My new album, A Lasting Legacy, is dedicated to everyone, past or present, who in small ways or large has taken part in movements for social justice. Over the years I’ve been inspired by, sung, and written songs for such movements, including those serving the causes of peace, farmworker rights, environmental protection, and animal rights. 

The five songs on this album are partly in English and partly in Spanish, drawing especially from my experience working with the United Farmworkers Union (UFW), founded by César Chávez and Dolores Huerta. These songs reflect my hope that the extraordinarily challenging time we are now living through can become a turning point from which we move closer to justice for all. 

All the recordings on the album and the other music on this website are infused with the musical genius of Mark Thies, the producer, sound engineer, and instrumentalist extraordinaire who brought it all together. 

Here are the songs (which you can listen to for free on this website) and the people who helped make this album what it is: 

Nosotros Venceremos / We Shall Overcome is adapted from the Spanish/English version I learned from Mexican-American farmworkers in California in the early 1970s. Among my most cherished memories is singing it with César Chávez and several dozen farmworkers in a packed room at union headquarters, raising all our voices in song. To me, it felt reminiscent of union workers in the 1930s or Southern civil rights activists of the ‘50s and ‘60s. Luis Portillo, who plays guitar on this recording, says he remembers singing “Nosotros Venceremos” in church as a boy. Luis is now a leader and revered mentor in the Kansas City music scene. My deepest gratitude to Luis and the singers: Mark Thies, along with Alyssa Mendoza and Tre’ Mutava, two gifted young KC-area musicians. 

In Memory of César Chávez is a song I wrote to honor a great American whose spirit lives on, not only in the Mexican-American community but among those far and near for whom the commitment to social justice runs deep. From the César E. Chávez National Monument and the National Chávez Center on the grounds of the old UFW headquarters in Keene, California, to the streets of many U.S. cities now named César Chávez Boulevard, to the cities and states that celebrate César Chávez Day on his birthday on March 31, to the Oval Office at the White House, his legacy continues to inspire. Luis Portillo’s guitar and Bob Rodriguez’ accordion grace this recording from start to finish. 

La Lucha Continuará / The Struggle Goes On tells the story of Nan “Morning Glory” Freeman, a young college student killed in 1972 on a union picket line supporting the sugar workers of Belle Glade, Florida. As I learned of Nan’s death on a phone call from UFW Bay Area Boycott Coordinator Kit Bricca, the huelga chorus in this song floated into my mind unbidden, as if from another dimension; the rest of the song followed over the next day. Nan and four others killed while supporting the rights of farmworkers are honored at Martyr’s Rock on the grounds of the César E. Chávez National Monument. “La Lucha Continuará” was selected by the Smithsonian Institution for inclusion in its Grammy-nominated, 5-CD collection, Best of Broadside: Anthems of the American Underground, 1962-1988. My thanks to Christoph Wagner, a fine cellist and member of the music faculty at the University of New Mexico, for contributing a soulful cello accompaniment. 

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Deportees / Deportados was written nearly a century ago by Woody Guthrie. The sorrow I feel when hearing or singing this song is deepened by the knowledge that far too little progress toward justice for farmworkers has been achieved in the years since Woody penned these immortal lyrics. To my ear and to my heart, Stephanie Franco’s vocals on this duet enrich this rendition immeasurably. My thanks as well to my brother, Jon Rotholz, for his gently textured guitar stylings, and to my brother-in-song, the late Bernardo Palombo, for his poetic translation into Spanish at my request of the final two lines of Guthrie’s chorus. Bernardo also served as a reviewer for the other songs on this album. I was eagerly looking forward to sending him the finished version of this album when I learned that Bernardo had died the day before we completed the final mix. Bernardo Palombo ¡Presente! 

Somos el Barco / We Are the Boat was written by Lorre Wyatt. For me, the classic version of this song is the one recorded at a 1984 concert by HARP (Holly Near, Arlo Guthrie, Ronnie Gilbert, and Pete Seeger). My version is inspired by and deeply indebted to theirs. I wanted to both start and finish this album on a hopeful note and “Somos el Barco” is as uplifting as any song I know. Kudos to Nicholas Baker for his artfully grounded drum and conga tracks and his joyful marimba on the break, and to the choral vocalists: Alyssa Mendoza, Tre’ Mutava, and Mark Thies. Alyssa’s vocals reach some heavenly heights toward the song’s climax. 

¡Adelante! Onward! 

Daniel Redwood
Portland, Oregon
March 2024


A Lasting Legacy

Daniel Redwood

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