In 2009 my mom officially became a U.S. citizen after living more than 14 years in this country. Coming from Augusto Pinochet’s dictatorship in Chile to the USA, she was able to vote for the first time and cried at the polls. I’ll never forget that. At that moment I was able to get at least an inkling of understanding of what America means to the millions of people who come to live here.
So, this Fourth of July, instead of stuffing your face with burgers and hot dogs and yelling “‘Murica” meaninglessly over exploding fireworks, why not celebrate America for what really makes it great? A nation of hardworking immigrants who came here either to escape an oppressive society or to chase a dream—people looking for what America (at least initially) offered and stood for: freedom.
Below is a playlist of contemporary NYC musicians who immigrated to America or are first generation Americans born from immigrants. Bump this loud and clear for your Fourth, and in the words of hope and retaliation from Oprah in The Handmaid’s Tale, “stars and stripes forever, baby.”
The four Colombian and Mexican fellas in Native Sun giving us some gritty garage rock.
Combo Chimbita – “No Regreso”
One of the best live shows you’ll ever see, these Colombian New Yorkers play wild rock ‘n’ roll-infused Cumbia.
Yaasss – “$Money$”
This band brings sparkles and chaos front and center. Their bassist Siavash is from Iran—and he’s the wildest of the bunch.
This ‘60s pop-inspired band’s lead singer is from the South of France and keeps her sultry lyrics completely in French.
Juan Wauters – “En Mi (Live)”
The Uruguayan singer/songwriter keeps things light and fun with his acoustic ragers.
Las Rosas’ bassist Jose Aybar was born in the Dominican Republic. The band just came out with a new album that’ll be the soundtrack to your summer.
Muckers lead singer Emir Mohseni made it into the U.S. from Iran moments before Trump’s travel ban went into effect.
Tall Juan – “Kaya”
The Argentinian punk rocker has the wild vibe of Johnny Thunders and Iggy Pop.