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Activist Songbook


a song cycle by Byron Au Yong & Aaron Jafferis

commissioned by Asian Arts Initiative & International Festival of Arts & Ideas

Activist Songbook is an ongoing community-collaborative intervention creating 53 new raps and songs to energize and support individuals and movements fighting hate crimes. Composer Byron Au Yong and lyricist Aaron Jafferis interview Asian American activists, immigrants and refugees, asking:


What are the sounds your movement needs that do not yet exist?


How can we work together to create these songs?


Activist Songbook transforms activists’ stories into material and templates for communities to use in marches, meetings, rallies, and more. These pieces spread via interactive performances at activist events, zine scores, music videos, an online Activist Songbook platform, and a live theatrical performance.


Prompted by the 1980’s Asian American Movement responses to the racially-motivated murder of Vincent Chin, Activist Songbook bridges geography and time by exploring links between this movement and contemporary movements – from students organizing to end interracial violence in schools, to immigrants preparing for ICE raids, to elders fighting off gentrification in Chinatown.

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