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Catch the remake of David Rudder’s Immigrants
“So much trouble in the Home of the Brave and the Land of the Free,” so sang David Rudder in his song, The Immigrants, released on his Beloved album in 1998. Twenty years later, the song is back in a new version by Guatemalan singer Gaby Moreno with well known arranger/producer Van Dyke Parks, who, in a storied career, has worked with everyone from the Beaches Boys to Frank Zappa and much film work.
A digital single of The Immigrants has just been released. It is part of a collaborative album called Spangled due out later this year.
But with the current immigrant crisis in the US, Parks wanted to release the single for digital download in time for the Fourth of July with proceeds to go to a non-profit to provide “for basic needs and relocation costs of refugee children in Texas.”
Rudder’s song was originally inspired by the brutal attack of Haitian immigrant Abner Louima by NYPD officers in 1997 and other experiences he saw on trips to New York City. “I had just landed in NYC when the news about Louima flooded the airwaves. There have been many stories about immigrants facing brutality, but this one and later on, the Amadou Diallo killing had something ‘extra’ about them.
They were defining moments.”
Rudder’s lyrics were blunt, “They’re moving like jackals in the hunting season /And the refugee’s soul is the meat.”
He called on the United States to see itself proudly built on immigration: The immigrants are here to stay, to help build America The immigrants ain’t going nowhere, they’re here for America Fighting for a better life, fighting through the grunge America remember Ellis Island, we all came here to take the plunge Rudder himself is performing this week at the International African Arts Festival in Brooklyn and one imagines this song returning to his performances.
Returning to Trinidad later in the month, he has a concert at Naparima Bowl in San Fernando on July 28.
Moreno is proud to perform this song. “I am a Guatemalan immigrant. This country welcomed me 18 years ago. It breaks my heart to see the events taking place at the border right now. The Immigrants was written by a wonderful artist from Trinidad named David Rudder and was brought to my attention by the brilliant Van Dyke Parks, who has arranged this piece with such passion and grace. It’s a powerful message of courage, love and faith .… We all share the same dreams and we came here to fulfill them and to prosper together.”
Moreno has released several albums, singing and writing in both English and Spanish and has touched on immigration issues in her powerful song, Fronteras.
Van Dyke Parks has been championing calypso and steel band music for almost fifty years He put pan and calypso on his 1972 album Discover America, produced an album and film on Tripoli Steelband and one with the Mighty Sparrow. Van Dyke Parks has long been a fan of David Rudder’s music and featured him in a 2003 Los Angeles memorial concert for Lord Kitchener in 2003.
Many years ago Parks saw this song as important, central to a growing refugee crisis even then and one that needed to be performed. Parks recently tweeted his faith that it could “entertain as well as inform—and change hearts.” He arranged it back in 2010 for a concert in Denmark with Moreno singing and they performed with full orchestra in two “final” concerts Parks had in Los Angeles in 2015 when he told the Los Angeles Times that The Immigrants “flies right in the face of the people who are against (them)” Parks recently noted the song “has a political punch, while also being joyful and underscoring how our culture is refreshed by immigrants like Gaby, and how those who arrive here can really redefine, and help build America.”
https://www.youtube.com/ watch?v=q6U6Ja_K2zA [new single]
https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=10150389185715227&id=3851828... [live performanceat 2015 concert]
Van Dyke Parks interview on Calypso and Pan
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