Music honors 400 African American sailors who were killed and injured in 1944 at Port Chicago (Vallejo) loading war bombs
The CD, Don’t Give Up the Fight is Ron San Miguel’s simultaneous love song to the world and cry for civil rights. From his passion for justice to the odes to his parents, San Miguel pours out his call for action to promote unity among humanity and a call to action against racism, sexism and division amongst communities. With every guitar strum and lyric San Miguel powerfully educates and inspires throughout 13 songs in an eclectic variety of country, folk, indigenous and contemporary music.
“In the song Don’t Give Up the Fight, San Miguel refers to the Standing Rock protectors of sacred lands and sings “We shall overcome Trump these next four years.’’ “It was Trump’s election in 2016 that really gave me the impetus to begin dus CD,” he said.
“Come on people now, we’re better than this! We can live in peace and bliss!” Sung in a West African language and English, in Elamba Tambo, San Miguel refers to an African Medicine Tree. The artist says the words for the song were divinely inspired, and came to him prior to falling asleep one summer night in 2014.
“I got out of bed and recorded: “Ele Ene E Elamba Tambo, Ele Ene E Elamba Tambo!” The next morning, I Googled those words and found that they made reference to an African Medicine Tree, People of the River, and People of the Mountain. So, I wrote verses about peace and harmony, to remind us that we are all one, and have roots in Africa.’ San Miguel states the song deeply resonates with his fellow West African friends and musicians.
San Miguel bravely reminds listeners of the many tragedies worldwide. In No Tears Left to Cry, he mourns the devastation in Aleppo, Syria due to civil war and the genocide in Darfur, Sudan.
Closer to home, San Miguel shares of his diverse neighborhood in The Fruitvale Barrio of Oak land, while Gangbangers in Blue speaks to police brutality and the code of silence many officers live by. In Occupy Your Heart San Miguel encourages the 99% to continue to fight for economic, political and social justice. While Alternative Facts focuses on the phrase used by U.S. Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway during a Meet the Press interview on January 22, 2017, in which she defended White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer’s false statement about the attendance numbers of Donald Trump’s presidential inauguration
San Miguel delves deeper into history and honors the African American Heroes of Port Chicago, referring to the deadly munitions explosion that occurred on July 17, 1944, at the Port Chicago Naval Magazine in Port Chicago, California. Munitions detonated while being loaded onto a cargo vessel, killing 320 sailors and civilians and injuring nearly 400. Most of the dead and injured were enlisted African American sailors.
A month later, unsafe conditions inspired hundreds of servicemen to refuse to load munitions, an act known as the Port Chicago Mutiny. Fifty men—called the ‘Tort Chicago 50”—were dishonorably discharged, convicted of mutiny and sentenced to 15 years of prison and hard labor.
Widespread publicity surrounding the unfairness of the case resulted in the prisoners release after two years leading to the Navy desegregating beginning in 1946. The Port Chicago Naval Magazine National Memorial is dedicated to the lives lost in the disaster.
“It’s time for the world to know and the history books to show the injustice perpetrated on these sailors,” he sings in the Heroes of Port Chicago. In 2010, San Miguel performed at the National Memorial.
Since 1988, San Miguel has been a bilingual performer throughout the bay area and produced his first CD, Paint Me a Rainbow in 2013.
San Miguel dedicates his
latest CD to his parents, Celia Garcia and Leocadio San Miguel, Jr. “They live in my heart,” he said.
Don’t Give Up the Fight is a healing CD, reminding listeners to know their history’ and fight against repeating the ugliness. For more information visit: Global Roots Musica