News & Reviews


Joel Rafael Contributes Song to BORDER SONGS CD Release

A different message coming out of Arizona: Musicians, Poets and Artists come together to save lives

On October 12, 2012, Border Songs--a new compilation album to benefit the southern Arizona humanitarian group No More Deaths - was released to a capacity crowd in Flagstaff, AZ. The purpose of the album is to raise awareness and provide aid to migrants who suffer and die in Sonoran desert. Joel Rafael contributed his song "Sierra Blanca Massacre" to this album.

Joel Rafael Border Songs

All proceeds from the sale of the Border Songs CD will go to No More Deaths/No Más Muertes, a volunteer group that caches water in the desert, provides medical assistance and food to migrants, and helps recently deported people on the Mexican side of the border. Since 1994, more than 6,000 migrants have died along the US-Mexico border. According to the album's co-producers Robert Neustadt and Chuck Cheesman, the mission of the Border Songs CD and No More Deaths is simple: to end death and suffering on the Arizona/Mexico border.

The two-CD set features 31 performances in both English and Spanish from a variety of different genres and styles: blues, corrido, cumbia, folk/Americana, hip hop, instrumental guitar, mambo, Nicaraguan new song, reggae, rock, and even an electronic recording of the wall itself.

Renowned artists contributing to the compilation include Sweet Honey In The Rock, whose song "Are We a Nation?" was written in direct response to Arizona's anti-immigrant law, SB 1070. Other prominent musicians include Amos Lee, Michael Franti and Spearhead, Calexico, Joel Rafael, Tom Russell and Eliza Gilkyson. Salvadoran Lilo González, who himself crossed the border without documents, contributes a cumbia based on his own experience, "Ningún ser humano es ilegal" (No Human Being is Illegal). 93 year-old folk music legend Pete Seeger contributed his call for unity, his song "My Rainbow Race"

Spoken word on the album includes a dramatic reading by Chicana performer Denise Chávez, excepts from an interview with Charles Bowden, and an animal fable by m. henry that will both entertain a child and inspire an adult to think. Poets contributing work include Chilean Raúl Zurita, one of South America's most important living poets, Salvadoran Mario Bencastro, whose poem "Arizona" honors migrants who have died in the desert, and North American Margaret Randall, whose poem "Offended Turf" is blended with Glenn Weyant's electronic recording of the border wall. This diverse collection of border songs is held together by a common thread - a deep concern and solidarity for migrants, for people of all ethnicities, regardless of their country of origin.

The complete list of artists contributing to the Border Songs project features:

Amos Lee, Calacas Blues, Calexico, Charles Bowden, Christa Sadler, Chuck Cheesman, Classik & Pachuco, Cyril Barrett, Denise Chávez, Dúo Guardbarranco, Eliza Gilkyson, Eric Skye, Giant Giant Sand, Glenn Weyant, Joel Rafael, Lakesigns, Lilo Gonzalez, Los Románticos, Margaret Randall, Mario Bencastro, m. henry, Michael Franti & Spearhead, Óscar Sarmiento, Pete Seeger, Raúl Zurita, Robert Neustadt, Scott Ainslie, Sergio Mendoza y la Orkesta, Sweet Honey in the Rock, Ted Warmbrand, Tom Russell.

The Border Songs album is available for purchase for $24 at

Or, through the Border Songs CD Project web page:

See also, Border Songs on Facebook:

For information, contact Robert Neustadt:

back to: News & Reviews