Greenfield, MA, Greenfield Middle School, January 27-29, 2017
Youth Creative Convergence workshop program.
Watch the videos of individual PMN members performing on January 26, 2019!
McDougal St. Rent Party, Brooklyn Women's Chorus, Raymond Nat Turner, Francisco Herrera, Jeremy Aaron, Lindsey Wilson, Dilson Hernandez, Filthy Rotten System
Friday Concert Performers
Over the Rainbow: The Role of Cultural Workers in Campaigns for Social Change
Saturday, January 26, 2019, 3:50-4:50pm
Inspired by the Yip Harburg song, often sung by PMN founding member Pete Seeger, we explore the power of cultural work in working people’s movement for equity and justice -- yesterday, today’s and tomorrow.
In the United States generally, and especially on the Pacific Coast, we are the New East, as the world’s economic forces surround the Pacific Rim. Old orders have broken down and new forms of engagement have developed, while Human Rights faces elimination. The United States continues to vie for the job of world policeman and weapons of mass destruction manufacturer. While the government serves the corporations and the rich, a majority of the people of the United States are one paycheck away from the street. Institutions that create democracy (Public Education, Postal Service, Air Waves, Libraries, Social Safety Network Institutions, Regulating Agencies) are all under attack as the .01% attempts to steal the wealth. That is nothing new. And our labor struggle is not new either. Just like the days when there were no cell phones, and songs were written and shared on paper and a majority of people did not read and write, today we offer some experiences as to how the ignored and excluded are re-organizing society through song, video, story, and other art forms.
In this plenary, Francisco will host a panel with younger artists sharing how they have engaged communities in our time as cultural workers, helping to clear the fog created by weapons of mass distraction and missiles of misinformation. We aim to embrace, console, animate and mobilize the 99%.
Alma Herrera-Pazmiño: A creative storyteller who started her journey in social justice work as a community organizer incorporating performance arts. Today, she works as a Video Editor and Filmmaker, humanizing people's stories through media. A graduate of UC Santa Cruz, She has traveled and studied in Barcelona, Cuba, Guatemala, El Salvador, Northern Mexico, among other places. She now resides in New York. She is a dancer, choreographer and film producer with over a decade of experience working with inner-city youth in San Francisco, CA on quality of life issues and community beautification from the grass-roots. She has trained youth in San Francisco, Cuba, Guatemala in both Spanish and English, and her work has been published as a teen-writer in the Harvard Educational Review in 2011.
Cata Elisabeth Romo: Collective processes are at the center of my work, which brings arts engagement to communities and political movements via environmental justice and museum programming. In my personal practice I organize immigrant girls to get on bikes in Queens and Brooklyn where we take up space in the face of gentrification in their hoods and use creative interventions to talk about issues of importance to them. Most recently I have helped to coordinate the largest street mural ever in San Francisco for the RISE March in September.
Francisco Herrera: Theologian, cultural worker, singer-songwriter, and PMN Artist-in-Residence Francisco Herrera brings together different styles of music to promote human rights and social justice. Growing up in the border town of Calexico, California, Francisco always straddled two worlds, singing rancheras and some mariachi with his siblings and cousins at family parties, and starting some garage rock bands when they got older. As he became more involved in the church and social issues, in particular with Latin American issues, Francisco began exploring ways to use music to further his goals of social justice. Nowadays he sings in both Spanish and English with a sprinkling of indigenous languages. Francisco's music does not simply straddle the fence between cultures and influences; it brings them together to touch the heart and explore human desires for togetherness, simplicity, and the common good.
Francisco Herrera, People’s Music Network Artist-in-Residence
Theologian, cultural worker, singer-songwriter, and PMN Artist-in-Residence Francisco Herrera brings together different styles of music to promote human rights and social justice. Growing up in the border town of Calexico, California, Francisco always straddled two worlds, singing rancheras and some mariachi with his siblings and cousins at family parties, and starting some garage rock bands when they got older. As he became more involved in the church and social issues, in particular with Latin American issues, Francisco began exploring ways to use music to further his goals of social justice. Nowadays he sings in both Spanish and English with a sprinkling of indigenous languages. Francisco's music does not simply straddle the fence between cultures and influences; it brings them together to touch the heart and explore human desires for togetherness, simplicity, and the common good.
MacDougal Street Rent Party
New York City based MacDougal Street Rent Party grew out of the annual Woody Guthrie Birthday Bash at CBGB's Gallery, the acoustic twin of the iconic CBGB rock club. Rooted in the People's Music folk tradition, MSRP dissolved in 2008 after the death of its musical director, Eric Levine. Nevertheless, its surviving members – Joel Landy, Anne Price, Steve Suffet, and Gina Tlamsa – occasionally come together for reunions and special events.
Brooklyn Women’s Chorus
The Brooklyn Women's Chorus is a community chorus that was founded in October 1997 by Park Slope resident and musician, Bev Grant. The chorus has a repertoire ranging from South African freedom songs to socially relevant songs by contemporary American songwriters, including Bev Grant herself. Topics range from freedom and justice to peace, resistance, and women's issues. There are no auditions necessary to join, only a strong desire to sing.
Raymond Nat Turner
Raymond Nat Turner is a New York City poet privileged to have read at the Harriet Tubman Centennial Symposium. He is Artistic Director of the stalwart JazzPoetry Ensemble UpSurge and has appeared at numerous festivals and venues including the Monterey Jazz Festival and Panafest in Ghana West Africa. He currently is Poet-in-Residence at Black Agenda Report; WBAI's Morning Metro and Ralph Poynter's "What's Happening?" Blog Talk Radio and a frequent contributor to Dissident Voice. Turner has opened for such people as James Baldwin, People’s Advocate Cynthia McKinney, radical sportswriter Dave Zirin, and California Congresswoman Barbara Lee following her lone vote against attacking Afghanistan. He is Co-Chair of the New York Chapter National Writers Union (NWU).
Jeremy Aaron is a singer, storyteller, community organizer, bluesman, poet, guitarist, violinist, and the creator of Greenwich Village Showcase. After earning an undergraduate degree at Oberlin College, Jeremy began pursuing music and songwriting full time. Warm and real, Jeremy’s music evokes nights around the campfire with old friends. His songs tell of Ecuadorian shadows, magic lights, Adirondack evergreens, beggars’ coins, train tracks, and road trips. In addition to performing his own songs, Jeremy is the fiddler and guitarist in the band Spuyten Duyvil.
Singer-songwriter Lindsey Wilson has embraced issues of the heart and mind within her original music. Love songs, protest tunes, and lyrics of empowerment have all been a true representation of her style and sensibilities. Her influences stem from a myriad of musically conscious voices that spanned the 60's, 70's and 80's era such as Odetta, Richie Havens, Joni Mitchell, Joan Armatrading, and Nina Simone. But Lindsey's message is truly her own.
Dilson Hernandez is a multi-genre merging artist from the Bronx. His talents include creative writing, playing various instruments, spoken-word poetry, singing, audio engineering, and beat making. Although self taught in many of his skills, he received a Bachelor's of Arts in both English and Music from the University at Albany; he earned a certification in Audio Recording from the Institute of Audio Research. Dilson wishes to change the world with his art and community-based events, aiming to strive for a more progressive and creative future. Some of his work abroad includes teaching English in Haiti and helping build a dorm space for underprivileged children in rural India. Dilson works at Friends of Island Academy, an organization dedicated to providing services to justice-involved youth from Rikers Island. Dilson also currently works as a freelance musician and audio engineer.
The Filthy Rotten System
The Filthy Rotten System is a folk/rock/protest band grounded in the values of the Catholic Worker Movement, supporting peace and justice for all people. They can be found out front at New York and New Jersey peace vigils, immigrant support marches and rallies, and a variety of events for progressive causes and for individuals who have devoted themselves to serving others. Activists all, the members of the band rock and will move you with their spirited versions of familiar songs and some powerful originals.