Raye Zaragoza is a Native American (O’odham), Mexican, Taiwanese, and Japanese singer-songwriter. She garnered praise as well as awards for her protest song against the Dakota Access Pipeline, “In The River.”
Last year, Zaragoza released an album, “Fight For You,” that contains multiple songs of protest. They draw inspiration from the movement at Standing Rock but also speak to the current political moment under President Donald Trump.
“Fight For You” is an antidote to pervasive cynicism. It is a solidarity anthem as well as a call to action from a powerful voice with multinational heritage.
Zaragoza sings, “Save the river, save the seas, save the mother and her family. How can you take what you want and say that we are free? If you put oil in the water, we won’t sit quietly.”
“They were singing, ‘Stand up, stand up for what’s right. Don’t walk, don’t walk silently into the night. Take my hand, and we’ll see this through. Fight for me. I’ll fight for you.'”
It has a poppy hook powered by strings and a bass drum that makes it even more uplifting, as Zaragoza recalls the power of protest while simultaneously offering her own opinions on what makes protest powerful.
“Don’t look down when we march downtown for some truth. Because you can’t complain if you don’t stand up too,” she declares.
A music video for the song was released in June of last year. Zaragoza said it was inspired by the “camaraderie of the indigenous activists of my community” and her “sisters, brothers, and everyone who shows up to fight for our rights as human beings.”
Zaragoza highlighted Cheyenne L.E. Phoenix, a “fancy shawl dancer.” She described her dancing in the video as “an expression of cultural resilience, and every time I see her dance at the front of a march – I cry.”
The current administration running the U.S. government seems committed to stealing even more land from indigenous Americans. They intend to extract more resources that will pollute areas in and around reservations and indigenous monuments. They could not care less what the consequences are because fossil fuel industry interests are the priority.
Zaragoza’s call to stand up and fight makes for a defiant and inspirational anthem to never back down in the struggle to protect not only indigenous people but also Planet Earth.
Are you an independent artist who has written and/or produced a protest song that you would like featured? Or do you have a favorite protest song? Send submissions to protestmusic@Shadowproof.com