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Activism In World Music - A Conservation With Taina Asili

Taina Asili
Ian Stewart, host of the World Music Show on VPM, speaks with musician and activist Taina Asili about her music and her like fighting social injustice. (Photo: Mike Morgan/courtesy of the artist)

Since March is Women’s History Month and mixed in the month was also International Women’s Day, I’ve decided to interview some amazing female musicians who also happen to be dedicated to battling issues of social injustice through their music and through their actions. 

My mini-series is called “Activism in Music.”

If you look back through my numerous playlists over the years, you’ll see that I’ve done many shows dedicated to female musicians, so I don’t want you to think that I’m jumping on some monthly bandwagon just to highlight some incredible musicians. It’s something that should be done on a regular basis.

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On tonight’s show (3/13/21), I have an interview with Taina Aslili. In our almost hour conversation, we talk about what it means to write and perform music that walks the line of empowering people to take a stand, while at the same time, being something that is also entertaining. 

We also talk about Taina’s creative process behind the songs on her album “Resiliencia,”which is a collection of compositions inspired by stories of resilience she witnessed in interviews she conducted with women of color in various parts of the United states, Puerto Rico, and Canada over the course of several years. 

She also was part of a documentary of the same name. In the film, she spoke to four women artists and activists (Dylcia Pagan, Marta Rodriguez, Yasmin Hernandez and Esperanza Martel) about their experiences during and after the hurricanes. “The film documents the natural and unnatural devastation to the island and its people, while lifting up the resilience, creativity, and strength of the Puerto Rican nation and the human spirit.”

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Asili also leads workshops on social justice issues. We talk about that, as well as her roots in both Punk Rock and Opera. 

Next week, I’ll have another interview with the musician Eljuri, who is also an activist. 

There’s other music on the show tonight as well--but you’ll have to tune in from 6-8pm on VPM Music, 93.1 or 107.3FM or stream the show via this website. Follow me on social media--on Twitter @VPM_IanStewart and on Facebook, look for the World Music Show on VPM.