Friday Music: ‘This Land Is Your Land’

Wishing everyone a Merry Christmas on this Friday before the holiday! One of us is just done celebrating Chanukah and the other is about to head into Christmas festivities. In this week when we’ve felt a bit down about the state of the country and the world, we thought we’d offer you a familiar standby.

Here’s This Land is Your Land in a new rendition by Maxwell‘s AllStars, filmed by Boyd Matson, who captured both the recording session and a montage of newsreel films touching on civil rights, immigration, and the variety of people and places that constitute America. The direct YouTube link is here.

Here’s Matson’s description of the film and the list of participating artists.

There’s been so much heated rhetoric recently about who qualifies as a good American, what constitutes acceptable American values, and even whether or not our diversity is one of the strengths of America that I decided to record a video to highlight the concept that what makes America great is the promise that this is a land of equality & justice for all. I got some of my LA musician friends together to update that old Woody Guthrie song that says it in the most straightforward manner, this is a land for you, me, and everyone.

Vocals: Táta Vega, JD Hinton, Lisa Stone, Bili Redd, Charlean Carmon, Jon Peter Lewis. Guitars: Caleb Quaye, Hadley Hockensmith. Bass: Abraham Laboriel, Pee Wee HillPiano: Michiko Hill. Organ: Tim Carmon. Drums: Bill Maxwell

Recorded by James Salter at The Evergreen Stage. Mixed by Bill Schnee at Schnee Studio. Produced by Boyd Matson and Bill Maxwell.

Refugees, Sesame Street, and Friday Music

Courtesy of NPR, an excellent article on the newest visitors to refugee children: the Sesame Street Muppets.

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image via NPR

We are fascinated by the research process that Sesame Workshop is up to here.

In partnership with the International Rescue Committee, Sesame producers and early-childhood experts are soliciting guidance and feedback from relief organizations, trauma experts, academics and others who have worked with refugees. They’ll also be making research visits to refugee camps in Jordan.

According to the IRC, of the 65 million people displaced from their homes worldwide, more than half are children.

As American readers, steeped in multiculturalism (not to mention as Bay Area readers, used to a high level of diversity), what stood out the most to us, though, was what children might not be taught.

Cairo Arafat, who oversees production of the Arabic language Sesame Street from Abu Dhabi, urged her colleagues not to make assumptions that refugees will share their values such as inclusivity.

“In many of these populations,” she said, “children are still taught, ‘No. Be wary of the people who don’t talk like you, don’t look like you or come from a different sect.’ ” With the special conditions facing refugees — including security issues — Arafat advised careful thinking about what they would like to teach.

Continue reading “Refugees, Sesame Street, and Friday Music”

Friday Music: Matisyahu’s Reservoir

In honor of Passover, a song with allusions to the Exodus by Matisyahu, the American musician. Emphasis is on his voice and the lyrics.

You can read a review of the Akeda album, from which Reservoir is taken, here. (Akeda is Hebrew and refers to the binding of Isaac).

“Reservoir” (lyrics courtesy of A-Z Lyrics)

I just wanna talk to You now
This is for the One
You kept me alive
And so I thank You

Moses is on his way down town Continue reading “Friday Music: Matisyahu’s Reservoir”

Friday Music: Wyclef’s Lady Haiti

As we have before, we’re reposting content from Black Perspectives, the blog of the African American Intellectual History Society or AAIHS. It’s a brief article-interview by Darryl Robertson, an undergrad (we’re impressed), entitled Wyclef Jean on Black History, Haiti, and His New Album.

Robertson interviewed Wyclef Jean about a new “extended play” or mini collection, from which Wyclef just released the song “Lady Haiti”. In the interview, Wyclef says, “The key here is that it’s important to know where you come from in order to know where you’re going. Haitians have a very important history. Haitian history is tied to all black history.”

Enjoy!

Friday Music: Second Line Blues

Fridays are music day. Here’s Sweet Honey in the Rock paying tribute to lives taken by violence in Second Line Blues.

From Sweet Honey’s webpage:

The “Second Line Blues” song reflects the current state of gun violence, the senseless loss of life, mass murders, and police brutality in our communities. It pays homage to many who are known and unknown including Emmett Till, Freddie Gray, Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Clementa Pinckney, Tywanza Sanders, Amadou Diallo, Sandra Bland, Walter Scott, Susie Jackson, Sean Bell, Tamir Rice, Ethel Lance, Cynthia Hurd, Eric Garner, Myra Thompson, Daniel Simmons, and the mass killings in Sandy Hook, Columbine, Virginia Tech and many more. It is written and performed by founding member, Louise Robinson. It is inspired by the New Orleans tradition of funeral procession. The first line of the band is the procession and the second line of the procession consists of the mourners.

And a classic by Sam Cooke, “A Change is Gonna Come”. More about its history here from the New Yorker.

Friday Music: Mercy Now

A quiet song for the end of the week: Mercy Now, by Mary Gauthier.

Yeah, we all could use a little mercy now
I know we don’t deserve it
But we need it anyhow
We hang in the balance
Dangle ‘tween hell and hallowed ground
Every single one of us could use some mercy now
Every single one of us could use some mercy now

We came to this song via a blog post by Parker Palmer at On Being.

Series Catch-Up!

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We’ve been working on a couple of series lately, and since we editors are slammed in our ordinary lives, it seems like a good day to collect both of those in one giant in-case-you-missed-it post. Enjoy!

Oral History:

The Music of Social Movements: