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The Harvest is Great (In Detroit) with Love for My ELCA Family and Detroit 

My new song, The Harvest is Great (In Detroit), is streaming sitewide at MarcosandlaGuagua.com in celebration of the 2015 Youth Gathering, Multicultural Youth Leadership Event (MYLE), and Definitely-abled Youth Leadership Event (DAYLE) of our Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). I came to a faith of conviction in God's surprising, gracious love in Christ at a MYLE gathering years ago. I believe God is doing something new in the hearts of thousands of youth and adults as our church gathers in Detroit this week as well.

My mom taught in Detroit in the 1970's and I feel a strong affinity for the Motor City, as someone who grew up in the Mid-west and was born into the Bronx. God is already at work in places the dominant powers of this world have cast aside, even before churches can schedule time to discuss it.

I pray that this and every week in Detroit may be a foretaste of the feast to come for visitors and locals alike.

The current Harvest is Great demo was recorded in the acoustically gracious sanctuary of Trinity Lutheran Church in Manhattan using the talents of four mid-westerners gathered together in NYC. Thanks to Horace Beasley, piano and backing vocals. Leanna Hieber, vocals. Dash Lea, sound engineering. I wrote the song and sing lead vocals. Thanks to Abe Cáceres for his mentorship, and my mom, Carolyn Wille-Rivera for sharing her Detroit memories with me.

We believe that Detroit is:

"Like a Garden
Planted by a Great Lake..."

and that there is

"So much soul food at God's table,
Everyone can fill their plate!"

This is what love does, God's work our hands.

For me, I say, this is most certainly true. Amen.

Thanks for listening,

Marcos

The Harvest is Great (In Detroit) copyright Marcos de Jesús 2015
SDG

Actuality and Live Organ for Summer Day Camp at TLC of NYC 

This Sunday at 4pm I'll be contributing to a couple of songs, including a live version of Actuality. The concert featuring the organ playing of Vicar Barbara "the Funky Organist" Otto as a fundraiser for Trinity's Summer Day Camp which provides meaningful fun for kids and summer jobs for youth, in a constructive Christian setting. Familia, let's fight darkness with light.

Trinity Lutheran Church in Manhattan
164 W 100th Street
Sunday June 21st 4pm

Donations to benefit Trinity's Summer Day Camp

Old Holidays and the Latest News 

Dearest Freedom Riders,

Kujichagulia my peoples! I had to blog today, because it's my favorite day of Kwanzaa. The day dedicated to the principle of Kujichagulia, Swahili for self determination.

For me, it is also the third day of Christmas (yes, the twelve days start on December 25th). This coming Sunday many churches remember the darkest part of the Christmas stories in the Bible, the Massacre of the Holy Innocents .

Expressing our love for all the holy innocents and affirming the universal right of self determination might help us resolve some of our major conflicts in NYC today. May I suggest that: Black lives matter. Cop's lives matter. All lives matter, and all people should have the right to self determination, as individuals and communities.
Amen?

Mayor Di Blasio suggested that non-violent anti-police brutality protests stop after the horrible, senseless assassination of two NYPD officers last Saturday. Calling for a brief pause from protest seemed reasonable to me at first. Then after a lot of prayerful listening I decided that I disagreed with the Mayor on that issue. My thought is that disciplined non-violent protest is an alternative to violence, rather than a cause of violence. And people should have the right to determine for themselves when they want to protest. Telling the people when not to protest is not one of the jobs we elected Bill de Blasio to do. Kujichagulia.

But, I've also felt very disturbed by uniformed and/or armed police officers turning their backs on Mayor de Blasio as a protest this past week. I am in favor of the right to protest, but when cops in uniform and/or with guns protest their civilian boss, it begs the question: Who is in charge, the leader who was elected by the people, or the guys with the guns? 

I'd like to share this series of tweets by Andrew Exum, former Army officer and scholar on the middle east, to better express my concerns:
"1.Thought exercise: Imagine thousands of US Army officers turning their backs  on President Bush at the funeral of soldiers killed in Iraq. 2. I know the service and social contract differ, but as a former Army officer, I'm made really uneasy by the behavior of the NYPD today. 3. (Chief of Police) Bratton's remarks at the funeral, by contrast, struck the precise opposite tone: humble, mournful, the words of a public servant. 4. Shame on those--politicians retired PD--who would encourage the insubordination of armed peace officers. 5. On a day we should've mourned selfless sacrifice of police, we also witnessed disrespect of public servants toward elected leaders. 6. How can you call yourself a public servant when you turn your back on the democratically elected representation of the public weal?"

Wondering about the term "Public Weal"? I had to look it up. Wikipedia says: "Public weal may refer to: Commonwealth, a form of government without a monarch in which people have governmental influence."

Hmmn…that's a new word for me, but I like it…almost as much as I like Kujichagulia.

God bless the NYPD.
God bless the Public Weal.
And like Tiny Tim says: "God bless us, every one!"

Amen?

Merry Christmas, Happy Kwanzaa, and Thanks for Listening,

Marcos

212 679 6018 Memorize this Song Before Your Next Protest  

Esteemed Freedom Riders de la Guagua,

212 679 6018 is a phone number to call if you are arrested while protesting in NYC to ask for free legal advice and support from the National Lawyer's Guild NYC. The song is a few years old, originally made for Occupy.

I don't have an artistic response to today's police violence, at least not yet. But, I hope this song may be useful to folks who are standing up for our rights.

Black Lives Matter.

Keep the Faith,

Marcos
 

Code Switching is Here, Dec 4th Marcos & la Guagua Will be at BXCC 

Thanks to everyone who helped make the Code Switching album release concert a beautiful celebration of diverse community and powerful music.

Now you can get Code Switching at cdbaby.com/cd/marcoslaguagua

$11 on compact disc, $9.50 digital download

And you can see songs from the album performed live this Thursday December 4th, at Bronx Community College (BXCC) 12-2pm. I am honored to be the featured artist at the BXCC Writing Center Poet's Cafe, Sage Hall Room 100. The event is free and YOU are invited! Bring poetry or music to share or just come to listen. Take the 4 train to Burnside Avenue walk west up Burnside to University Ave, turn right to the campus gate. From the University Ave entrance walk up the main path at BXCC till you pass Meister Hall, Turn left, continue to Sage Hall. Plan on bringing ID to show the guard at the campus gate.

Marcos & la Guagua comes to life when my songs reach the hearts and body/minds that they were meant for. La Guagua means to move you. If you like what we're doing, please share it with someone else you think might be blessed by it. I'm always happy to hear from you too.

Thanks for your support. 

Thanks for listening,

Marcos

Marcos & la Guagua Album Release Concert Nov 21st 

Beloved Community,

Friday November 21st, 7pm
Marcos & la Guagua presents: 
Code Switching
Album release concert
Trinity Lutheran Church 164 W 100th Street, Manhattan

I will be performing songs from my debut album Code Switching, in a beautiful space that has helped me find my voice. Everything sounds better with the gracious acoustics of the sanctuary of TLCofNYC. I invite you to be a part of our journey. La Guagua means to move you.

Check out a video of a recent show to have an idea of what we'll have to share with you.

 

MarcosandlaGuagua.com/video

 

More details soon.

 

Thanks for Listening,

 

Marcos

Ten Thoughts on Immigration and Freedom 

I am not an expert on immigration. But, my friendships with immigrants are important to me. I think most folks in our country want the USA to be a friend to immigrants. I think many people in the Judeo-Christian faith tradition (which I am a part of) want our congregations to be friends to immigrants. If that is our goal, it seems that the usual debates in the mainstream media are not helping us. I suggest we need to start from different perspectives. What if we started with:

1- For Christians: Matthew 25:31-46.  Jesus identifies himself with the most vulnerable. If we love and serve Jesus we must focus on loving and serving vulnerable people. 

2- Immigration is not usually anyone's first choice. People normally prefer to stay in their homelands.The most effective way to reduce immigration is to work to improve conditions in all countries. If conditions are OK at home, most people will not leave.

 

3- The most effective way to reduce illegal immigration, is to make legal immigration easier. 

 

4- People have innate rights, not countries or borders. Countries have no innate right to keep out non-violent workers, children, or refugees. Non-violently crossing a border is not immoral.

 

5- Countries have the responsibility to protect their people from hostile military forces, and criminals, border security is one tool to accomplish this. Protection from hostile military forces and criminals should be the primary and limited purpose of border security.

 

6- Militarization of borders is dangerous for everyone. Border militarization is often a characteristic of violent, oppressive states such as North Korea.

 

7- Militarized borders benefit criminals by creating a new product for smugglers. As Al Capone gained power from the prohibition of alcohol, so do cross border smugglers gain power from the prohibition of non-violent immigrant workers, children, and refugees.

 

8- If capital and corporations move across borders, workers will move across borders as well.

 

9- Our country, our planet, and our universe are filled with an abundance of good things. There is more than enough for everyone. If this doesn't seem to be the case, it is an illusion created by injustice or poor distribution of resources.

 

10- Countries have the responsibility to remediate harm which their policies or economies have caused.

 

Does any of that seem helpful? Sometimes, when I have strong feelings about an issue, I make a song about it. But, right now I am trying to focus on releasing an album. So I thought I'd try  typing out some thoughts using sentences instead. I hope that the audience that is coming together around this Guagua project, is a community of folks that welcome thoughtful and loving discussion. Pues, avisame que piensan ustedes.

 

Peace, Blessings, and Thanks for Listening,

 

Marcos

Música Boricua By Request  

My voice as a songwriter first poured out of me as I studied under Afri-Puerto Rican roots music masters such as Modesto Cepeda, en la Isla del Encanto.  As promised, Patria de Dios  and Cantaré mi Bomba  will be streaming for free here for a limited time. Soon they will be included in my new album. The project has now grown from an EP into a full length album, probably to be called "Code Switching", and probably to be released in the fall.

Thanks for Listening,

Marcos

Time for the EP 

I have some stuff I think you should hear. I think you'll find that it's worth listening to.  A spoken word intro, 6 songs, and an adorable audio snippet from my Abuelita. 27 musical minutes. Some of it, I hope, you might wanna listen to again and again.

 

I made this music in the past years of wandering in the desert of the soul, hearing voices, and trying to find my voice. In those years, I probably recorded a thousand minutes. Now I think I've begun to find my artistic voice. I've chosen 27 minutes out of the thousand, to represent what I am becoming as an artist. 


I envision this as a small scale, self release, of mainly DIY tracks.

 

Do you have any advice on how to do this well? Should I ask for listener/fan support, or keep it very simple and put it on my credit card?

 

CD release party? Where, when?

 

Any thoughts on Album art, CD cases, iTunes, Soundcloud, or Amazon?

 

I'd love to hear your thoughts as professionals or as listeners.

 

Thanks for being a part of the community that has nurtured this music.

 

Paz,

 

Marcos

Marcos & la Guagua

Marcos de Jesús is inspired by going new places with genres he loves, such as Hiphop, Boricua Roots Music, and Gospel. Code Switching, the debut album of Marcos & la Guagua is on CDbaby and iTunes. Marcos & la Guagua is on a musical mission of reconciliation, to boldly go beyond the limitations of genre ghettos. Marcos will be your guide and la Guagua will be our clean-air-hybrid-electric vehicle. La Guagua means to move you. 

Get on the Bus!