Indian American singer revives George Perkins’ civil rights anthem

Washington, Feb 14 (IANS) Indian American singer Zeshan Bagewadi has repurposed George Perkinss 1970 song “Cryin in the streets” as a song for todays civil rights struggles, an American radio network reported.

The original song was based on an observation of the Martin Luther King Jr’s funeral, but Bagewadi echoed it as the reflection of his own experiences as a Muslim and Indian American.

“I see somebody marching in the street. I see somebody crying in the street. I see somebody dying in the street.’ [I was] struck… how simple it was, how poignant it was,” Bagewadi told Public Radio International (PRI) reported.

“What needs to be done here is simple. Muslims need to ally ourselves with those who have paved a path for us and who has been on the front line of the struggles. So we need to appropriate their struggle. We need to appropriate the pain,” Bagewadi said.

Bagewadi was born to Indian Muslim parents in Chicago. His father was a journalist, one of the few in India to cover the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s and 70s, American Bazaar Online reported on Tuesday.

“My father was always drawn to the black artistic expressions and read Lanston Hughes, Zora Hurston,” Bagewadi added.

“You listen to Curtis Mayfield sing ‘people get ready, there’s a train a comin.’ You listen to Mahalia Jackson singing ‘Joshua Fit The Battle of Jericho.’ If that doesn’t galvanise you, I don’t know what will,” he said.

Music has more power than mere words, he added.

–IANS

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