“Yes, We Can!” The Soundtrack of Chicago’s Mayoral Runoff

by Gail Dee/We Want Music Without Borders

Funkadesi’s rousing drum procession and the fiery speech of Chuy Garcia from the Unity in the Community on March 29, 2015.

Cries of “Yes, we can!” and “Si se puede! ” are being heard in all parts of Chicago’s racially and ethnically diverse, segregated city. Whether Jesus “Chuy” Garcia wins the Chicago mayoral runoff April 7 election or not –the movement to elect him– (insert >> the people of Chicago) –will have  figuratively punched a hole in both voter’s ballots and in the dam(n) of voter resignation & indifference.

The race is riveting. It’s about BIG money vs the insurgent power of the people although it’s not Republican vs. Democrat.  It’s between two Democrats- a famous plutocrat deriving his power from wealth-Mayor Rahm Emanuel and challenger, Cook County Commissioner Jesus “Chuy” Garcia, a relatively unknown grassroots populist.   Although Rahm Emanuel’s multi million dollar campaign tries to paint the picture that this runoff election is about his “style” (autocratic and offputting) vs.” Chuy” Garcia’s style (cordial and inclusive) in truth. it’s about Rahm’s practice of raking in big money and who gets to influence the government.  If the people of Chicago take back their city (as Chuy Garcia asserts in his speech above) it might very well spark a movement across the nation –who knows? Maybe the world! (ok I’m very much an idealist). Update: A more realistic view of how big money is affecting the campaign can be found here: http://chicagoreporter.com/big-money-undermines-democracy-in-mayoral-election/

People are passionate about Chuy winning. Popular art supporting him is flourishing.  Original music from hip hop to Mexican corridos (ballads about his life) to rap and mariachi are being written plus fresh interpretations of the Blues. “Bigoton” ( Mustache) is catchy and could be a campaign song. It wraps up the issues at stake while getting you on your feet dancing.

Several of the compiled songs were performed at “Unity in the Community” A Concert and Rally for Chuy Garcia organized by the ad hoc “Cultural Committee for Chuy” a group of courageous people committed to creating change. The concert and rally supporting Chuy celebrated Chicago’s cultural diversity through music and art on March 29. They brought together  blues artist Billy Branch with traditional Mexican band, Sones de Mexico; Rhymefest, Funkadesi, Team Englewood Spoken Word students and many others.

You can see for yourself what you like below.

Bigoton” (Mustache) “We need someone to care not just someone that sits    on a chair”  By Crudos Tribal -Lyrics and horns by Ismael Mota;  Ricardo Contreras -drums  Efren Vásquez -keyboards Manny Arellano (Sound engineer & arranger) Studio time donated by Good Ears Studios.  This song has been aired on Univision. A lovely, sincere corrido with Lyrics/Music/Voice by Laura Crotte and Harp by  Zacbè Pichardo of Sones De Mexico.  Laura is an accomplished actress and singer. She explained to me ” A corrido is a ballad portraying the history or trajectory of a person.  Very popular during Mexican revolution but very alive today as a living newspaper in the mood of mexican “juglares” (minstrels). Team Englewood Spoken Word  ” Hide Your Schools, Hide Your Children ‘Cause He’s Wrecking It All” appeared at Unity in the Community. “.“My name is Azteca 500. I made the music and poetry because I truly believe that Chicago can change. For far to long we have been segregated and pitted up against each other. This election gives us the opportunity to take back Chicago from a mayor who has been economically violent towards communities of color. I have a strong belief that Jesus “Chuy” Garcia will advocate for people who have typically had no voice and have been disenfranchised. I did it on my own accord and received no money for my work. I am proud to be from Little Village and I did it to spread a message of a change that is coming to Chicago.

A Mariachi Corrido

Billy Branch sings “Help Me” at Unity in the Community; video courtesy of Orman Music Group.

Join We Want Music Without Borders Facebook group here for updates on music: https://www.facebook.com/groups/wewantmusicwithoutborders/

or our page https://www.facebook.com/WeWantMusicWithoutBorders

Want to donate or volunteer for Chuy’s campaign? http://www.chicagoforchuy.com

Don’t forget to vote on April 7.  Early voting ends Sat. April 4 at 5pm.

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