With Election Day approaching, a new album seeks to activate Asian American and Pacific Islander voters to go to the polls. The 32-track album Voices of Our Vote: My AAPI Vote highlights a dynamic mix of AAPI musical artists collaborating to share a message of political empowerment in today’s political climate of anti-immigrant rhetoric and increased racial tension.
Produced in partnership with Kollaboration, Traktivist, Tuesday Night Project, and the eclectic South Asian diaspora music and online mixtape site Mishthi Music, the compilation album will have its “pay as you wish” proceeds donated to 18 Million Rising, an organization working to promote AAPI civic engagement by leveraging the power of technology and social media. Catch 18 Million Rising campaign strategist Tanzila Ahmed, who also writes for Mishthi Music, in the album’s trailer:
The album’s release on September 6 launched 18MillionRising’s #MyAAPIVote campaign — a campaign including an online electoral platform vote.18MR.org, a pledge to vote photo project, a story collecting blog, and the ballot language translation app VoterVOX.
Tanya Palit, aka Saraswathi Jones, is a member of punk rock band Awaaz Do whose track “From Darkness” appears on Voices of our Vote. She explains the power music and the arts can have on politics: “Art and culture — and in my opinion, music especially — have the power to speak a deeply emotional language that can simply and powerfully reframe political issues.” Read on for more on some of the South Asian American artists featured on Voices of our Vote. Also check out the album’s Pandora channel featuring over 100 tracks on the topics of identity, politics and empowerment. Find out how to join the album’s September 21 Online Listening Party and live Twitter conversation with artists from the album on its event page.
Emcee, producer, composer and DJ Brooklyn Shanti and DC-based hip hop poet Ko the Timeless are Basmati Brothers, and one of their first singles is the “Running Mates” track on Voices of our Vote. Earlier this year they teamed up with The Writers Block for the summer single “Without You”.
Fair and Kind
Siblings Arthi Meera and Anand Subramanian grew up singing along to The Smiths and The Sundays while shuffling between piano lessons and Hindustani vocal training. Their dream pop collaboration Fair and Kind (A Little Past Twilight) contributes “America the Unrequited (Promise Version)” to the Voices compilation.
Indie-pop King Pleaxure is Brooklyn-based Ayan Sanyal, who writes, arranges and produces all of his music. Check out the carefree beat and moves in his music video for “Becoming” released earlier this year.
Basim Usmani, Karna Ray, Sunny Ali, and Shahjehan Khan make up the punk band The Kominas. Catch the band performing live as part of the upcoming September 29 Rock Against Racism concert in Lowell, Massachusetts. “See Something, Say Something” from their second album Stereotype is included on Voices of our Vote. The Kominas’ satirical music video for the track features a beautifully embellished tiffin carrier on the NYC subway and its owner arousing the xenophobic paranoia of a white passenger and the authorities.
Led by dhol drummer Sunny Jain, the 8-piece band Red Baraat (comprised of dhol, drumset, percussion, sousaphone, 3 horns and guitar) melds bhangra with a host of sounds, namely go-go, jazz and rock. Jain told NBC Asian America that the band’s track on the compilation album “Halla Bol,” translates to “raise your voice and to be heard loudly” and that “it’s appropriate for this album in the sense of everyone has a voice and everyone should participate in the democratic process.” See the band dubbed “best party band in years” by NPR next on October 5 in Northampton, Massachusetts.
“Fiyah Pon Babylon” (produced by Te’Amir) is hip-hop artist Mandeep Sethi aka Seti X‘s contribution to Voices of our Vote. The track is from the mix-tape Anahata. Anahata (Heart Chakra) is “the seat of balance within the body. There is no longer any concern with attachments to worldly pleasures, honors, or humiliations. Unhurt, Unstruck, and Unbeaten.”
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