As Immigration Reform Again Takes Center Stage This Week…
LA SANTA CECILIA, in Partnership with Leading Migrant Rights Group and the Americas Business Council (abc*) Foundation, Spotlights the Real-LifeFaces and Stories of Undocumented Immigrants with the Poignant New Video for Hit Single “El Hielo (ICE)”
Starring an Undocumented Cast of Key Figures in the Fight for Immigrant Rights, New Video by “Los Angeles’ Best Latin Alternative Band”, Directed by Alex Rivera, hits close to home for many.
In conjunction with the video premiere the band will now appear at immigration reform events today In Phoenix, Arizona, and April 10th at The U.S. Capitol Building in Washington D.C.
This week, Latin Grammy nominated Los Angeles-based band, La Santa Cecilia, released the timely video for “El Hielo (ICE),” in which the band chronicles the daily fear facing many Latin American immigrants in the US seeking a better life. The video for the first single from the band’s upcoming album “TREINTA DIAS” (to be released on April 30, 2013) is a collaboration between leading immigrant rights group the National Day Laborer Organizing Network, and the abc* (Americas Business Council) Foundation’s Healing Power of Music Initiative.
The video brings together director Alex Rivera and a nearly all undocumented cast portraying their real-life experiences mirrored in the lyrics of the song. The music and the making of the video combine to create a commentary on the state of immigration, the great lengths people will go to in order to provide for their family and loved ones, and the ever-present threat of removal that haunts today’s immigrant communities.
Debuting at the same time as new Congressional deliberations are being brought on the issue, the video portrays the urgency for relief for those facing the threat of deportation.
For the band’s accordion player, Jose Carlos, who has decided to reveal his previously undocumented status, for Isaac Barrera who spent weeks in a detention center, and for the Andiola and Figueroa families featured in the video, the topic hits very close to home. Erika Andiola is a national leader in the Dreamer movement whose mother was taken away when their home was raided by ICE. Katherine Figueroa witnessed her own parents’ detention live on television at age 9.
As the nation grapples with the immigration debate, La Santa Cecilia’s “El Hielo” offers a moving perspective on what happens when ‘one person stays here and the other over there. All just for going to work.’
The National Day Laborer Organizing Network is made up of more than 40 organizations across the country working to improve the lives of day laborers.
The Healing Power of Music is an initiative of the Americas Business Council (abc*) Foundation, a nonprofit organization that supports high-impact, innovative, social and environmental organizations working to sustainably advance the Americas.
The Band – La Santa Cecilia
Latin Grammy nominated, alternative band La Santa Cecilia ( who just signed the major-label record deal with Universal Latin) are immigrants, the children of immigrants and dreamers. The Los Angeles based band that takes their name from the patron saint of music is the epitome of our new bi-cultural generation– fully immersed in the modern music and art of the country many have called home since their youngest days, while adventurously fusing together a new sound that also pays homage to the rich traditions of their Mexican heritage. La Santa Cecilia consists of accordionist and requintero Jose Carlos, bassist Alex Bendana, percussionist Miguel Ramirez, and lead vocalist La Marisoul, whose captivating voice sings about love, loss and heartbreak.
The Video for “El Hielo”
With an album release planned for April 30 of this year, La Santa Cecilia collaborated with the National Day Laborer Organizing Network and abc* Foundation’s Healing Power of Music Initiative to create the video and transmit a timely message for their first single, “El Hielo” (ICE). With a cast of mostly undocumented individuals directly impacted by immigration issues, the video not only speaks to the experiences of their very own families but also to millions more in their community. The group recruited director Alex Rivera whose own film, Sleep Dealer, takes a futuristic look at immigration and questions how we treat those who work in America. The video for “El Hielo” brings to life La Santa Cecilia’s powerful narrative highlighting the daily struggles of those that work toward a better future for themselves and their children, while fearing separation from loved ones that can happen at any time.
Through the making of the video, Pepe, the band’s accordionist, who recently received deferred action for childhood arrivals, comes out for the first time about his own previous status as an undocumented person.
The video for “El Hielo” was shot in Los Angeles in early March with the band and a cast from Los Angeles and Arizona including individuals at risk of deportation themselves because of the very ICE practices highlighted by La Santa Cecilia in the new single. It’s a special moment when the making of the video, the current events, and the text of the song are all merging into the same story of people facing deportation and working for a better life.
Most of the cast members in the video are undocumented individuals in real life. By featuring directly impacted people in the video, the project poignantly portrays events that took place in their actual lives.
Maria Arreola (Erika’s mom) came to the United States to provide a better life for her children. Saying that they were following-up on a previous traffic stop, ICE agents arrested Maria and her son this past winter. After being detained, she was placed on a bus to be deported to Mexico only to have it turned around as a result of the national outcry organized by her daughter. She was given one year of deferred action but may face deportation orders again in 2014.
Erika Andiola is a nationally recognized leader in the undocumented immigrant youth movement. A graduate of Arizona State University, she moved from Mexico to Arizona when she was 11 years old and later became a co-founder of DRM Capitol Group and the Arizona Dream Act Coalition (ADAC). When ICE raided her home and took her mother and older brother, Erika’s case became nationally known when she mobilized hundreds of thousands to stop their deportations.
At age 9, Katherine Figueroa, came home from school and turned on the television only to become witness to the arrest of her own parents by Sheriff Arpaio’s deputies. She led children’s marches at the capitol, testified in Congress, and successfully organized their temporary release. Her efforts are featured in the full-length documentary, Two Americans. Both parents have a trial before the immigration court that could result in their deportation this coming July.
Isaac Barrera is an undocumented immigrant and organizer with the Immigrant Youth Coalition in Los Angeles. Isaac spent two and a half weeks in detention after being detained by border patrol in Alabama in order to expose the inhumane treatment of incarcerated immigrants. His case is still pending.
Juan Romero is a day laborer who looks for work outside a Los Angeles Home Depot where he meets contractors for temporary home construction jobs. He has been an actor in the community drama troupe, Teatro Jornalero, since 2010. He hasn’t seen his wife since he came to the US in 2005.
National Day Laborer Organizing Network
NDLON’s approach incorporates community organizing, litigation, and culture to build power at the local level for immigrant communities to promote the rights of day laborers and working to turn the tide on immigration from policies of exclusion exemplified by Arizona toward inclusion. In May, 2010 NDLON and its local members organized a 100,000 person march against Arizona’s SB1070 that culminated with a performance by the late Queen of Banda, Jenni Rivera. NDLON and filmmaker Alex Rivera have since partnered to make music videos with world music sensation Manu Chao and South American hip-hop Phenom Ana Tijoux to lift the voices of directly affected people and raise awareness of the consequences and the courage of challenging today’s immigration system. NDLON produced the El Hielo video as part of its #not1more art and organizing series to keep families together and stop deportations.
Abc* Foundations’ Healing Power of Music Initiative
The abc* Foundation’s Healing Power of Music project aims to unite people across the Americas through music, and to inspire a movement that embraces peace while celebrating cultural diversity. The abc* Foundation’s vision through this initiative is to harness the power of music and use it to transform individuals and communities into leaders and change-makers. La Marisoul of La Santa Cecilia collaborated with the abc* Foundation in 2012 to record Mexico Lindo y Querido, a music video that aimed to raise awareness of the growing crisis of youth violence and crime in Mexico.
His first feature film, Sleep Dealer, a science-fiction feature set on the U.S./Mexico border, won multiple awards at the Sundance Film Festival and the Berlin International Film Festival, was screened as part of ‘New Directors / New Films’ at the Museum of Modern Art and Lincoln Center, and had a commercial release in the U.S, France, Japan, and other countries around the world.
Alex is a Sundance Fellow, Rockefeller Fellow, USA Artist Fellow, Creative Capital grantee and in 2008 was named one of Variety Magazine’s “10 Directors to Watch.” His recent collaborations have included work with Manu Chao, Ana Tijoux and Maria Hinojosa. Alex studied at Hampshire College and lives in Los Angeles.