Tuesday, May 11, 2010

For a Song: Rosalie

Alejandro Escovedo: Rosalie


I’m doing things out of order this week. The album review is taking longer than I expected, so I am running the For a Song post now, with the review to follow.

As I write this, the immigration debate has flared up again here in the United States. I’m sure my views on the matter are not those of all of my readers, but I take the matter personally. It seems to me that the fear of immigrants is the fear of strangers. And this country is a land of strangers. It is who we are. Trace it back far enough, and almost everyone is from somewhere else, is an outsider. None of the Founding Fathers were born on American soil. I am not blind to the fact that, nowadays, there are dangerous people trying to enter this country, and I agree that precautions must be taken. I only say that, in doing so, we must not forget who we are and how we got here.

In my own family, I do not have to be so abstract. My grandfather was one of nine brothers who fled persecution at the hands of the cossacks. But the brothers could not come here all at once. For a time, these brothers were separated by an ocean. My grandfather, age 11 at the time, was one of the last to make the journey. The dream of being reunited, and its eventual realization, is the first thing that being an American means to me. That these brothers, as Jews arriving in the United States in the early twentieth century, were hated and feared is something I only came to understand as I grew older.

That dream of reunion is the subject of Rosalie as well. Here is a pair of lovers, parted for seven years, and about to be reunited. Alejandro Escovedo captures the yearning, but also acknowledges the sacrifice that giving up ones homeland forever entails. The song comes from a play about the Mexican-American experience, but it should resonate with anyone whose family was separated, even temporarily, by the process of immigration.


Announcement: Raina Rose needs your help

Raina Rose, whose last two albums I reviewed here and here, needs your help. She is competing in a contest for studio time and the attention of some music industry heavies, as well as other prizes. The winner is the top vote getter, and you can vote here.