Monday, June 29, 2009

Vandy prof looking for families to help with grad course on English language learning

from Rubén E. De Peña, Community Outreach Manager, Non-English Language Background Populations, Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools:
During the month of July, Dr. Brad L. Teague, from the Department of Teaching and Learning of Vanderbilt University, will be teaching a graduate-level course focused on English language learners at Vanderbilt University, and he is looking for 8-10 local Hispanic families that might be willing to spend some time with his students while the course is in session. The students (all of whom are certified teachers in a variety of subject areas) would be willing to tutor the Hispanic children and/or help the families (including adults) improve their English. Also, if there are other ways in which they could help, they would be glad to do so. In exchange, Dr. Teague would like for his students to learn more about Hispanic cultures, get a first-hand glimpse into the daily lives of immigrant families, and interact one-on-one with school-age children and their parents. The ultimate goal of the project is for future teachers of ELLs to learn more about the lives, interests, and backgrounds of local immigrant children so that they can use this information to enhance their instruction.

The families will be asked to spend at least three (3) hours per week with 1-2 students from July 6-July 31 and, ideally, they will include them in a number of family activities and/or community events. Dr. Teague’s students will talk with them, participate in activities with them, and provide them help with academic tasks. The specific meeting times and places are flexible, and his students will have transportation. Needless to say, the privacy and personal wishes of the families will be respected at all times.

If you know of any families that might be willing to participate, please contact Dr. Teague as soon as possible at or 336-225-3233 (cell). He would be happy to speak with either you or individual family members to answer any questions or concerns (in Spanish or English, as desired). Given that the course starts next week, he is anxious to work out the details of the project pronto!

Please spread the word. This is an excellent opportunity for the Hispanic families to interact with these Vanderbilt University graduate students. Once again, the training starts Monday, July 6 until Friday, July 31. To register, please contact Dr. Teague at or 336-225-3233 (cell).

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Tim Chavez succumbs to cancer at 50

"God has allowed me to live so much longer than I deserved. Now I am ready to see Him, if He so judges that I can."

Former Tennessean columnist Tim Chavez died this past Thursday at the age of 50.

Funeral and donation details can be found at the Nashville City Paper and the Tennessean.

High school friend looks back

One of Tim's high school friends, Marisa Treviño of Latina Lista, posted a remembrance called Remembering my friend Tim Chavez. This is an excerpt:
I knew Tim when he was a goofy high school student with a quick wit and a sense of humor that made it hard to stay offended by his adolescent jokes.
For Tim and I, writing was the lifeline we shared to make sense of people, who as Tim liked to describe, through the "poverty of their experiences" couldn't see the harm their rhetoric and actions had on a community that struggled to live equally.

Though there were many sides of Tim, the Tim I will always remember is the goofy, joking high schooler who blossomed into a brave defender of people's rights.
Read Treviño's entire post here.

Tim on

Chavez first appeared in the Hispanic Nashville Notebook for his 2004 column describing the support for Hispanic Achievers in Williamson County.

Chavez's local fame/infamy in Nashville was highlighted by this entry in the 2006 edition of the contest You Are So Nashville If...
You don’t mind the immigrants, but wish you could deport Tim Chavez.
I interacted with Chavez for the first time in the wake of the article in Liz Garrigan's Nashville Scene piece describing Chavez's termination at the Tennessean following his initial leukemia-induced medical leave. At the time, Chavez said his greatest regret was not having a farewell column to thank his readers:
“I’m grateful to my friends and readers who have told me they would pray for me,” he says. “And now I’m sort of powerless to tell them how much.”
I got Tim's number from Garrigan and offered to reprint his writings at if he was interested. That led to two columns: one about the Our Lady of Guadalupe church in Nashville being a symbol of the importance of welcoming immigrants, which drew on his parents' roots in Kansas; and one about the same church raising close to $1 million toward retiring the debt of its new building. I also asked him for his opinion on the 2008 presidential candidates.

Ultimately, I helped Chavez set up Political Salsa, which he launched in May 2008. Anyone who followed his columns at the Tennessean but didn't know that he was still writing afterwards may be surprised at how prolific he was at that site.

Contemplating a farewell

In February of this year, Chavez was hired as a columnist at the Williamson Herald. At the same time, he described a "great risk" of imminent death due to recent developments. He also said that if he had been able to write a farewell to his readers at the Tennessean before his departure in 2007, this post on Political Salsa would have been it. Here is an excerpt:
I no longer fear death. And I need no one to fix this situation for me. It is mine.

If I do live, that is fine. If I die soon, however, I have no regrets. God has blessed me so much that I long to see his face and that of my mother. The sooner, the better. I have found a close friend to be executor of my estate and make sure my fortune goes to the children of Tennessee in their public education.

I just want my former readers to know now that I survived, marvelously so, and that God is so compassionate. That is reason for them to have hope now in their lives and in the cancers they face and other challenges such as the economy.

Don't feel one bit sorry for me. God has allowed me to live so much longer than I deserved. Now I am ready to see Him, if He so judges that I can. May all praise be to the Lord. His mercy endures forever. Let the House of Israel say, His mercy endures forever.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Friday, June 12, 2009

Feel Good Friday: "See"

"See" is a promotional video I made for this site in August 2008. It looks like I didn't post it here at the time, but Aunt B. and Mack provided the sincerest form of flattery.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Detention of children at CCA facility is focus of Least of These documentary and World Refugee Day protest; company initially said no to keeping kids

Movie and protest bring Hutto to forefront this month

CCA: "We are not in the business of making moral decisions on U.S. public policy"

"We said no initially"

There's a new movie out - and also a protest later this month - about the federal government's detention of children at the T. Don Hutto Residential Center ("Hutto"), which is operated by Nashville-based Corrections Corporation of America ("CCA").

The movie is called The Least of These and will be screened at the Capitol in Washington D.C. tomorrow. [Update 6/10/2009: The Least of These can be previewed on YouTube, viewed in full for free at SnagFilms, and is also available on DVD. Details at]

The protest is scheduled for June 20, the third consecutive World Refugee Day on which a protest will be held at Hutto.

Overview of child detention controversy and Hutto facility

The complaints against Hutto center around these two issues: (1) whether the federal government (and its contractors like CCA) should be detaining children at all, and (2) if so, under what conditions should children be detained.

In regard to the first issue - whether children should be detained at all - everyone agrees on one point: families should not be separated. The question is how to keep track of them once a parent has been apprehended by immigration authorities. The federal government argues that keeping track of families requires detention of parents along with their children. Opponents argue that families can be successfully monitored through methods other than detention.

In regard to the second issue - if children are to be detained, under what conditions - was the subject of a federal lawsuit brought by the ACLU in 2006, which resulted in a settlement. After the judge ruled that ACLU was highly likely to succeed, the federal government agreed to specific changes, and the Hutto facility was subjected to monitoring by a court magistrate through 2009. No violations of that settlement have been reported.

Opponents of child detention in general have targeted at least three entities:
  • the federal government;
  • Williamson County, Texas, where Hutto is located; and
  • Corrections Corporation of America, based in Nashville, which operates Hutto.
The decision about whether to detain children, or participate in their detention, is made by all three: Uncle Sam, Williamson County commissioners and their constituents, and CCA and its constituents.

Because of CCA's role, it is one of the targets of the anti-Hutto protests. Prior to Hutto, however, CCA was seen as friendly to Hispanics and Latin Americans, who make up the majority of those held at Hutto. The company...Because of Hutto, however, LULAC is returning the CCA donations it has received.

Comments by Louise Grant of CCA

The Hispanic Nashville Notebook asked CCA how the company views the detention of children and families, or allegations of overincarceration - and whether the board or the company wrestles with the moral issues raised by opponents, or whether there is a limit to the kind of policies the company is willing to help implement. Here is the response of CCA VP of Marketing and Communications Louise Grant:
Our government customers don't ask us our opinions on the moral implications. ... They make public policy decisions. ... Once those decisions have been made, they decide "Is the public government sector going to manage these individuals, or is the private sector?" ... We are not in the business of making moral decisions on U.S. public policy. ... Where we can have an influence is in our own facilities.
When describing the moment when ICE approached CCA to turn Hutto into a family facility, Grant said that CCA initially turned the government down:
Grant: Specifically in regard to Hutto, I can say our customer - Immigration and Customs Enforcement, again, they have been our customer for 25 years, they trust us - they came to us and asked us to operate a family detention center. We said no initially.

Hispanic Nashville Notebook: Why was that?

Grant: We said we have not had that expertise before - you know, we've managed adults. We've had a few juvenile facilities, but we have not managed a family detention center. Obviously, there was only one at the time in the country, in Pennsylvania, and we said no. And ICE came back to us and said, we've made the public policy decision that we are going to do this, and we want to partner who we trust; you've been a good partner for 25 years; we know you have high standards, you have integrity and strong ethics, and we would like you to do this. And we knew it was going to be an evolutionary process, because it was new for ICE and it was new for us, but we said OK we will do this. And we knew that there would be scrutiny. There was obviously the concern about safety and security to say, how can we ensure the absolute safest, most humane environment for these individuals. And our staff, who already goes through very rigorous training, went through a great deal more specialized training, and all of our counselors. And it has been an evolutionary process.

I've been to that facility several times. The warden Evelyn Hernandez is a wonderful woman from Puerto Rico who has the greatest sensitivity, and her staff has the greatest sensitivity to the mothers and the children and the fathers. We do believe that keeping those children with their families is something we're proud of. Again, we've worked extremely hard not to get involved in the public policy decisions...

Hutto Timeline

July 2005
CCA issues press release announcing Hutto closure

December 2005
CCA announces agreement with ICE that will keep Hutto open

May 2006
Hutto re-opens as facility for families, including children; Tennessean reports that federal immigration policy of family detention helps company's bottom line

December 2006
Protest against housing children at Hutto covers Hutto controversy

January 2007
Texas Civil Rights Project says Hutto children not getting schooling required by Texas state law
ICE releases residential standards, mentions Hutto

February 2007
First media tour of Hutto
Women's Commission for Refugee Women and Children issues a report condemning certain conditions at Hutto

February 2007 photos of Hutto
March 2007
CCA makes statement to Congress about how good Hutto is
Women’s Commission for Refugee Women and Children makes statement to Congress about its concerns

April 2007
ICE describes good conditions at Hutto
Federal judge rules that ACLU is "highly likely to prevail" in its litigation alleging that ICE has abused its discretion because conditions of child detention at Hutto are not in compliance with federal law interview with ACLU-TX legal director (H/T Aunt B)

May 2007
U.N. inspector Jorge Bustamante is turned away from scheduled inspection at Hutto
U.S. says Bustamante turned away because of pending litigation with ACLU
Bustamante issues statement
Bustamante's full report writes Hutto story called "Kiddie prisons"

June 2007
Houston Chronicle blog says Hutto will never be appropriate place for children
Amnesty International urges DHS not to detain children in advance of World Refugee Day rally at Hutto

August 2007
ICE settles with ACLU over conditions at Hutto
Text of the settlement agreement
CCA says that reforms were not the result of litigation - development process "still ongoing"

October 2007
Williamson County TX officials start planning termination of Hutto contract with CCA due to liability concerns

December 2007
Movie release: T. Don Hutto: America's Family Prison
Another Hutto protest

March 2008
New Yorker story: "Lost Children"
U.S. responds to U.N. report on Hutto:
ACLU says conditions at Hutto are "greatly improved"

April 2008
ICE says Hutto is a model; ACLU wants no more children in prison

June 2008
World Refugee Day vigil at Hutto ("to protest the use of Hutto, a former prison, to detain migrants and asylum seekers, including families with children")

Nashville Scene cover story
on CCA and Hutto ("Locked and Loaded")

July 2008
Davidson County Chancellor Claudia Bonnyman rules CCA is subject to TN open records law

August 2008
CCA launches "CCA360" PR site (with a section on children at Hutto)
Matt Pulle at Nashville Scene blogs about CCA360; CCA VP of Marketing and Communications Louise Grant responds in comments and also publishes a reply post on CCA360

December 2008
Williamson County, TX votes 4-1 to renew Hutto contract
Dissenting Commissioner Birkman: "It's still a prison"
Commissioner Covey: "I haven't seen any of the things you [opponents] are talking about that endanger a child's life, because if there was, I'd be out of it"

January 2009
Austin Chronicle: "Lipstick on a Doberman"

February 2009
American Prospect: The Big Business of Family Detention says no violations of the settlement agreement have been reported; runs down Williamson County's role

March 2009
The Economist blogs Hutto and Least of These documentary (H/T T. Don Hutto blog)
AP story on Least of These documentary
Austinist interview with Least of These Directors/Producers ("We chose not to interview CCA officials because we chose to focus the film narrowly on the issue of family detention and not on the failings of CCA...")

April 2009
Bill against family detention introduced in Texas legislature, names CCA
Houston's El Dia coverage on Hutto (H/T T. Don Hutto blog)
Business of Detention gets Webby nod (H/T T. Don Hutto blog)
Father John Rausch of Stanton, KY speaks out against child detention (H/T T. Don Hutto blog)

May 2009
Maryland immigration attorney on Least of These (condemning U.S. but not CCA)

June 2009
CCA donates to LULAC - which has had favorable opinions of CCA in the past - but LULAC is returning CCA donations now because of Hutto
June 20 vigil at Hutto for World Refugee Day

Thanks to Louise Grant of CCA for the interview.

Monday, June 8, 2009

St. Mark's Episcopal to raise money for ambulance in Ecuador via Carol Ponder concert June 20

St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Antioch (Cane Ridge?) is raising money for a fire department in Montecristi, Ecuador. A fundraiser at 7pm on June 20 will feature singer Carol Ponder, with donations being directed toward the purchase of an ambulance for Montecristi. St. Mark's has previously helped donate a fire truck - see the story and photos here.

From the concert press release:
Acclaimed ballad singer Carol Ponder will present her concert “Appalachian Roots” Saturday June 20 at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church at 7:00 PM. The concert is a fundraiser for St. Mark’s companion church Santiago Apostole in La Pila Ecuador and to help purchase an ambulance for the Montecristi, Ecuador Fire Department. St. Mark’s is located at 3100 Murfreesboro Road, Antioch, TN 37013. Ticket prices are $10.00 for adults and $5.00 for students.

Noted for her interpretation of a cappella Appalachian Mountain Ballads, Carol Ponder also brings her repertoire of traditional and contemporary folk music and stories to the stage. Accompanied by guitar, Autoharp and spoons, Carol performs material that ranges from the first songs to emigrate from the British Isles to new songs written in the old style as well as stories from the Southern Mountains and her own family.

Carol released her much admired first CD Pretty Bird: A Cappella Ballads in the Southern Mountain Tradition in 1998. She followed this with the release of Little Journeys: A cappella Ballads & Folk Songs in 2000. In November of 2004, Carol released her newest CD Goin’ Across the Mountain: Songs of War and Separation, a duet album with renowned finger style guitarist John Knowles.

Carol represented the State of Tennessee with a solo concert on the Millennium Stage at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in 2000. In 2002, Carol was a featured performer at the Ulster American Folk Park in Omagh, Northern Ireland. She is also the recipient of the 2002 Tennessee Arts Commission’s Ingram Fellowship for Excellence in Vocal Music.

Come see Carol Ponder for an evening of traditional and contemporary folk music at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church on Saturday June 20 at 7:00 PM.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Latin Dance Festival at Global Education Center this weekend

The Global Education Center is hosting its Annual Latin Dance Festival this weekend, with some events at the Center itself at at 4822 Charlotte Ave., and a showcase Saturday night at the Cohn Adult Learning Center across the street. Multiple dance performances and workshops are available:
Annual Latin Dance Festival
June 5 - 7, 2009
Argentine Tango, Salsa, Afro-Cuban, Flamenco, Folkloric and Native American Dance

Cafe Latina
Friday, June 5, 2009
8:00 pm
at Global Education Center
A kick off for our annual Latin Dance Festival, the Latino Cafe is a great chance to meet the instructors who will be offering workshops throughout the weekend in Flamenco, Argentine Tango, Salsa, Salsa Rueda de Casino, Rhumba, Conga and Native American Dance.
$5 donation
Free for enrollees in our Summer Teacher Institute

Saturday, June 6
Zumba - 9:30 a.m. Studio B
Argentine Tango I - 11 a.m. Studio A
Argentine Tango II - 1 p.m. Studio A
Afro-Cuban Dance - 1 p.m. Studio B
L. A. Salsa - 3 p.m. Studio B
Native American Dance - 3 p.m. Studio A

Latino Fire
An Evening of Dance & Music from The Americas
Saturday, June 6, 2009
8:00 pm
at Cohn Adult Learning Center (across from Global Education Center)
An exciting showcase featuring:
Elena Garcia with members of Iroko Afro-Cuban Dance Theatre of Miami
Rick & Lynda Wilson of Atlanta (Tango)
Chayito Champion & Friends (Flamenco)
Larry Yazzie
as well as local salseras Gaston Vidarte, Michael Worku and Olga
$15 adults at the door
$10 advance purchase, GEC members
$10 students & seniors
$5 children under 12
Free for enrollees in our Summer Teacher Institute

Sunday, June 7
Argentine Tango III - 12 pm Studio A
Introduction to Flamenco - 2 pm Studio A*
Mexican Folkloric - 3 pm Studio A*
Cuban Salsa la Rueda de Casino - 4:30 pm Studio A
*Times of these two workshops are subject to change depending on instructors' travel schedules.
About the Global Education Center, from its web site:
GLOBAL EDUCATION CENTER was founded in 1997 by director Ellen Gilbert, an anti-bias, multicultural education specialist. In her work as an administrator, a teacher and a parent volunteer, Ellen saw a need for developing intercultural understanding and respect and for exploring ways in which to create classrooms that are safe havens for all of our children. With encouragement from educators throughout the area, she partnered with a diverse pool of artists to create lively programming that beckons all of the senses to experience the richness and beauty of different cultures, offering creative solutions to confront cultural and religious intolerance, stereotypes, misinformation, lack of information and the many negative "isms" of American society which make harmonious living difficult for many people.
Hat tip: The Tennessean

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Valentine and Saltsman offered Nolensville Road platform from which to clear their names

Media distorts Phil Valentine and Chip Saltsman, according to RNHA-TN

"Both Chip and Phil are repeatedly accused of racism"

"'Conservatives voices' that might generate ill-will to Americans, that happen to be Hispanic, as a by-product of their popular commentary on illegal immigration"

When I heard that Phil Valentine was going to be the speaker at an event hosted by the Republican National Hispanic Assembly of Tennessee, that the event was going to be at a latin music club just off of Nolensville Road, and that Chip Saltsman (tied to "Barack the Magic Negro" and "Star-Spanglish Banner") was a sponsor, I had to get more detail.

RNHA-TN President Raul Lopez was kind enough to shed some light:
Both Chip and Phil are repeatedly accused of racism because of their comments and humor on illegal immigrants. I know them both personally and have always been treated respectfully, and fairly. I’ve also heard them support “legal” immigration.

In the past, “sound bites” or portions of their commentary may have been used, out of context, to paint them as inflammatory racists, and of course, a truly masterful job has been done associating them to the whole of the Republican Party.

We want to set a stage for them to share their positions in context, and free from the editing of any advocate or journalist with an agenda.

"Hispanic leaders" should have been doing a long time ago... engaging the "conservatives voices" that might generate ill-will to Americans, that happen to be Hispanic, as a by-product of their popular commentary on illegal immigration.

Valentine and Saltsman in the pages of the Hispanic Nashville Notebook

The following are excerpts from previous stories in the Hispanic Nashville Notebook about Valentine and Saltsman.

A May 2006 story describes a remark by Valentine at so-called "De-Magnetize Tennessee" meeting:
Valentine says, "Shoot him" in response to a description of what a border agent can and can't do when apprehending an illegal immigrant. The resulting chuckles and applause indicate that the comment was Valentine's attempt at humor and that it was well received by the audience.
Reprinting a paragraph about Valentine from The Nation's August 2006 cover story on "The New Nativism":
The son of a former Democratic Congressman in North Carolina, [radio personality Phil] Valentine is a leading voice--and instigator--of Tennessee's nativist backlash. 'Wake up and smell the tacos,' Valentine likes to say, flaunting his political incorrectness. His website recently featured a full-color image of the Statue of Liberty wearing a sombrero, with a huge black mustache pasted on, a jar of salsa instead of a flame and a bottle of Patron cradled in her lower hand. Liberty rests on a tottering foundation of Chicklets, Tostitos and a Taco Bell sign."
Condemning Saltsman's distribution of a CD with the song "Star-Spanglish Banner":
Tennessee's Chip Saltsman has withdrawn his candidacy for the chairmanship of the Republican National Convention after circulating a CD which contained controversial songs, with "Barack the Magic Negro" gaining the most media attention. Another song on the CD was the "Star Spanglish Banner"...

Circulating the "Star-Spanglish Banner" song puts Saltsman on the Hispanic Nashville Notebook's list of Tennessee officials who have deliberately circulated negativity about Hispanics.

Republicans warn, apologize about negativity in discussions about illegal immigration

I've linked to Republican Leslie Sanchez's warning to her fellow conservatives multiple times before in the Hispanic Nashville Notebook:
Substantial numbers of immigrants (not to mention their children and grandchildren, too) hear attacks on "illegal" immigration as attacks on them -- so that a discussion of, say, day laborers can quickly turn into an anti-Hispanic free-for-all.
At a prayer gathering in Nashville, Republican Senator Sam Brownback asked for forgiveness for the negative tone of the immigration debate:
Brownback "[asked] a Hispanic man onstage for forgiveness for the negative tone Washington's immigration debate has taken."

"'I want to say to my Latino brothers, forgive us for that,' Brownback said. 'We want you in America. We love you and ask you to forgive us for these negative comments.'"

Event details

Here are the event details from the Tennessean (h/t Post Politics):
An invite calls for business attire and a $50 “suggested contribution” for Una Noche con Phil Valentine. The conservative talk show host will address the fact some call him racist over his stance on immigration.

The event is at 6 p.m. June 27 at Ibiza, 15128 Old Hickory Blvd.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Nashville's immigrants gather in ethnic enclaves, consolidate power, fly foreign flags - in mid-19th century

Photo by Chris Wage. Used with permission.

"Irish communities, or culturally-distinct ethnic enclaves, thrived in major cities across the South"

"The Irish of Nashville during the 1850s formed a political and military body to consolidate power, enhance social standing..."

From Irish Confederates: the Civil War's Forgotten Soldiers, by Phillip Thomas Tucker (2007):
Irish communities, or culturally-distinct ethnic enclaves, thrived in major cities across the South... As in Ireland, these neighborhoods centered around the Catholic church, and the working class Irish (mostly Catholic immigrants) lived in overcrowded boarding houses, dirty tenement slums, and rough shanty towns that were as Gaelic in cultural terms as Dublin, Cork, or Galway in Ireland. pp. 25-26

In total, the Second Tennessee Confederate Infantry was composed of seven companies of Irish soldiers. Irishmen also volunteered in large numbers in the state capital of Nashville. Like the Tenth Tennessee Infantry Regiment of Volunteers (Irish), the Fifth Tennessee Confederate Infantry "was composed almost entirely of Irishmen." p. 27

Consisting primarily of common laborers, carpenters, and artisans, the Irish of Nashville during the 1850s formed a political and military body to consolidate power, enhance social standing, and to politically oppose the anti-Irish Know-Nothing Party. The enterprising immigrants established the appropriately named St. Patrick's Club in antebellum Nashville, and proudly dubbed themselves the "Sons of Erin." This fraternal organization served as the nucleus of an Irish militia unit that was organized in April 1861 - the Tenth Tennessee Infantry Regiment of Volunteers (Irish). Randal W. McGavock became the group's commander, thanks in part to the support of the large, vibrant Irish community of Nashville. pp. 101-102

In late May 1861 at Fort Donelson, the Tenth Tennessee Infantry Regiment of Volunteers (Irish) completed its organization, forming an ethnically distinct Irish Tennessee State militia regiment. These Irishmen in gray not only spoke a blend of middle Tennessee with an Irish brogue, but also Gaelic from the old country. p. 102

These Rebels marched to war under a colorful green battle-flag, decorated with the proud words "Sons of Erin" above the gold harp of Ireland, shamrocks, and the inspiring motto "Where Glory Waits You" below the Irish harp. pp. 102-103

Sons of Erin flag,

In his book Furl That Banner: The Life of Abram J. Ryan, Poet-Priest of the South (2006), author David O'Connell describes a poem written by Abram J. Ryan and published in the Nashville Gazette on November 15, 1865:
The inspiration for "Erin's Flag" seems to have resulted from Ryan's close association with the famous Tennessee 10th, and shows that it was no mere accident that he had been asked to preach at the cathedral on the previous St. Patrick's Day. All ten of the regiment's companies, seven of which were from Nashville, had been made up of predominantly Irish immigrants or sons of Irish immigrants. They had flown the green flag of Ireland through all their campaigns, and Ryan alludes to it in the opening verses of the poem: "Unroll Erin's Flag! Fling its folds to the breeze! / Let it float o'er the land, let it flash o'er the seas." p. 65
It wasn't just the Irish who lived in cultural enclaves in Nashville. The Germans in Nashville had their own church starting at about this same time period and worshipped there in German for the next 50 years. See the Hispanic Nashville Notebook story here.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Linda Bandry: Venezuela-born country music singer

2003 release: "Como Luna"

"By releasing this country record in Spanish I feel that I am paying homage to this great country as well as to my father"

Venezuela-born country music singer Linda Bandry dropped me a line recently from her home in Florida. To learn about Linda, watch the clips above and read the bio on her web site.

“Until I was 16 years old I didn’t listen to any other kind of music and I actually thought that country music originated in Venezuela. I would wake up in the morning to the roosters crowing and the beautiful melody of Patsy Montana’s “Cowboy’s Sweetheart.”

Her father, Elias Bandry, was fascinated by bluegrass music and one day asked her to make Spanish versions of his favorites songs so that he could understand them. “By doing this, I realized that I could write my own songs, and Daddy loved hearing me sing them.”

At just 8 years old, Linda joined 5 other girls in a singing group called the “Super Youngs”. They sang Linda’s songs and even some of Dolly Parton’s and Kenny Rogers’ songs everywhere and anywhere they could.
Linda arrived in the United States in 1998, and her primary goal was to record an album of original country songs in Spanish. With God’s grace, help from Najib Seguias and the talent of her friend, guitarist and producer Ed Gonzalez, her dream came true in May of 2003. Among the musicians integral to the album entitled “COMO LUNA” (Like the Moon), are Alan Kendall (Pedal Steel), David Scully (Guitars) and John Lengel (Drums).

“Only those who live and love country music can actually convey the nuances specific to the genre.” “By releasing this country record in Spanish I feel that I am paying homage to this great country as well as to my father.”
Read more in the full bio here.
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