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Volume 15, Number 1
January 10, 2008


Also in this section:
Photography, José Ponce's urban scenes
Panama Jazz Festival schedule
Sparky the Wonder Dog
Poets' Corner
More muñeco photos
Music videos, An online inauguration concert

DJ EJ's Online
Inauguration Day
Video Concert

by Eric Jackson but mostly et al

Like so many of the people who supported Barack Obama for president, I have received multiple emails urging me to attend this or that event in Washington on Inauguration Day. It's going to be a huge celebration with concerts and balls and receptions and banquets all over town, and afterwards I wouldn't be surprised if Obama is allowed to skip the usual requirements and be made patron saint of the DC-Maryland-Virginia hotel industry. But I won't be able to make it.

In fact, Obama carried Panama and the Americas --- ran Republicans Abroad off the field and got Americans in this part of the world to cast their absentee ballots in record numbers for last November's elections. It would not be at all surprising if it turns out that Al Franken rather than Norm Coleman is the senator from Minnesota due to the votes of Americans living abroad. And most of us won't be able to make it to DC for the party.

Fear not! Celebrate where you are!

I don't have my radio show anymore, but stay tuned for an announcement about this reporter getting on the air again. Wappin? Well, the announcement will be something else, but right now DJ EJ is back to bring you a selection of videos, a lot of them of the green fur moldy oldie variety, that were selected to be The Panama News Online Inauguration Day Concert.

Everything is not American here. For one thing, this is The Panama News and DJ EJ is a member of Democrats Abroad - Panama. Panama is a Latin American country that forms part of the Caribbean littoral and has a substantial population of West Indian origin. Democrats Abroad is an organization of Americans all over the world. The United States has people from all over the world, some of them naturalized as US citizens and some of them not. People all over the world cheered the Obama victory, viewing it as a matter of an old friend fallen under bad influences finally regaining its senses. So if we have the Englishman Ringo Starr singing "With a Little Help From My Friends," take it as a sign that the USA is going to have more and more helpful friends in the world. If Edmar Castañeda happens to be Colombian, listen to him play, know that he lives in New York and realize what it means for a country to be an attraction for such talented Latin Americans. Listen to Grupo Tuira and take it as an offering of Panamanian culture to Barack Obama (and you) from friends in Panama. Listen to Peter Tosh and feel irie, and know that the pain America feels right now has been faced by many other people in many other places and still, there are always messages of hope amidst the ruins. Listen to Randy Weston, a New Yorker with Panamanian roots, and Carlos Santana, a Californian with Mexican roots, team up with their bands and leave you astounded with the sounds they make.

So much of this concert, though, is specifically American. Bruce Springsteen starts off with a Woody Guthrie anthem and John Mellencamp ends with a more modern song in the same tradition. These corporations that claim to own America and the world, and these right-wing jerks who claim that only those who share their benighted exclusionary world view are "real Americans," are leaving power as of this inauguration, and We The People are having a patriotic celebration.

Is Barack Obama the first black president? By American traditions, I suppose he is. He's the son of a white American mother and a black Kenyan father, raised partly in Asia and partly in Hawaii (there largely by his white grandparents), educated in New York and Boston and arisen to prominence by way of Chicago.

It wouldn't have happened without the civil rights movement, two of whose anthems are performed by the Chambers Brothers and Mavis Staples respectively. It also wouldn't have happened had antiwar voters --- folks influenced by ideas like those expressed herein by Edwin Starr and the Dixie Chicks --- not flocked to the Obama campaign in the primaries and caucuses. Like Cyndi Lauper, we're tired of all the fakery and have an appreciation for true colors. We're glad to be emerging from a dark age, and if Robbie Robertson is singing about shining a light in another context, we also appreciate the more sympathetic view of working people that shines through in his video.

What, a president who grew up in Hawaii and no surf music? Wouldn't think of such a thing --- in fact, Dick Dale is the guy who invented the surf guitar sound. But of course, rock and roll is not the only way to astound with an electric guitar. See the Luther Allison (blues) and Stanley Jordan (jazz) videos and see what I mean. But then the introductory guitar duet on Lou Reed's video is considered by many critics to be the greatest rock guitar performance of all time.

We're celebrating the inauguration of a Chicago politician as president? Probably most of you never heard of the late Chicago blueswoman Valerie Wellington. Learn about her now and get your mojo working. You will be at a big disadvantage these coming years if your mojo is dysfunctional.

As Dan Quayle would know, it's a terrible thing to have no soul. That's not a problem here. Aretha Franklin, the great Motor City talent of her generation that Motown never signed, commands respect. Her elders, the late David Ruffin and the late Eddie Kendricks, also represent the soul music tradition herein.

Beautiful female voices? You mean, other than those alluded to above? Check. Emmylou Harris and Linda Rondstadt take us across the border. Tracy Chapman warns us about across the lines, on whichever side you may be caught. Bush should have taken the title of Natalie Merchant's piece herein as literal advice before that storm hit New Orleans.

And now that our main man is taking over the reins of government, just what is it that we want him to do? Laura Nyro had the general idea.

Bruce Springsteen --- This Land is Your Land

Chambers Brothers --- People Get Ready

Aretha Franklin --- Respect

Emmylou Harris & Linda Ronstadt --- Across the Border

Grupo Tuira --- La Rosa de los Vientos

Edmar Castañeda --- Jazz Harp Solo

Peter Tosh --- The Day the Dollar Die

Randy Weston's African Rhythms Trio --- Blue Moses

Santana --- Soul Sacrifice

Ringo Starr et al --- With a Little Help From My Friends

Cyndi Lauper --- True Colors

David Ruffin & Eddie Kendricks --- My Girl

Dick Dale --- Ghostriders in the Sky

Robbie Robertson --- Shine Your Light (Ladder 49)

Dixie Chicks --- Not Ready to Make Nice

Edwin Starr --- War

Natalie Merchant --- Build a Levee

Valerie Wellington --- Chicago Blues

Lou Reed --- Sweet Jane

Luther Allison --- A Change Must Come

Stanley Jordan --- Now's the Time

Tracy Chapman --- Across the Lines

Mavis Staples --- Eyes on the Prize

Laura Nyro --- Save the Country

John Mellencamp --- Our Country

Also in this section:
Photography, José Ponce's urban scenes
Panama Jazz Festival schedule
Sparky the Wonder Dog
Poets' Corner
More muñeco photos
Music videos, An online inauguration concert

Make the Executive Hotel your headquarters in Panama City ---
Find the boat of your dreams through Evermarine ---

© 2008 by Eric Jackson
All Rights Reserved - Todos Derechos Reservados
Individual contributors retain the rights to their articles or photos

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Eric Jackson
att'n The Panama News
Apartado 0831-00927 Estafeta Paitilla
Panamá, República de Panamá