Jazz Fusion Album
Inspired By History of Spiritual Music
What is freedom?
the power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants without hindrance or restraint.
"we do have some freedom of choice"
absence of oppression to alien domination or despotic government.
"he was a champion of Irish freedom"
synonyms: independence, self-government, self-determination, self-rule, home rule, sovereignty, nonalignment, autonomy; democracy
"revolution was the only path to freedom"
the state of not being imprisoned or enslaved.
"the shark thrashed its way to freedom"
synonyms: liberty, liberation, release, deliverance, delivery, discharge;
What is liberty?
Synonyms for liberty include birthright, deliverance, emancipation, enlightenment, immunity, independence, liberation, opportunity, privilege, God-given right, release, relaxation, right, self-determination, sovereignty, and unconstraint. Other synonyms for liberty include "carte blanche" which has synonyms such as full power, license, unconditional, unrestricted, free rein, blank check and lastly freedom.
This specific album was about me breaking free from those things that we are confined by bet it personal internal limitations or external pressures, ideas, systems and cultural norms. Freeing myself from the grips of forces seen and unseen. It was about me speaking honestly about my experience and my perspective!
Songs About Freedom
A hero is someone who understands the responsibility that comes with his freedom. ~ Bob Dylan
Welcome to the Rafa Selase Music page, where spiritual music, protest songs and songs about freedom meet. Freedom songs have been around since the beginning of time. Songs about freedom are important now more than ever. We all are faced with so many obstacles and challenges: economic, social, food supply, food quality, international as well as domestic terrorism. It seems as we move forward we experience different obstacles, but the overall message is the same. We desire freedom!
Music has and will always be a means to express this intrinsic need. This is why I believe music is so important; it provides hope in the midst of trials, patience when it is so easy to react, and a community of shared experience through the gift of music.
In 2017 I released Red Blooded American, a snapshot of American History and culture. After listening one might think I wrote this as a response to our new president. But in reality I wrote the lyrics to the album in 2015.
For many of us artists, we feel, see and communicate things in a different way than others do. For me it was becoming harder to “keep it moving” and “stay in my lane” as I saw this change happening in our country as early as 2008. I felt a responsibility to do something, so the “Red Blooded American" album was my own peaceful protest, so to speak.
But before I talk about the Red Blooded American album, I want to address what freedom really is and what it requires.
2 Responsibilities of Freedom
1st responsibility of freedom: The power to act. Given that you are not harming anyone, you have the right to think and speak without restraint. Ask yourself the question, are people free or limited in their speech? I would say so many people are not living their full potential because they are not accepting the responsibility of freedom. I personally feel a responsibility to embrace the requirements of freedom.
2nd responsibility of freedom. The absence of subjugation. This is the absence of a dominant force opposing you. Is there a force opposing you? Is it a self-inflicted force? Is it mental slavery? Or is it an external force - a man-made system, government, corporation, or some other entity? Or is it a combination? I believe all musical artists ask these questions, or at least great ones do. At some point they address the social, cultural and political factors within their music. I think most artists that address these issues care deeply about the community and country they live in. So for me, that's where the name “Red Blooded American” came from. I was claiming my patriotism and asking my country to live up to the ideals that she so often brags about.
So in a way Rafa Selase's “Red Blooded American” album is a patriot's petition to his country. An artistic, inquisitive, aggressive, and musical dissertation that asks questions about the idea of American exceptionalism in 2017 and beyond.
"Red Blooded American" songs about freedom Album
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#1 The Revolution Will Be On Facebook (songs about social media) - "The Revolution Will Be On Facebook." This is a song was inspired by the late great jazz rap, pianist and poet Gil Scott Heron. Obviously social media is full steam ahead with no signs of slowing down. Every time we think one platform has lost its steam another rises from thin air, only to provide something else to grab our attention and feed our lust for social validation and fame. This is my take on social media as it stands, while I poke a little fun at Facebook and the all of us that use, enjoy and observe the pitfalls and opportunities of the platform. Facebook can be a big distraction for normal users, but businesses can get a leg up on the competition if they know how to use the platform.
Lastly, I do believe real freedom is defined as not being controlled or manipulated by any entity. So if we are slaves to social media we are not free at all.
I’ve included the links to this song and a video below.
#2 Mama You Never Told Me Part. 1 - This song started it all…This is a story about the corporate experience. It’s about the financial benefits, the challenges and all too often the terrorism and harassment that exists within those walls. It is not anti corporate America but rather an in-depth evaluation based on real experience. The video that is included below is actually real content that was provided by a corporate employee. Of course we all had a little fun with the editing, which makes it hard to know what is real and what is not.
#3 Mama You Never Told Me Part. 2 - Mama You Never Told Me started as about 8 -12 minutes of lyrical content, which I originally performed my show called "The Souletics Experience." We ended up shortening it for song streaming and listening purposes. In hindsight I wish I had just created a crazy long version. I do not have a video for this but what I did have is a coffee shop version before the song was produced.
#4 The Question - I was really hesitant on this one. But quite a few people have gone out of their way to say they liked this particular song poem. It's a very simple approach piano and vocals, but the content seems to resonate with people. "The Question" poses a few questions, why is the world so disconnected and why do we engage in so much war? It ends with a simple yet powerful solution.
#5 Chasing Demons - A song is about far more than streams and number of listeners. In fact, a good song often receives the harshest criticism. Quite often it violates the rules and goes against the popular narrative. Chasing Demons in its title resurrects a strong reaction. I wanted to make a strong statement about how the things we desire can be detrimental to our very existence. I won’t give the song away and I like leaving it up to everyone’s beautiful interpretation. But I will say the demon is not “The Money”!
Essentially I am having a conversation. While telling a story about the life we say we want versus the life we actually live. My hope and expectation is that my community of listeners and artist ask different questions and provide optimistic solutions. The characteristics that make the best songs stick with us in some way, whether it be an emotional feeling or a new perspective.
#6 Unhome - Unhome was certainly a song that hit home for me. A & R factory of London posted a review. Here is an excerpt from A & R Factory:
Forget listening to rappers who are still spitting weak bars about getting totalled on Hennessey. Turn your attention to artists that endeavour to shine a ray of light through the disparities of the 21st century and reflect what we’ve already lived through historically.
The video to Rafa Selase’s new track ‘Unhome’ is one of the most compelling combinations of harrowing sound and visuals I’ve ever witnessed. Selase has become notorious for his collection of protest songs composed to show the world what is never seen on the mainstream news. His approach to music may leave you thoroughly depressed and reaching for the tissues, but, I’d rather listen to music made to educate people about the real world than listening to a self-aggrandized rapper brag about how dope he is. Wouldn’t you?
Beat wise, from Rafa Selase you can expect elements of Acid Jazz, Alt Hip Hop & Folk combined with his poetically poignant lyricism. You can check out the video to Unhome on YouTube, if the video doesn’t move you, it’s safe to say you’re dead inside.
Review by Amelia Vandergast.
Unhome gives us a glimpse of the estimated 3,445 blacks died at the hands of lynch mobs between 1882 and 1968. Many believe this is grossly underestimated! Lynched bodies, the “Strange Fruit” Billie Holiday & Nina Simone memorializes in there beautiful recording. Unhome was inspired by this terrible history and also the similarities of the South African apartheid. Unhome again asks the question; has swinging from tree limbs now become a silent, psychological more deadly war on the minds and progress of all people.
#7 Red Blooded American - I wrote Red Blooded American in the Spring of 2017. Clearly, it was a response to the slogan, “Make American Great Again.” I again asked several questions about that statement. Because historically we have always had imbalances within American culture. Does "Make American Great Again" mean:
- Racism against Native Americans: Europeans believed the Indigenous people of America were savages who needed to be controlled, taught and civilized through European culture. This led to lies, stolen land, mass murder, attempts to destroy and re-create Indigenous American traditions, as well as forced assimilation through institutions like residential schools and reservations.
- Did it mean subjugation of Jewish-Americans: In the late 18th century states did not allow those who were not Christian to vote or hold public office. It was later removed, with the Bill of Rights. During the Holocaust a ship of 900 German Jewish refugees was denied access to land on U.S. This was supported by the exclusionary Immigration Act of 1924. The Ku Klux Kan directed their rage at Jews and African-Americans.
- And lastly, does it include removing all the progress African Americans have enjoyed. Regardless of the constant rhetoric about Chicago and crime, and despite the countless challenges, African Americans have progressed. An interesting statistic shows that white male suicide is 2-3 times higher in all 50 states than homicide.
- Prison Industrial Complex - The structure of the prison industrial complex and judicial system which many have said needs to be restructured.
- Jim Crow Laws
- 1960's Civil Rights
- 1970 Unjustified war which sent most African men to war only to come home hated, without dignity, and hooked on drugs.
- 1980's Drug epidemic supported and funded by Contra cocaine trafficking backed by fatherless homes...
- 1990's three strikes which was a result of 1980s drug epidemic inspired by the 1970's Vietnam war undergirded by the 1960's civil rights battle.
- Due to all the reasons above... do you see a pattern?
No need to go backwards or point the finger or cause further hate and division. In reality, there are several hundred issues that have created the current state of America. "Red Blooded American" is a song that I thought deeply about and it was not as simple as black and white. My thought is that America should move forward and not backward. This country has great attributes that we can build on and true patriotism would be letting go of old destructive habits and embracing what is true liberty for all. The song is jazz rap in style and a classic song about the responsibility of freedom.