Tag Archives: Liberation Day

The Liberation Day Tapes


[vimeo 107782689 w=600&h=446]

The genome of my six-time international award-winning feature film MACHETERO can be mapped right back to the NYC hardcore Puerto Rican punk band RICANSTRUCTION and their first album Liberation Day. When i write i often build a soundtrack to use as an emotional roadmap to guide me through the construction of the script. i often see songs as short stories or reinterpret them as short stories and i take those short stories and try to include them in my writing process.

MACHETERO is a film about terrorism and terrorists and how those terms are defined and by whom. The script was written a year after the terrorist events of September 11, 2001. i was waiting for a more nuanced analysis of those events to take place on a larger scale but they never did and so i wrote the script for MACHETERO and decided to explore those issues in a film. The terrorist attacks on September 11th, 2001 were polarizing and so referencing them in the script seemed counterproductive so i decided to use the struggle for Puerto Rico’s independence and the use of violence in that struggle as a means of liberation to talk about terrorism and terrorists.

[vimeo 75167575 w=600&h=338]

RICANSTRUCTION’s Liberation Day was a concept album based around the Puerto Rican independence struggle. So when i was looking for music to inspire my scriptwriting for MACHETERO i was immediately drawn to Liberation Day. The songs from Liberation Day started to insinuate themselves into the script and they eventually became a part of the structure of the film.

At the end of the final sound mix for MACHETERO my friend and fellow filmmaker Omar came by and brought his camera to interview Arturo and Joseph Rodriguez about how Liberation Day came into being. Artie and Joey talk about how RICANSTRUCTION came about and how the concept for Liberation Day took shape. Arturo and Joseph talk about the ideas and the creation of each song and afterward there is the corresponding scene from MACHETERO.

Liberation Day by RICANSTRUCTION
Liberation Day by RICANSTRUCTION

RICANSTRUCTION’s Liberation Day is available on iTunes and i highly recommend picking it up. You can hear all the influences of Jazz, Funk, Salsa, Hip hop, Reggae and Merengue placed into a hardcore punk setting in the music of RICANSTRUCTION. The rest of their catalog – the EP Abu Jamal and their 2nd album Love + Revolution are also on iTunes.

You can watch The Liberation Day Tapes on the Vimeo On Demand page for MACHETERO. The Liberation Day Tapes are part of a collection of extra videos that give some background information on the film and that are free to watch. There is also a radio interview i did with Chuck D about the film and an interview i did with Sam Greenlee the author and co-screenwriter of The Spook Who Sat By The Door. There is also a scene from the film featuring former US held Puerto Rican political prisoner of war Dylcia Pagan who plays a pivotal role in the film.

Six Time International Award Winning Film MACHETERO On Vimeo On Demand
Six Time International Award Winning Film MACHETERO On Vimeo On Demand

Shortlink: http://wp.me/p1eniL-1sT

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The Liberation Day Tapes – Jihad Seeds


The Liberation Day Tapes - Jihad Seeds by vagabond ©
The Liberation Day Tapes – Jihad Seeds by vagabond ©

In this final episode of The Liberation Day Tapes we take on Jihad Seeds, the second song on RICANSTRUCTION‘s album Liberation Day. Although Liberation Day was a concept album centered on the Puerto Rican liberation struggle, Jihad Seeds didn’t directly or overtly relate to the Puerto Rican liberation struggle. A few of the songs on the album didn’t directly associate to the struggle for Puerto Rican liberation (both on the island and in the diaspora) but they all held a kind of indirect association to that struggle. Jihad Seeds was no different.

The word Jihad in Arabic or Muslim circles is a much more complex and nuanced word than it’s narrow western definition of simply meaning “Holy War”. The word Jihad in Arabic and among Muslim’s means “to struggle” or “to strive” or “to exert” or “to fight”. In the Holy Quran the Prophet Mohammad describes the military struggle to defend Islam as “jihad” but he goes on to explain that this physical struggle, this “holy war” is “the little jihad”. The Prophet Mohammed in the Quran also makes the distinction that the internal spiritual struggle with oneself to remain righteous was the greater struggle – “the great jihad”.

i think that RICANSTRUCTION’s Jihad Seeds is using both “the little jihad” of the “holy war” and “the great jihad” of the spiritual struggle and exploring how the two can be interrelated. The nature of that interrelation between “the little jihad” of fighting for the independence of Puerto Rico juxtaposed against “the great jihad” of the internal struggle to decolonize ones mind, body and spirit was something that fit perfectly into the themes i was struggling to express in MACHETERO.

Liberation Day by RICANSTRUCTION
Liberation Day by RICANSTRUCTION

To check out the other episodes in the web series check out THE LIBERATION DAY TAPES

MACHETERO Poster by vagabond ©
MACHETERO Poster by vagabond ©

MACHETERO opens in New York City for a one week limited theatrical run.

WED. JUNE 12TH – TUES JUNE 19TH
CLEMENTE SOTO VELEZ
KABAYITO’S THEATER (2ND FLOOR)
107 SUFFOLK STREET
NY NY 10002
(BTWN RIVINGTON & DELANCEY)

TICKETS $10 http://machetero.bpt.me
SCREENING TIMES • 1PM • 3PM • 5PM • 7PM • 9PM
F Train to Delancey Street or J , M , or Z Trains to Essex Street.
Walk to Suffolk Street, make a left.

Shortlink: http://wp.me/p1eniL-14M

The Liberation Day Tapes – Shithouse Serenades


Shithouse Serenades RICANSTRUCTION MACHETERO Kelvin Fernandez
Shithouse Serenades RICANSTRUCTION MACHETERO Kelvin Fernandez

In this episode of The Liberation Day Tapes, Los Bros. Rodriguez, Arturo and Joseph the bass player and drummer of NYC based Hardcore Punk band RICANSTRUCTION and two-thirds of the writing team of the band talk about how the song Shithouse Serenades came about. Shithouse Serenades is a song that takes all the negativity of being one fo the oppressed and inverts it into a righteous revenge. The song was featured on the debut album Liberation Day originally released in 1998 by CBGB Records. i used RICANSTRUCTION’s Liberation Day album as a source of inspiration when writing the script of MACHETERO and the songs found their way into the film. The songs act as a kind of Modern Day Greek Chorus adding another layer of narration to the film. Shithouse Serenades was one of the songs from Liberation Day that was incorporated into MACHETERO. The scene that follows the interview with the Los Bros. Rodriguez is from MACHETERO.

Liberation Day by RICANSTRUCTION
Liberation Day by RICANSTRUCTION
MACHETERO Poster by vagabond ©
MACHETERO Poster by vagabond ©

MACHETERO opens in New York City for a one week limited theatrical run.

WED. JUNE 12TH – TUES JUNE 19TH
CLEMENTE SOTO VELEZ
KABAYITO’S THEATER (2ND FLOOR)
107 SUFFOLK STREET
NY NY 10002
(BTWN RIVINGTON & DELANCEY)

TICKETS $10 http://machetero.bpt.me
SCREENING TIMES • 1PM • 3PM • 5PM • 7PM • 9PM
F Train to Delancey Street or J , M , or Z Trains to Essex Street.
Walk to Suffolk Street, make a left.

Shortlink: http://wp.me/p1eniL-13j

Abu Jamal 59


Saint Mumia by vagabond ©
Saint Mumia by vagabond ©

Sometime in the Spring of 1997, RICANSTRUCTION recorded a song for Mumia Abu Jamal for their first full length album Liberation Day. The song soon became an anthem for the movement to free Mumia Abu Jamal. Mumia is the US held political prisoner wrongly convicted for the death of Philadelphia police officer Daniel Faulkner on December 9 of 1981. For the next 30 years Mumia was held in isolation on Death Row. An international campaign managed to pressure the Philadelphia District Attorney to give up appeals for Mumia’s death but he remains in prison serving a life sentence without parole. Although he’s no longer on Death Row the campaign to free him continues…

Abu Jamal EP by RICANSTRUCTION (cover design by Sam Lahoz www.slny.net)
Abu Jamal EP by RICANSTRUCTION (cover design by Sam Lahoz http://www.slny.net)

In 1999 RICANSTRUCTION re-released Abu Jamal as a benefit EP with the Abu Jamal Artu-Rican Re-Mix. They also released two other new tracks Slavery Daze and Asesino and a blistering and apropos cover of Abel Meeropol’s Strange Fruit made famous by Billie Holiday. In honor of Mumia’s 59th birthday RICANSTRUCTION has once again made Abu Jamal available on iTunes, Amazon, Spotify, Google Play, Rdio, X-Box Music, Rhapsody and eMusic.

Happy Birthday Mumia, may your next one be in freedom!!!

For more information on the international campaign to Free Mumia Abu jamal click here…

Shortlink: http://wp.me/p1eniL-12w

The Liberation Day Tapes: Liberation Day


MACHETERO & RICANSTRUCTION (Fidel Paulino, Joseph Rodriguez, Arturo Rodriguez & Not4Prophet)
MACHETERO & RICANSTRUCTION (Fidel Paulino, Joseph Rodriguez, Arturo Rodriguez & Not4Prophet)

The genome of my film MACHETERO can be mapped right back to the NYC hardcore Puerto Rican punk band RICANSTRUCTION and their first album Liberation Day. When i write i often build a soundtrack to use as an emotional roadmap to guide me through the construction of the script. i often see songs as short stories or reinterpret them as short stories and i take those short stories and try to include them in my writing process.

MACHETERO is a film about terrorism and terrorists and how those terms are defined and by whom. The script was written a year after the terrorist events of September 11, 2001. i was waiting for a more nuanced analysis of those events to take place on a larger scale but they never did and so i wrote the script for MACHETERO and decided to explore those issues in a film. The terrorist attacks on September 11th, 2001 were polarizing and so referencing them in the script seemed counterproductive so i decided to use the struggle for Puerto Rico’s independence and the use of violence in that struggle as a means of liberation to talk about terrorism and terrorists.

RICANSTRUCTION’s Liberation Day was a concept album based around the Puerto Rican independence struggle. So when i was looking for music to inspire my scriptwriting for MACHETERO i was immediately drawn to Liberation Day. The songs from Liberation Day started to insinuate themselves into the script and they eventually became a part of the structure of the film.

At the end of the final mix for MACHETERO my friend and fellow filmmaker Omar came by and brought his camera to interview Arturo and Joseph Rodriguez about how Liberation Day came into being. Artie and Joey talk about how RICANSTRUCTION came about and how the concept for Liberation Day took shape. In this segment they talk specifically about the song Liberation Day which is a probably the first Hardcore Punk Merengue ever created and recorded. After the interview there is the scene from MACHETERO that used the song Liberation Day.

Liberation Day is available on iTunes

Liberation Day by RICANSTRUCTION
Liberation Day by RICANSTRUCTION

MACHETERO opens in New York City for a one week limited theatrical run.

WED. JUNE 12TH – TUES JUNE 19TH
CLEMENTE SOTO VELEZ
KABAYITO’S THEATER (2ND FLOOR)
107 SUFFOLK STREET
NY NY 10002
(BTWN RIVINGTON & DELANCEY)

TICKETS $10
SCREENING TIMES • 1PM • 3PM • 5PM • 7PM • 9PM
F Train to Delancey Street or J , M , or Z Trains to Essex Street.
Walk to Suffolk Street, make a left.

http://vimeo.com/vgbnd/machetero-2-min-trailer

Shortlink: http://wp.me/p1eniL-11l

The Liberation Day Tapes: Breakfast In Amerika


THE LIBERATION DAY TAPES
THE LIBERATION DAY TAPES

On April 4th 1980, Elizam Escobar, Ricardo Jiminez, Dylcia Noemi Pagan, Carmen Valentin, Adolfo Matos, Alfredo Mendez, Alicia Rodriguez, Luis Rosa, Maria Hayde Torres, Carlos Alberto Torres, and Ida Luz Rodriguez were arrested in Evanston Illinois. They were all members of the clandestine Puerto Rican organization Fuerzas Armadas de Liberacion Nacional or the Armed Forces of National Liberation. The FALN were an armed underground organization that were dedicated to ending US colonialism in Puerto Rico by any means necessary.

The FALN considered itself to be at war with the US government and didn’t recognize the US government as having any legitimate power over Puerto Rico. When they were arrested they took a ‘prisoner of war’ status as per the Geneva Convention and refused to participate in their trials outside of an opening statement declaring that they were captured combatants in an anti-colonial war and according to UN regulations were within their rights to achieve liberation in whatever means they chose. Only Alfredo Mendez eventually cooperated with the US government for a reduced sentence and induction into a witness protection program. The other members of the FALN did twenty years in prison except for Carlos Alberto Torres who did thirty years. They were all freed after an international campaign led by Puerto Ricans pressured  the US government to commute their sentences.

There is still one member of the FALN who is languishing in prison and his name is Oscar Lopez Rivera. He’s been in prison since  May 29th of 1981. Oscar is 70 years old, and there’s an ongoing campaign to free him. To learn more about Oscar check out his new book put out by PM Press, Between Torture And Resistance.

There are more than a few links between what happened on April 4th with those captured FALN combatants and my film MACHETERO. Dylcia Pagan, who was among those who were captured on April 4th, is one of the lead characters in the film. The film’s other lead character Pedro Taino is an amalgamation of two currently held US political prisoners Oscar Lopez Rivera and Black Unity Council member and Black Liberation Army soldier Russell Maroon Shoatz. (Check out the 11 part documentary web series ‘An Ongoing Cost To Be Free’ on Maoon that i recently did.) i chose to use this day, April 4th, to launch a new weekly web series on the songs that were used in MACHETERO that came from the NYC based Puerto Rican punk band RICANSTRUCTION. The web series kicks off this week with Breakfast In Amerika because it’s April 4th and that song is relevant to this day…

While writing the script for my film MACHETERO, i played RICANSTRUCTION’s 1st album Liberation Day for inspiration. As I went through the writing process the songs started to spill over into the script and seep into the very structure of the film. In a way it made sense that this would happen, Liberation Day was a concept album about Puerto Rico’s violent struggle for independence. MACHETERO was turning out to be the same thing shaped in part by the songs from the album.

MACHETERO’s narrative was literally shaped by Liberation Day. The songs are like a modern day Greek chorus that add another level of narration to the film. A level of narration that brings a macro perspective to the film. Breakfast in Amerika was the 8th track on Liberation Day. The first half of the song talks about the how US political dissidents quickly become US held political prisoners. The history of US political dissidents to US political prisoners is more common than you’d care to think. The Black Panther Party, the Weather Underground, the Black Liberation Army, the American Indian Movement, the FALN and many others can attest to this dynamic. Breakfast In Amerika captured this dynamic…

Soldiers sectioned off the street while I was sleeping
something ‘bout the company that I was keeping
crashing throughout the bedroom door one early morning
mashing me onto the floor without a warning
sons of bitches wanted I to give ‘em an answer
meddlers were to my surprise government gangsters
didn’t they know that I was sleeping?

Barrio in barricades without a reason
rounded up in midnight raids and shot for treason
mothers, daughters, fathers, sons placed in detention
bullets beating torture guns to cruel to mention

Sons of bitches wanted I
to tell them my mission
jury declared that I should die
for sedition
didn’t they know that I was just sleeping

The second part of the song is a call and response for Latin American nations to awaken. The call and response comes from Africa and it’s been incorporated into Puerto Rican music. Breakfast In Amerika is essentially a Salsa with distorted guitars. Joseph Rodriguez and Arturo Rodriguez talk about the ideas they were trying to incorporate in Breakfast In Amerika in the video below. Following the interview i did with them is the scene from MACHETERO that incorporated Breakfast In Amerika. The scene is of one of the lead characters Pedro Taino (played by Not4Prophet lead singer of RICANSTRUCTION and author of the lyrics to Breakfast In Amerika) getting arrested in the small hours of the morning. The song was a kind of ode on a certain level to political prisoners and the scene in MACHETERO is a reflection of that… Check it out…

Liberation Day is available on iTunes

Liberation Day by RICANSTRUCTION
Liberation Day by RICANSTRUCTION

MACHETERO opens in New York City for a one week limited theatrical run.

WED. JUNE 12TH – TUES JUNE 19TH
CLEMENTE SOTO VELEZ
KABAYITO’S THEATER (2ND FLOOR)
107 SUFFOLK STREET
NY NY 10002
(BTWN RIVINGTON & DELANCEY)

TICKETS $10
SCREENING TIMES • 1PM • 3PM • 5PM • 7PM • 9PM
F Train to Delancey Street or J , M , or Z Trains to Essex Street.
Walk to Suffolk Street, make a left.

Shortlink: http://wp.me/p1eniL-10N

A Song Of Resistance For Mumia


Abu Jamal EP Single by RICANSTRUCTION cover design by Sam Lahoz
Abu Jamal EP Single by RICANSTRUCTION cover design by Sam Lahoz

“People say they don’t care about politics, they’re not involved or don’t get involved, but they are. Their involvement just masquerades as indifference or inattention. It is the silent acquiescence of the millions that supports the system. When you don’t oppose a system, you silence becomes your approval, for it does nothing to interrupt the system. People use all sorts of excuses for their indifference. They even appeal to God as shorthand route for supporting the status quo. They talk about law and order. But look at the system, look at the present social “order” of society. Do you see God? Do you see law and order? There is nothing but disorder, and instead of law there is the illusion of security. It is an illusion because it is built on a long history of injustices: racism, criminality, and the enslavement and genocide of millions. Many people say it is insane to resist the system, but actually it is insane not to.” – Mumia Abu Jamal

Mumia Abu-Jamal is an award winning journalist who spent 29 years of his life on death row for the murder of Philadelphia police officer Daniel Faulkner. It’s a crime Mumia didn’t commit. Mumia was a journalist who used his journalism as a voice for the downtrodden and the oppressed, for those without a voice. And the real reason that Mumia was framed for the murder of Daniel Faulkner is because those in power, those who do the oppressing needed to find a way to silence him. It’s been difficult silencing Mumia. People all over the world speak on his behalf. People like Nelson Mandela, Bishop Desmond Tutu, Toni Morrison, Alice Walker, Danny Glover, TalibKwali, Mos Def, Dead Prez, Chuck D Angela Davis, Ward Churchill, the European Parliament, Amnesty International, the NAACP, the Black Caucus of the US Congress, and millions of other people who have fought and continue to fight for Mumia. Those who want Mumia silent have even found it difficult to silence Mumia himself. He has continued to be a journalist from prison, writing articles and recording commentaries on current events.

In December the movement to free Mumia garnered a victory over the state of Pennsylvania which chose not to seek the death penalty but wants Mumia in prison for the rest of his life. Although Mumia’s life no longer hangs in the balance his freedom is something that we still need to work towards. To join in that campaign and to see what you can do visit www.freemumia.com.

Today is Mumia’s birthday. He is 58 years old. In 1995 the NYC based Puerto Rican Hardcore Punk, Reggae, Be-bop, Salsa, Hip-hop band RICANSTRUCTION wrote a protest song for Mumia. It’s called Abu Jamal… the song was released as a single from their first album Liberation Day. Abu Jamal also features three other tracks only available on the Abu Jamal single EP – Slavery Daze, Asesino (Assassin) and a blistering rendition of Billie Holiday’s Strange Fruit… Do you see a connection between these songs? Abu Jamal, Asesino (Assassin), Slavery Daze and Strange Fruit? If you don’t you aren’t looking…

Abu Jamal
freedom’s bound in the underground in his martyr’s rags and thorny crown
in the stinking hell of a death row cell
where the loudest voice never makes a sound
and he waking indecision in a pennsylvania prison
and he wailing through the silence
where corruption speaks throughout the tongue of violence

Mumia Abu Jamal come to you alive from death row

freedom sits on the precipice as injustice chews and dishonor spits
in the rotting shell of the liberty bell
where the law consumes and his honor shits
still the voiceless scream stop it
never kill another prophet
pick your choice of constitution
you can die this way or begin revolution

lyrics by Not4Prophet

You can get Abu Jamal at iTunes… and other online stores and use it as a tool, use it to start a conversation, use it to help free Mumia…

Shortlink: – http://wp.me/p1eniL-Ie