Che Apalache, a powerhouse roots group who blend Latin and American influences, first popped up on our radar last summer with the release of their moving song “The Dreamer,” a Latin/bluegrass mash-up (or “Latingrass,” as they refer to it) based on the true story of a DACA recipient living in North Carolina, where frontman Joe Troop grew up. That recipient is Moises Serrano, now an activist and speaker, who was born in Mexico and brought to the U.S. as an infant.
The video for “The Dreamer,” which you can watch below, interweaves Serrano’s story with others of North Carolinian immigrants whose families have been torn apart due to deportation. The song was already a beautiful, empathetic protest tune, but the video is a must-watch, too. It features real-life families, a chilling visual when paired with lines from the song like, “An immigrant child must face a life where dreaming is forgiven.”
“When this project came my way, not participating was never really an option,” said director Matt Durning. “For so many of us in the North Carolina film community, this project was an opportunity to use our craft to give back—to hopefully open some hearts and minds and help overcome the intense culture of intolerance that continues to threaten and damage so many of our friends and neighbors all across the south. This project was unequivocally a labor of love.”
Troop also sounded off about the filmmaking process and immigration reform, just ahead of the Supreme Court’s imminent ruling on the fate of DACA “Dreamers,” which will take place on Nov. 12.
“We hope this video will draw attention to the harsh realities faced by Latin American Immigrants in North Carolina,” Troop said. “It is time for us all to stand up for their right to safety and well-being.”
And, finally, Moises himself chimed in:
The song, “The Dreamer,” is for the over one million undocumented youth and DACA recipients who have had to grow up learning how to live and love in a country that is actively trying to deport them. The music video, The Dreamer is for the millions of undocumented and immigrant families affected by our racist immigration laws. As ICE and DHS continue to tear families apart and cage immigrants with impunity, it is time for Americans to decide what kind of legacy they wish to leave behind. As an immigrant child I pledged allegiance to the American flag every day, is it not time now for America to pledge its allegiance to us?
If you feel moved to support undocumented immigrants in North Carolina, the band has asked that donations be made to the following organizations who are working within the state to help: siembranc.org, episcopalfarmworkministry.org and cimawnc.org.
Che Apalache’s new album Rearrange My Heart is out now on Free Dirt Records. Watch “The Dreamer” video below and keep scrolling to watch Che Apalache’s recent Paste Studio session, which includes a live performance of “The Dreamer.”
This Band Blends Bluegrass and Latin Roots Music to Poeticize Protest