Tag Archives: Puerto Rico

New Online Workshop: Music And Voting Rights With Taína Asili

The following introduction is from the event page on the Albany Public Library webpage:

“In this workshop locally-based and internationally renowned musician and activist Taína Asili will share a history of the role music has played in the various movements for voting rights in the U.S. We will discuss the voter suppression challenges we face today and ways to organize to protect our right to vote. All participants will be invited to register to vote at the end of the workshop.  This program will be occurring online: the event URL will be sent via registration email.

Taína Asili is a Puerto Rican singer, filmmaker and activist carrying on the tradition of her ancestors, fusing past and present struggles into one soulful and defiant voice. Her music combines powerful vocals carrying themes of hope and liberation with an energetic fusion of Afro-Latin, reggae and rock. Asili’s music offers a sound that spans continents, exuding strength of spirit, inspiring audiences at venues across the globe – From Carnegie Hall to the Women’s March on Washington to the main stage of San Francisco Pride. With an energetic horn section and infectious rhythms, Asili’s music urges people to get on their feet and dance to the rhythm of rebellion. KC Orcott of The Source writes, “Taína is a true talent, and a true social justice warrior.” Her protest songs and music videos “No Es Mi Presidente,” “Freedom,” and “And We Walk” — inspired by social movements for racial, gender and climate justice — have been lauded by the likes of Rolling Stone, Billboard, Mic.com, Latina Magazine and Yes! Magazine. The Huffington Post named her in a list of “Freedom Fighting Bands To Get You Through the Trump Years,” and her music has aired numerous times on Democracy Now!

Taína is dedicated to using her art as a tool for personal and social transformation. The liberation themes in Taína’s writing are based in her activism in prisoner justice, climate justice, and food justice movements. Asili earned a Master of Arts degree in Transformative Language Arts from Goddard College, where she developed the curriculum that has become the foundation for the art and social change educational workshops she facilitates with youth and adults today. Asili also speaks and lectures at conferences and colleges throughout the nation. She has received numerous awards for work including the Leeway Foundation’s Transformation Award, Holding Our Foundation’s Fabulous Feminist Creative Force Award, Citizen Action NY’s Jimmy Perry Progressive Leadership Award, The Hispanic Coalition NY’s 40 Under 40 Rising Star Award, a New Music USA Award for her work in collaboration with Veena Chandra on the Resiliencia album, and an award from the City of Albany’s Commission on Human Rights.”

Date: Friday, October 2, 2020
Time: 7:00pm – 8:30pm
Time Zone: Eastern Time – US & Canada
(12:00am – 01:30am UK, 09:00am – 10:30am Australia)

SIGN UP HERE

Cover photo retrieved from Taína Asili’s Bandcamp page

✊ ✊ ✊ ✊

Video Of The Day: Echar El Resto by Fénix Castro Feat. MalaCara

Our buddy from Puerto Rico, Fénix Castro also part of the political rap-rock group Yuca Brava, has released a new, banging tune featuring MalaCara. Fénix is always on top of what is going on and he constantly uses his voice to try to bring awareness to the issues affecting his people in Puerto Rico. Check out the new song below!

See also: https://shoutsmusic.blog/a-protest-music-interview-fenix-castro

✊ ✊ ✊ ✊

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.