We at Wear Your Voice make no secret of being very politically minded. We beg you to vote in next week’s election. It’s time that we come together and unify to say, “enough is enough.”
The artists on this week’s playlist do just that. One of the main albums featured in this mix is the intense, politically charged album 30 Days, 30 Songs. The album features many different voices from oppressed identities and allies, all opposed to a potential Trump administration.
One of the voices featured is Helado Negro. The band’s vocalist, Roberto Carlos Lange, is son of Ecudorian immigrants; he was raised in South Florida. His music is infused with the heat and humidity of that region, as well as various Latin identities that make up the cultural landscape of the diverse state. Helado Negro was the recipient of the Joyce Foundation Award and has traveled the world with Tinsel Mammals, now supporting their recent album, Private Energy.
Lorine Chia is a brilliant woman in hip hop who should not be missed. Citing Nina Simon and Talib Kweli as influences on the recent “I Just Want To Live” video, she speaks out against the danger she experiences living as a Black person in America.
“As Nina Simone once said, it is our duty as artists to reflect the times. I saw the “State of Grace” video by Talib Kweli and instantly got inspired. I knew Dreambear was the team to help me with this one. Dani is an such amazing artist. I wanted to showcase our present times. I live in constant fear that I or someone close to me could be the next victim of police brutality or racial profiling and all I want to do is just live,” Chia says.
While there is no video for Lila Downs’ song “The Demagogue,” she offers videos for plenty of her other spectacular tunes. Born in Oaxaca, México, Downs is the daughter of a Mixtec Indian woman who ran away from her village at 15 to sing in Mexico City cantinas. Downs’ father is a University of Minnesota professor.
No stranger to Mexican and Central American politics, Downs has long been a vocal proponent of Latinx and indigenous rights. Her music explores themes prevalent in the lives of immigrant women, including the desire to set roots and the need for community. “I am very fortunate,” Downs says. “People who follow our music belong to all walks of life. Every day we connect with them.”
Son Little is Aaron Livingston, born the son of a preacher and a teacher in Los Angeles, California, who eventually found himself in Philly. Citing Paul McCartney, Kendrick Lamar, Little Dragon and Grizzly Bear as influences, Son Little creates a gorgeous form of modern soul that is uniquely him. “I never thought that genres matter, I just mixed them all up and put them next to each other,” he says. “Making a mix growing up, I’d put Nirvana next to Nas next to Coltrane; Hendrix next to Naughty By Nature, whatever. I always thought of it that way. I actually feel like it’s maybe the norm that people don’t even think about it anymore, except in the industry, where there’s more pressure to conform. Maybe the landscape is so blurry it makes people nervous, they just want to categorize something. Using band names as adjectives, that’s kinda cool but I look at it from my own thing and it’s gonna need more band names.”
Livingston’s music touches on many different experiences, all of which are uniquely American.
“Part of what’s unique about this country is its intense mixture of things. People in different regions don’t always understand each other that well, but music can go places that people won’t always go. That’s part of who I am and definitely part of the music I’m making, so now more than ever I feel very American,” Livingston explains. “There’s a lot of different colors there and they kinda fade into each other, but the constant for me is the dream, the smudge, the saturation,” he says. “Every color there is very deep, very rich; you put them all together and it’s the bright light of the sun.”
Stay tuned for the next edition of #MusicMonday!