Outernational Releases ‘We Are All Illegal,’ Goes on Revolution Tour
Posted on January 24, 2012
It’s the first AMP (Art, Music & Politics) piece of 2012, which means that after sweating out most of the tamales/menudo I ate for eight days straight thanks to my newfound love/hate relationship with Bikram yoga, it’s back to tapping into sounds with a message. And there’s a big one brewing as I write this. When I got back into the office after the holidays I had several emails waiting for me from friends eager to share the new Outernational album, Todos Somos Ilegales (We Are All Illegals).
The New York-bred band, which originally formed in 2004 then under the musical apprenticeship of Tom Morello in 2008 in an effort to “spearhead a revolution,” features Dr. Blum, who leads the orchestra of trumpets, organ, accordion and harmonium, Leo Mintek on guitar, Jesse Williams Massa on bass and lead vocalist (slash-dancer) Miles Solay, who I met on the eve of their Sound Strike Arizona Benefit show in L.A. last summer.It was fitting to start the new year listening to Todos Somos Ilegales, a project that was entirely Kickstarter-funded. The album begins with a beautiful mariachi-esque trumpet and violin solo then breaks into the second track, “The Beginning is Here,” which gives props to the Occupy movement. The band tackles one of our community’s biggest issues: a broken immigration system that’s led to the death, suicide and wrongful deportation of innocent human beings.
“The very notion that any human being would be deemed illegal is not only absurd but an indictment against the very system we live under,” Solay told me while kickstarting their tour with The Wailers; a relationship formed by a mutual support of the recent upsurges in the world. “The bitter irony is that those who are deemed illegal are the very people whose backs this whole system rests upon. No human being is illegal!”
The 18-track mixtape features Rage Against the Machine guitarist Tom Morello, Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer Chad Smith, Calle 13 and Ceci Bastida on my favorite track so far “Canta El Río,” which was produced by 15-time Grammy winner Thom Russo and Uproot Andy. Staying true to its message, the album can be downloaded at a pick-your-own-price. If listening to more meaningful music is your New Year’s resolution, you have to peep this band that has come out strong in support of equal rights for all.
“When Arizona’s SB1070 passed in 2010, we decided to be on the frontlines of the battle,” Solay said. “We went to the border to promote The Sound Strike. We confronted punk rockers in Tempe [Arizona] who were supporting anti-immigrant laws. We recorded Woody Guthrie’s “Deportees” with Tom Morello in direct response to SB1070.”
To say the revolution is breathing through music is an understatement. We’ve witnessed and walked with the 99%, we’ve seen a shift in consciousness about the need to protect the environment and 2012 symbolizes the end of the Mayan calendar and the beginning of a new wave of thought. Outernational is a music movement that no longer wants to stand on the fringe. Look out for them on Amnesty International’s Bob Dylan tribute, Chimes Of Freedom (January 24, 2012), and their upcoming albums Future Rock(produced by Tom Morello; dropping March 2012) and Welcome To The Revolution (featuring Chad Smith; out May 2012). You can also catch them live at a show near you. In the meantime, I leave you with this:
“The healthy and adequate development of each is dependent on the healthy and adequate development of all. If we are to restore this world, if we are to reconfigure and realign our relationships, ecosystems, and governance, let’s do it for the love, fullness, and joyful growth of everyone.” —Luis J. Rodriguez
Story by Kamren Curiel originally published January 9, 2012.