Tag Archives: activism

Corruption And Betrayal In Puerto Rico: New EP From Yuca Brava (Interview)

Shouts regulars and all around hard working activists/musicians Yuca Brava are releasing a new EP today, Friday the 14th. Previously we have interviewed Felix Castro, the vocalist of the band, about their music and activism.

This time I spoke with Carlos Anglada, the producer, drummer and the other half of the band. Carlos told me about the new album and how it covers the betrayal by the Puerto Rican government of their people.

Halldór: What is going on today in your surroundings?

Carlos Anglada: On January 6 & 7 of this year (2020) Puerto Rico was struck by two earthquakes. The tremors destroyed hundreds of homes, leaving thousands of people in the Southwestern region of the Island homeless. The quakes also damaged close to 300 public schools, which have been declared as unusable.

As it turns out, a geological fault (the Punta Montalva Fault) slashes across the entire Sounthwestern part of the Island. After the fault became active, there have been close to 3,000 additional aftershocks or replicas to date. People in the region live in an unrelenting state of anxiety. Refugee camps have people living in tents, not unlike the refugee war camps we have seen elsewhere. We have begun losing people who have chosen to take their own lives, unable to find any hope in their dire situation.

Adding insult to injury, on January 18th, an independent journalist caught the authorities attempting to empty a warehouse holding a substantial number of supplies that had not been distributed since Hurricane Maria and that could have been used to serve the refugees from the earthquakes. Further investigation revealed that close to a dozen other such facilities were located all across the island, all of them holding potable water, baby formula, cots, portable showers, etc. In addition, when you see politicians holding out on emergency supplies so that they can repackage them with campaign flyers, you know you have seen the height of callousness.

In summary, we’re currently dealing with the fallout of yet another round of gross negligence and mismanagement of a natural event by our so-called “government”. In the meantime the Fiscal Oversight Board (Junta de Control Fiscal – Ley “Promesa”) is pressuring the government to agree to a plan to repay our debt which would deepen our already grave financial situation by extending stronger repay guarantees to stockholders based on inflated growth forecasts.

Halldór: What is this EP about?

Carlos: We touch on a number of issues: the hollowing out of the Island to make room for the wealthy elite (“Bitcoin Messiah”), state and social violence against women (“Cobardes & Escarlatas”), and the constant lying and deceit carried out by our “government” (“Huele a Traidores” & “Status Quo”). However, the overarching theme is the utter and complete betrayal of the people of PR by the current administration.

Halldór: What is driving you or motivating you, today, to pen down some lyrics or create some beats and riffs?

Carlos: Neoliberal and austerity policies have real victims who experience real pain and suffering. Sometimes we fall in love with our own buzzwords and jargon and language and forget that we need to make this oppression real and visible to the people who we know need convincing to see the whole picture. In that sense, we are continually trying to make our perspective understandable and relatable.

Halldór: How is this EP different from your previous projects? In regards to both the recording and the creative process?

Carlos: The Micro Sessions is kind of an experiment in remote collaboration. Felix (vocals) lives in Phoenix, AZ and I live in PR. When Felix was still living here on the Island, we would write apart and once we had good working demos worked out, we would head to the studio and work there together.

Felix had to leave the Island after Hurricane Maria, since his employer was closing up shop locally. Moving to AZ was a huge change for him, and the adjustment period was hard on him and his family. We wanted to keep making music, since it’s quite cathartic for us, but Felix had not yet found how to record, so we had chosen to use the scratch vocals straight from his cellphone in the final tracks.

Our platform is your platform. Anything else you’d like to shout from the rooftops?

Carlos: We’re still a colony. That needs fixing. Urgently.

Chennai Rapper Madara Protests The Indian System In New Video

In India people have been protesting the CAA (Citizen Amendment Act) since it was proposed into law late last year.

The new act “amends the Citizenship Act of 1955 to grant a swifter path to Indian citizenship under the assumption of religious persecution”.

But Muslims, Tamil Hindu refugees, Rohingya muslims, Hindu refugees from Myanmar and Buddhist refugees from Tibet have all been excluded from the amendment.

Madara is one of the musicians writing protest songs for his country and fellow citizens. On his personal Facebook page the rapper, who’s real name is Rahul Negi, speaks of the reception of his latest song:

“It feels great to contribute to our people’s strive for a better country to live in and that has been my sole motive, to do something through my art that makes sense and is not the usual. I will keep doing my work and experiment with a lot of new sounds and topics in 2020 and to reflect things happening in our society from time to time in it.

Merciless criticism and independent thinking are defined as the two necessary traits of revolutionary thinking because they invoke the mind and draw it away from laxity to focus on improvement of an idea or shifting to another idea.
-Bhagat Singh”

Resources:

https://www.deccanherald.com/sunday-herald/sunday-herald-art-culture/tukde-tukde-rap-790990.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Citizenship_Amendment_Act_protests

“We Are Rising”: A New Protest Anthem by Taína Asili (video)

Puerto Rican musician and activist Taína Asili has made sure that 2020 starts off with a protest bang and just where last year left off.

“We Are Rising” is a collaboration with One Billion Rising, an activist movement that strives to raise awareness of violence against women.

Taína states that “Music has always been the heartbeat of our movements for liberation. With “We Are Rising” I offer women around the world a new anthem to help us tap into the energy, strength, courage and wisdom needed to usher in a new era of justice and healing.”