Part of a Recital sponsored partnership with the New Hazlett Theater, Recital is presenting a series of editorially-independent previews and reviews of the 2018–2019 Community Supported Art (CSA) Performance Series. Below is their review of Migrant Liberation Movement Suite by Afro Yaqui Music Collective,a collaborative response from Recital editor David Bernabo, season review panelist Jason Baldinger, and guest panelist Maggie Lynn Negrete.
By David Bernabo
Protest music is as American as apple pie, meaning we got it from somewhere else, but it became part of our shared culture. We know abolitionist anthems like “Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child” and “No More Auction Block for Me,” the anti-lynching “Strange Fruit,” the pro-union “This Land Is Your Land,” and the wave of Black Lives Matter anthems like Beyoncé’s “Formation” and “Freedom” and Kendrick Lamar’s “Alright.” But protest music is a product of a world filled with staggered and complex oppression fueled by uneven power structures. The desire for justice and equality are not unique feelings. From proto-social justice songs about Robin Hood written in 14th century Britain to anti-colonialist songs in India, the Philippines, and South Korea to anti-apartheid music in South Africa, people all over the world have been channeling their rage, agony, courage, and hope into music to share with others.
With Migrant Liberation Movement Suite, Afro Yaqui Music Collective continues this tradition with an interdisciplinary performance made in opposition to one of the greatest threats to human society: climate change.
“[The piece] is responding to this crisis of the climate, the destruction of economies, the destruction of ecology that we feel is driving the mass migration movements in the world,” says co-founder Ben Barson. “We’re trying to make the connection between ecology and migration.”