Category Archives: Immigrant Songs

Immigrant Songs: Elia

Elia is the most recent project of Seattle-based singer, musician and producer Ignacio Izquierdo. The name comes from Elia Liut, an Italian aviator, who was the first person to fly over Ecuadorian territory. This reflects both Ignacio’s home city of Quito and his life of movement. A son of a diplomat, he found himself livingRead more…

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Immigrant Songs: Mako & Munjuru

One of the cornerstones of Wo’Pop, and what has kept it a unique program is its focus on emerging global music and genres. This focus on the new is important, but you have to have context in order to make sense. Traditional music can be quickly overwhelmed by new ideas and the essence of itsRead more…

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Immigrant Songs: Winston Jarrett

Can you believe there was once a time where Reggae wasn’t a word everyone recognized? In the musical world you have to really be in awe of how a sound from a tiny island in the Caribbean has propelled itself into the Global Consciousness. The legendary Reggae singer Winston Jarrett can clearly remember when theRead more…

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Immigrant Songs: La Santa Cecilia

“We carry it now as a badge of honor,” says Miguel Ramirez, percussionist of Los Angeles group La Santa Cecilia, “to say that we are immigrants or children of immigrants.” After the band had stopped by KEXP a few months earlier to perform live I reached out over the phone so we could talk aRead more…

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Immigrant Songs: Kultur Shock

There are many paths that lead one to emigrate and there are many roads to becoming a musician. When you combine the two, you often find a unique beast that exists in between dimensions. The legendary Balkan band Kultur Shock is such a beast. Sometimes a musician or band creates a persona to sell toRead more…

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Immigrant Songs: Chicano Batman

For this installment of Immigrant Songs, I was blessed to have Los Angeles group Chicano Batman live in the KEXP studios. They’ve been getting a lot of attention around the country lately, both by doing some killer opening slots during tours with Jack White and Alabama Shakes and by being on the bill at thisRead more…

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Immigrant Songs: Blitz the Ambassador

On this installment of Immigrant Songs, I had the great pleasure of interviewing the Ghanaian-American Hip Hop artist Blitz the Ambassador. Blitz (a.k.a. Samuel Bazawule) represents a modern perspective on the immigrant experience: deeply colored by the internet and mobile technology, and a with a nuanced awareness of the current African scene. In past generations,Read more…

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Immigrant Songs: Chhom Nimol & Dengue Fever

Named after one of the most feared diseases that travelers to the Far East can contract, Dengue Fever is responsible for rekindling interest in a music that was nearly obliterated by one of most maniacal regimes of the 20th century. Based in the vibrant Los Angeles music scene, touring worldwide, and releasing a trove ofRead more…

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Immigrant Songs: Chimurenga Renaissance

Seattle duo Chimurenga Renaissance is generating heat in both International Music and Hip-Hop. They are musical royalty and prodigal sons who have managed to cross-pollinate the traditional and the modern, bridging two continents, two cultures, two generations and two genres. The band came about through collaborations between Tendai Maraire from Shabazz Palaces and Hussein Kalonji,Read more…

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Immigrant Songs: Meklit

Immigrants move to a new country for a guarantee: That life can be better in ways that were impossible in the home country. This is certainly true for Meklit Hadero, an Ethiopian-born woman who, through her immigrant experience as well as her talent, became an intriguing artist in the US. Immigration is inherently a traumaticRead more…

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