Sunday, April 30, 2006

And the Music Will Set You Free

Today is a great day for music. Neil Young has done it again. Just as his "Ohio," written after the massacre of Kent State students by the National Guard, set the tone for protest in the 1970s, he has produced a musical broadside against Bush's disaster in Iraq, called "Living With War." You can hear it on your computer for free by clicking here. And if you go to the Neil Young blog, you can see a TV interview on "Showbiz Tonight" with the normally reticient singer in which he explains very articulately, and pasionately, why he wrote the songs and rushed the package to the public. "Living with War" ends with a very moving interpretation of "American the Beautiful," and it made me feel like a patriot again. Maybe we CAN take back our country from those who would destroy it.

The second triumphant musical moment today is the release on the internet of a version of the "Star Spangled Banner," translated into Spanish as "Nuestro Himno" ("Our Hymn") and performed by Mexican pop diva Gloria Trevi, Puerto Rican reggae stars Ivy Queen and Tito El Bambino and other Latino artists, to support migrant rights, the immigration reform debate in Congress, and the huge "Un Dia Sin Inmigrantes — A Day Without Immigrants" national boycott planned for tomorrow. You can listen to it at the Urban Box Office site here. I was very moved by the music, and, as with Neil Young's effort, felt once again free to love this country and think of myself as a patriot.

Typically, Bush declared he thought it was wrong to sing the national anthem in a foreign language. And the jingoist nativists like the Minutemen were up in arms, hollering something stupid like "American for the Americans." It doesn't seem to bother the Canadians who can sing their anthem in either English or French with no trouble at all.

I find it heart-warming and inspiring to hear the music of Canadian superstars and Latino immigrants who love this country so much that they will stand up and praise its values while condemning those who would trash them. This is my America.

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