A Song for Ourselves – new song featuring Bambu!

tad_sundanceI first met Tad Nakamura soon after I transferred to UCLA almost 10 years ago.  Whoa has it been that long already???!! Hold up.  I gotta catch my breath, cause I feel really old now.  Anyways, Tad was on the lawn near the student union, introducing a group of prospective members to the student activist group CAPSA, and wearing a thuggish bandana.  I knew dude was for real the first time I saw him.  Flash forward to today, and now he’s an award-winning filmmaker who teaches Ethnocommunications at UCLA.  His previous documentary won him Official Selection at the Sundance Film Festival, and his upcoming film is having its world premiere on Feb 28, 2009.  It’s called “A Song for Ourselves,” and it chronicles the life and music of pioneering Asian American Movement troubadour Chris Iijima.

asongforourselves01To help publicize the event, Tad enlisted the help of DJ Phatrick to put together a mixtape of both remixes and original versions of Chris’ music.  I contributed a track, a remix of a really beautiful song, “War of the Flea,” by Chris Iijima, Nobuko Miyamoto, and Charlie Chin (as the group A Grain of Sand).  It features some poignant and heartfelt verses by legendary local emcee/activist Bambu (of Native Guns).  I’m really happy with how it turned out, and it’s available for free download, hope you enjoy!

The way the track came about is actually interesting.  Tad needed instrumental versions of Chris’ music for the film, to mix underneath interviews.  So he enlisted me to recreate them, which I did by painstakingly transcribing and then playing on acoustic guitar and bass.  Boy I tell you, they did some mean ass fingerpicking back in the heyday of 1960s/70s folk music!  My cramping fingers could attest to that.  Well, I now had all these tracks of isolated acoustic guitar just laying around on my computer.  It dawned on me that I should put it to more use, so I chopped it up, slapped a beat to it, and added some of Chris’ original vocals.  Lucky for me Bambu liked the beat, so he added a couple of verses that really took the song to a new level.  Much gratitude and thanks to Nobuko Miyamoto for allowing us to sample the original music.

If you like the track, please share it with friends and help spread the word about the premiere of A Song for Ourselves.  And please check out the original A Grain of Sand album, it’s incredibly soulful revolutionary folk music that is still very relevant today.

Edit: Tad just released a trailer for the event!

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Published in: on January 28, 2009 at 1:53 pm  Comments (2)  

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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. you forgot to mention my zip-off cargo pants, badu-ish jewelry and hand made hmong man-bag. i ain’t ashamed (anymore)!

    i’m finna rock the thuggish bandana at the premiere!

  2. GREAT SONG! When is the music video coming out???


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