interview with MTV Iggy, Raka Rich and Raka Dun talk about their upcoming album: “Dun’s side of the album is like a documentary. It’s a little more personal. The sound of the album is like dancehall reggae with hip-hop, experimental, with a little bit of jazz and soul. My side is called ‘Ricardo’ – it’s more about partying and nightlife. The sound of the CD is like Michael Jackson, ‘90s, uptempo music, feel-good stuff.”
LOS RAKAS ON TOUR NOW:
Boise, ID – Wed, May 1st – Knitting Factory Concert House – http://tktwb.tw/15pE0Tn
Salt Lake City, UT – Thurs, May 2nd – The Depot – http://bit.ly/10oFsoo
Fort Collins, CO – Fri, May 3rd – Hodi’s Halfnote – http://bit.ly/Z7Csem
Denver, CO – Sat, May 4th – Ogden Theatre – http://bit.ly/ZairD3
Omaha, NE – Tues, May 7th -The Waiting Room Lounge – http://bit.ly/13n85z8
Minneapolis, MN – Wed, May 8th – First Avenue – http://bit.ly/179lA7Q
Madison, WI – Thurs, May 9th – Capitol Theater – http://bit.ly/XdjBLZ
Chicago, IL – Fri, May 10th – House of Blues Chicago – http://bit.ly/ZEX0FF
Austin, TX – Sat, May 11th – Pachanga Latino Music Festival – http://bit.ly/ZjZF9c
New York, NY – Fri, May 17th – Webster Hall – http://bit.ly/YAL9Jo
Philadelphia, PA – Sat, May 18th – Electric Factory – http://bit.ly/ZyGhrz
Boston, MA – Sun, May 19th – House of Blues – http://bit.ly/WNMFcd
Petaluma, CA w/ Mr. Vegas- Fri, May 31st – Mystic Theatre – http://ticketf.ly/105bjDj
New York City, NY – Wed, July 10th – Summerstage (LAMC) – http://bit.ly/11wfo7P
ABOUT LOS RAKAS:
Los Rakas is comprised of cousins Raka Rich & Raka Dun, pioneering Panamanians by way of the Bay Area on the frontier of a new Latin urban sound. Known for their fresh mix of Hip-Hop, Plena, Reggae and Dancehall music with both Spanish and English lyricism, Los Rakas represent the cutting edge of Pan-American flows. Taking their name from the Panamanian word “Rakataka” – a negative slur used to describe someone from the ghetto – Los Rakas have set out to both inspire fellow “Rakas” by empowering them, and to become successful despite their circumstances, turning the current Latin hip-hop world on its head. Los Rakas make music born of migration and tradition, critique and celebration, joy and pain. They make New World music. American music. Panamanian Jamaican Californian music. Music for b-boys and rude girls, dancers and romancers, mainlanders and islanders and isthmus folk alike, which continues to bubble one “Raka” at a time. Visit www.losrakas.com.
Jay-Z’s “Open Letter” About Cuba Gets Responses from Pitbull, Marco Rubio, Phil Lord, and a Lame FOX News Personality
It all started after Jay-Z quickly recorded an “Open Letter” to his critics for having visited Cuba with his wife Beyoncé. The hip-hop megastar had many lines, including one that speaks to what he is suggesting is the U.S. hypocrisy when it comes to US-Cuba relations: “I’m in Cuba, I love Cubans. This communist talk is so confusing. When it’s from China, the very mic that I’m using.”
Now the hip-hop megastar is geting even more attention. One columnist writes:
Hip-hop is the CNN of the ghetto.” It was Chuck D of old school hip-hop group Public Enemy who first said these words. Yet Jay-Z the family man has proven that this saying is still true and has re-established his iconoclastic rep with his fans. Did Jay-Z and his wife Beyonce visit Cubalegally? Does it even matter when his response to the controversy, a rapidly produced song called Open Letter, is trending on Twitter and forced a response from the White House due to some of its lyrics?
Jay-Z’s new rap is already in heavy rotation on pop and hip-hop radio stations across America. But you may be wondering why the voice of the Jigga is so influential here in the US. Jay-Z is not just an artist, he’s well-known as a major mogul, a cultural trend-setter and as a high profile mega-donor and friend to President Obama and his family.
The lyrics in Open Letter referring to “boy from the hood but got White House clearance” could refer to either his trip to Cuba or to his famous visit to the White House situation room a couple of years ago. The Cuba trip has attracted the attention of Cuban-American conservative lawmakers who asked the Treasury Department to confirm the legality of the trip. The White House has said that the president, a known fan of Jay-Z’s music, did not coordinate with Jay-Z or Beyonce on the trip. That may be true, yet once again, the far right is out of step even with their own constituents. The president’s policies on Cuba are closer to those that Americans, even Cuban Americans, prefer. It seems more likely that Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, a Republican from the Miami, Florida area, is using public criticism of Jay-Z’s trip for media attention.
Polls over the last few years consistently show that Cuban Americans (and Americans generally) think the US travel embargo is out of date. The most recent Florida International University poll revealed: a majority (57%) favors lifting all restrictions on travel, 60% oppose restrictions on family travel, and 57% even support re-establishing diplomatic relations with Cuba. Oh, and a whopping 80% of respondents believe that the embargo has “not worked very well” or “not worked at all.”
Jay-Z’s song led to a very raw and honest response by Pitbull.
Yeah, Pitbull responded. It was straight out of Miami and his heart, and speaks to his family history and the feelings of many Cuban Americans who were forced to leave Cuba. Yet at the same time, Pitbull says this: ““Question of the night, would they have messed with Mr. Carter if he was white?/ … Happy fifth year anniversary, Jay and B/ Don’t worry, it’s on me.” Here it is.
In the meantime, Senator Marco Rubio weighed in today as well, making sure to say that “Che Guevara was a racist.”
Then there is FOX News’ Dana Perino, who needs to just stop.
Finally, there was also an open letter that director Phil Lord wrote after Jay-Z released his song.
An Open Letter to Jay-Z
Dear Mr. Z,
I just heard your new track, “Open Letter,” released today. It’s got everything I love about your music: looping internal rhymes, an infectious beat, and imagery that draws me into a kind of swaggering, defiant fantasy.
Speaking of defiant fantasies, I’ve been following news of your recent trip to the island nation of Cuba. As the son of a Cuban refugee, and cousin and nephew to many Cubans on the island, I cringe when Americans visit Cuba for a fun island vacation. For one thing it’s illegal (which nobody seems to care about), but more importantly, it’s either ignorant of or calloused to the struggles of Cubans on the island. I actually encourage my friends to travel to Cuba, to bear witness to one of the great tragedies of our time, to learn about the real Cuba, to put a human face on the caricature of Americans that the Castros propagate. Exchange and travel between our two nations should be a catalyst for change, as it has been even in my own family. But for me, Cuba is not the place to have a fun, sexy, vacation. Because for Cubans on the island and living elsewhere, it’s not.
So when I heard of your visit, I thought to myself, Jay Z seems like a smart, thoughtful guy. He doesn’t realize what he’s walking into. He probably just thinks Cuba is a chic place to relax with the family. He probably just doesn’t know the things I know.
He likely doesn’t know that the Cuban tourism industry is run by the Cuban military, so when he spends money at an officially sanctioned hotel, or restaurant, he is directly funding the oppressors of the Cuban people.
He doesn’t know that most Cubans have poor access to independent news sources, the internet, books, and food.
He doesn’t know that Cuba has two health systems, one for the well-connected, and one for everyone else.
He doesn’t know that before Castro, the Cuban peso traded one-to-one with the dollar, and that since then, the Castros have raided the nation’s coffers and introduced widespread poverty to a once prosperous nation.
He doesn’t know that my ancestors fought to free Cuba from Spain, and to set up a democracy to ensure that they would always be free.
He doesn’t know that in spite of those dreams, my mother and her family fled for their lives from this regime way back in 1960, as did *two million* other Cubans.
He doesn’t know about the thousands of people executed by firing squads led by sexy t-shirt icon Che Guevara.
He doesn’t know about the dissidents, artists, and librarians that currently rot in Cuba’s prisons, and the thousands more who live in fear.
He doesn’t know about Orlando Zapata Tamayo, an Afro-Cuban dissident who died in a Cuban prison in 2010 after an 80-day hunger strike.
He doesn’t know that a U.S. Citizen, Alan Gross, is currently serving a 15-year sentence in a Cuban prison for providing phones and computers to the members of the Cuban Jewish community. He doesn’t know that all attempts by our government and private citizens to secure his release have been scoffed at.
He has likely forgotten about all those who have died in the Florida Straits, trying to float on makeshift boats to freedom.
He doesn’t know that contrary to popular understanding, Amnesty International reports that repression of dissidents in Cuba is actually on the rise.
He doesn’t know that when an international music luminary shows up in Cuba, his presence is unwittingly used as propaganda to support the regime.
He doesn’t know that artists in Cuba, with whom he was supposedly having a cultural exchange, serve under the close supervision of the government, and don’t enjoy the freedom to defiantly name check the President, call out a few senators, threaten to buy a kilo of cocaine just to spite the government, or suggest that they will follow up their purchase with a shooting spree, as rapped about in “Open Letter.”
He doesn’t know that just because our country applies a different, some say hypocritical policy to China, it doesn’t make either regime any less oppressive, or any more acceptable.
He doesn’t know that when people say “I’ve got to visit Cuba before it gets ruined,” I think to myself, “It’s already ruined. And by the way, ruined by what? freedom of speech? walls that don’t crumble? shoes? Do you mean ruin Cuba? Or ruin your fashionable vacation in Cuba?”
He doesn’t know that when I really start to think about all this, I get so mad I can’t sleep.
He doesn’t know that when he’s wearing that hat, smoking that coveted contraband cigar, he looks like a dupe.
He doesn’t know how much good he could be doing in Cuba, for Cubans, instead. Bearing witness, supporting artistic freedom, listening.
He doesn’t realize that as someone privileged to be born in a free society, one in which someone could come from nothing and become a celebrated music, sports, fashion, business and political mogul, it’s not only his good luck to be able to bring to light the needs of the less fortunate, it’s his obligation.
But then, Jay-Z, I heard your new song, and paid attention to the lyrics.
I heard you bragging about your “White House clearance.”
I heard you talk about how much you enjoy Cuban cigars.
And I heard you tell the President I voted for, “You don’t need this shit anyway, chill with me on the beach.”
You reject the responsibility to speak up for an oppressed people, even while you take up your own cause with gusto.
Then I figured it out.
You actually know all of this stuff, you just don’t care.
That’s not just being a bad citizen, or a bad neighbor.
It’s being a bad artist.
It’s Nihilism with a beat.
Today several Latin American outlets reported that reggaetón star Daddy Yankee confirmed that he was gay.
Within hours of thew news going viral, Univision reported that a spokesperson for the music star confirmed that the report was false.
On Twitter, Daddy Yankee’s profile tweeted out two tweets today in Spanish:
“Ningun imperio en la Historia, ha tenido mas esclavos que, el Dinero, los Medios de Comunicación y el Internet”
— Daddy Yankee (@daddy_yankee) April 3, 2013
“No empire in History has had more slaves that Money, Media and the Internet.”
“Temo el día en que la tecnología sobrepase nuestra humanidad “El mundo solo tendrá una generación de idiotas” Albert Einstein.
— Daddy Yankee (@daddy_yankee) April 3, 2013
“I fear the day technology will surpass our human interaction. The world will have a generation of idiots.” The quote is incorrectly attributed to Einstein, but you get the point.
In addition, the news sources that reported the initial story made reference to a “Cuevas de Peleka” club. A simple Google search of that term confirms the label is used to report rumors of celebrities who are gay. The search doesn’t show any evidence of an actual club or disco. You would think that such a famous place would have its own website.
It really doesn’t matter what Daddy Yankee’s sexual orientation is, but it is very sad to see actual news outlets report the news as if it were 100% true. Looks like an April Fools joke gone really bad. Just a few weeks ago, he addressed similar rumors:
Taking to Twitter, El Big Boss spoke openly and criticized those who believe everything they read on the web.
“Once again, ignorance has come into play,” he said. “The internet is where lies become truths and the truth becomes myth.”
And don’t take Daddy’s statement to mean he’s critical of the gay lifestyle. Last month he spoke about accepting all people, regardless of their sexual preferences.
“I have people on my team who are gay and I respect them,” he told the Spanish press.
Happy St. Patrick’s Day.
The mixing of cultures is best served when it feels real and authentic. This is one of those cases. You can just sense the pride and joy in the video.
As the poster of this video says:
“This is what happens when you mix a super nice Northern Isle Instrument, in this case the Irish Bagpipes, with Mexican Folk Melodies…. you get nothing but 100% AWESOMENESS!!!!!! THE IRISH AND THE MEXICANS SHOULD JUST MERGE COUNTRIES.”
100% AWESOMENESS is right.