Gaby Moreno is on the kind of creative streak that usually results in recordings that not only stand the test of time, but also set new creative standards. And that is exactly what we hear on a sneak preview of her new album with Van Dyke Parks expected to release this fall.
"The Immigrants" is a collaboration between Moreno, who is originally from Guatemala, and the renowned arranger/musician/producer. While the song's lyrics reflect that charged atmosphere and rhetoric around immigrants and immigration today, it was actually written 20 years ago by Trinidadian calypso musician David Rudder. Back then, the inspiration for the song was the brutal attack of Haitian immigrant Abner Louima at the hands of the New York City Police Department, an incident that raised the issues of both police brutality and immigrants' rights.
"I am a Guatemalan immigrant. This country welcomed me 18 years ago. It breaks my heart to see the events taking place at the border right now," Moreno said in a statement released with the song. "We all deserve to be treated with respect and dignity and to be received into this country with more love and empathy."
The song is a creative departure for Moreno. Parks' lush multi-instrumental arrangement envelopes Moreno's impassioned vocals. She reflects a strident defense of rights for all and celebrates immigrant contributions to America's cultural identity.
It's no accident that the duo decided to release the track the week of America's Independence Day. The lyrics celebrate the precept that here in this country all men are created equal, whether their ancestors came through Ellis Island or are currently living in tent cities along the U.S./Mexico border.
Streaming and purchase proceeds of "The Immigrants" will be donated to Central American Resource Center of California (CARECEN), a community-based, nonprofit organization whose mission is to empower Central Americans and all immigrants by defending human and civil rights, working for social and economic justice, and promoting cultural diversity.