Introducing Jamaica Songstress: Naomi Cowan

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Sometimes it only takes one song to hook your interest into a new artist before further researching their background and appreciating their depth. That was the case when we heard “Paradise Plum” by an unknown artist out of Kingston, Jamaica who goes by the name Naomi Cowan.

Listen: Naomi Cowan – “Paradise Plum”

“Growing up I always loved to perform and use my voice,” Naomi tells The Pier. “When I was a kid, I was always doing one of two things; I was either singing and dancing in front of a mirror, or I was holding up a brush as if it was a microphone presenting music awards to the mirror or pretending I was on my own cooking show.”

Naomi grew up in a music household where her mother, Dr. Carlene Davis-Cowan, was an international reggae singer community builder. Her father, Tommy Cowan, was the founding member of a rocksteady quartet from the 1960’s called The Jamaicans and was later a tour manager for Bob Marley.

Naomi tells The Pier of her father: “He’s a strong songwriter and his catalog is quite extensive as a producer. He produced Jacob Miller, Inner Circle, Ras Michael’s first album. In the 80’s the 90’s he was one of the lead producers of Reggae Sunsplash which was a worldwide tour; they went to Japan, PhotoNaomiPromoPic_Leopard1Europe and all throughout the states. He was also the marketing manager for Tuff Gong and helped Bob (Marley) to establish Tuff Gong as a record label.”

It can be difficult and intimidating to pursue a field that saw so much success for your parents while maintaining your own identity. After High School, it was important for Naomi to make a statement of her own where she later pursued media production in college. She would find herself on television working both behind scenes and in the spotlight. “Because I grew up around music, it wasn’t as attractive to me as music might be to many people. And then on top of that, I was afraid too. Out of High School, I decided I wanted to do media instead and it sounded more feasible.”

Naomi admits that she is most herself while singing, even though she may have suppressed her musical side for several years. Pursuing media production and broadcasting was Naomi’s way of finding her identity that eventually led her back to where she feels at home with singing and writing music.

Naomi didn’t officially pursue a music career until 2017 when she released her rocksteady cover tribute of “Things You Say You Love.” Her dad originally wrote the song 50 years prior while performing in The Jamaicans. The production on Naomi’s version was done by Mark Pelli of Magic!, and the last time the song was covered was in 2004 by UB40.

2018 is expected to be a catalyst year for the emerging artist following the release of “Paradise Plum,” a bass driven reggae cross-over track showcasing her balance of a “bad gyal in the verse and lady on the chorus.” The song was produced by Zinc Fence Records producer Teflon, best known for his work with Chronixx.

“It’s so funny how you call it reggae-crossover because Mike, I kid you not, the file I have of that ‘Paradise Plum’ MP3 that Teflon sent over says ‘Reggae-Crossover-Dub,’ so you hit the nail on the head! My songs moving forward are definitely going to be more of that reggae-crossover vibe. Fresh sounding reggae, keeping the vocals very beautiful, catchy and poppy. ‘Paradise Plum’ is a great way to describe what my new music will sound like.”

Naomi plans to accompany her “Paradise Plum” single with a music video, followed by a mix-tape that is set to feature some special guest appearances. She has building momentum with mounting interest from producers and artists wanting to work with the now active songwriter who plans to make a splash following her first original reggae single. Stay tuned for more updates as we plan to follow her closely.

Listen: Naomi Cowan – “Things You Say You Love” (The Jamaicans Cover)

Related Links:
“Paradise Plum” Purchase/Stream
Naomi Cowan Facebook
Naomi Cowan Twitter

Article By: Mike Patti

This entry was posted on Wednesday, June 20th, 2018 at 12:27 am and is filed under Daily News.
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New Ska Documentary: ‘Pick It Up!’ Set for Spring 2019 Release

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With over 100+ hours of recorded interviews and thousands of miles traveled, filmmaker Taylor Morden and his crew are working toward releasing Pick It Up! a documentary on 1990’s ska, in April of 2019.

Morden has already interviewed members of Fishbone, The Specials, Skatalites, Less Than Jake, No Doubt, Sublime, Save Ferris, Reel Big Fish, Goldfinger, Mad Caddies, and many more in preparation for the story. Morden has even interviewed a handful of Japanese ska bands, where the genre flourished long after its main-steam popularity in the US fizzled out.

Although the focus will be the “third wave,” the documentary is set to cover all of ska’s history, starting where it developed: 1960’s Jamaica. It will include the rise of two-tone in English cities through the 1980s, and culminate with an extensive and comprehensive analysis of the third wave. Pick It Up! will strive to “tell this story as accurately as possible, from as many points of view as possible.” Pickitup-poster2

Taylor Morden described his first path to music as “geeky,” growing up playing in the school band. As a middle school trumpet player, he always felt there was a divide between the music he could play on his instrument and the punk rock he and his friends listened to. His worlds came together when his friend let him borrow Upbeats and Beatdowns on cassette, the 1997 album from Christian ska band 5 Iron Frenzy, whom are also featured in the film.

Morden said this to The Pier about first hearing the album: “I was hearing people play these school band instruments, trombones, trumpets, and saxophones, in an entirely new way. I was 16-years-old at this point and it just blew my mind. From there, the next thing I heard was the self-titled No Doubt album, which also has a ton of horns on it. It was exponential from there; I was listening to anything I could get my hands on that was ska or ska-punk.”

From there, Morden went on to not only follow ska, but to play in the scene as well. After playing trumpet in a few local bands, Morden went on to join Pocketface, who saw mid-level fame in the thriving Japanese ska scene in the early 2000s. In the band, he met Rei Mastrogiovanni, who is the producer of Pick It Up!. The duo had the idea for the documentary in the fall of 2017 and have been hard at work ever since.

They started in Los Angeles, interviewing Darrin Pfeiffer, founding member and long-time drummer of Goldfinger. While in LA, the filmmakers also caught up with Miguel Happoldt of Sublime and Monique Powell of Save Ferris. From there they went north, catching up with Mike Park of Asian Man Records and Skankin’ Pickle, and Karina Deniké of the Dance Hall Crashers in San Francisco, and Steve Perry of Cherry Poppin’ Daddies in Portland, Oregon. From there, their network has only grown, as each artist, manager, and promoter has sent them in a new direction to more people crucial to the scene.
In addition to those mentioned above, Morden told The Pier two essential pieces of assembling the Pick It Up! puzzle have been Robert “Bucket” Hingley of The Toasters and Moon Ska Records and Christian Jacobs, or the M.C. Bat Commander, of Orange County ska band The Aquabats.

The project seems to have been timed perfectly, with a sudden resurgence of ska happening right now in 2018. In June alone, new albums from The Mighty Mighty Bosstones, The Mad Caddies, The English Beat, and third wave-newcomers The Interrupters were released or are still awaiting release.

In true DIY fashion, Pick It Up! will only be possible if funding allows. The film’s Kickstarter is aiming for $40,000 by late July 2018, a goal they are nearing closer to each day. Be sure to read more and donate to bring this Documentary to life by clicking HERE!

Follow The Pier for more on Pick It Up! as they enter the development and editing stages this summer.

Related Links:
Pick It Up! Kickstarter and Trailer
Pick It Up! Instagram: @SkaMovie
Pick It Up! Facebook

Article by: Aidan Leddy

Listen: Five Iron Frenzy – “Upbeats and Beatdowns”

This entry was posted on Tuesday, June 19th, 2018 at 3:14 pm and is filed under Daily News, Sublime.
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Pitbull joins Buffett on stage at ‘Escape To Margaritaville’

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From “Pitbull Surprises Fans at Jimmy Buffett’s ‘Escape To Margaritaville’ on Broadway”

Pitbull surprised fans at Jimmy Buffet’s musical Escape To Margaritaville on Broadway in New York City on Friday night! During the musical’s encore Mr. Worldwide took the stage to join Buffett and the cast singing his classic hit “Margaritaville” (he took off his shoes and sang and danced along).


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Nattali Rize Discusses Her First U.S. Headlining Tour

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The global rise of Ms. Nattali Rize continues with her first US headlining tour taking place in California with dates around her performance at Sierra Nevada World Music Festival, June 22-24th, 2018.

Previously a co-founder and focal point of the Australian roots reggae group Blue King Brown, Nattali Rize went solo in 2015 and is now the front woman leading a five-piece international live band from Jamaica and Australia. This is a global mash up of raw energy that has been rocking stages, touring across several continents throughout the process of crafting following the release of her debut record, 2017’s Rebel Frequency.

As heard in her music, Nattali Rize uses her voice and platform for the global shift toward Full Freedom and the movement of Truth and Justice over the systemic exploitation of the people and planet.NR_calirizing_insta_alldates_01

The California Rizing Tour; Mission 1 starts June 20th in Los Angeles, CA at the Sol Venue. Other cities will include San Luis Obispo, Sacramento, Santa Cruz and Santa Barbara with direct support from Jamaica songstress Kelissa.

“Kelissa is great, we been working on a song together,” Nattali shares. “She’s one of the great, new generation artists out of Jamaica making great music. It feels good having a sister come on tour and having that strength within our genre and scene where its mostly male artists out there. The whole planets consciousness is shifting towards really recognizing that divine feminine energy that is coming forward and you’re going to see more of that connection and collaboration.”

With this being Rize’s first U.S. headlining tour, she wanted Mission 1 to take place in California, telling The Pier: “We found that California has been one of those places that has such a great love and support and energy around reggae music that you don’t see anywhere on the planet. If there’s a Mission 1, then there could be a Mission 2, Mission 3, 4 and 5. This is just the start.”

As for other parts of the world, Nattali tells The Pier: “In Australia, reggae music isn’t as big. In Europe it seems like people have a really deep understanding of Jamaican reggae, from the old-school days right to today and now–They’re very tuned into all of that. As far as the newer stuff goes, I feel like America is starting to really tune into whats coming out of Jamaica. It’s important to do that because Jamaica is where Reggae music has come from and we have to acknowledge the impact that this tiny island has had on the planet.”

Wherever the next Mission takes her around the world, if you’re in California you can experience Mission 1 when she hits the road with Kelissa. Stay tuned for more updates regarding new music.

Watch: Nattali Rize – “One People”

Related Links:
Nattali Rize Website
Nattali Rize Facebook
Nattali Rize Twitter

Article By: Mike Patti

Watch: Nattali Rize – “Warriors”

This entry was posted on Friday, June 15th, 2018 at 1:27 pm and is filed under Daily News.
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11 Fabulous Fathers with Fins

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Parenting can be tough. You can often find yourself sacrificing for your children in order to keep them happy and safe. Fathers play a special role in raising children. They make us feel safe, teach us how to survive and always ready to cheer us up with laughter. These qualities make us all appreciate our fathers here on land—and under the sea is not so different. As fathers of the sea, many fish and marine mammals strive to show off their skills as daring—and doting—dads!

Emperor penguin

Penguins - Media PressPenguins - Media Press
© Media Press

While Emperor penguins have flippers instead of fins, they’re still considered one of the most popular fathers of the sea. During the early months of the year in Antarctica, male penguins fatten up to prepare for their long challenge in March. After a female Emperor penguin lays her egg, the father must protect the egg while she leaves to hunt. For four months, he must hold the egg between the tops of his feet and brooding pouch to keep it warm, enduring harsh temperatures and lack of food. Talk about dedication!


Father Seahorse - Allwetterzoo MunsterFather Seahorse - Allwetterzoo Munster
© Allwetterzoo Münster

Seahorses are another popular father. They’re a rarity in the animal kingdom because the male carries the babies. After a courtship dance, which can last as long as eight hours, the female seahorse deposits eggs in the male’s stomach pouch and which are then fertilized by the male. The male can carry as many as 2,000 eggs in one pregnancy!

Sand goby

Sand Goby - Public DomainSand Goby - Public Domain
© Public Domain

The sand goby is a type of ray-finned fish found in the muddy or sandy waters off Europe’s coast and is another example of gender norm reversal. After the female lays her eggs, she takes off, leaving the male goby solely responsible for ensuring the safety of their eggs.


Arowana - Emily VoigtArowana - Emily Voigt
© Emily Voigt

Arowanas, a freshwater fish found in Africa, India, and Australia, are what is known as “mouthbrooders.” After a female arowana has laid her eggs, the male scoops them all up into his mouth until they hatch. Hatched eggs are called “fry” and the father slowly acclimates them to their surroundings, letting them explore and signaling them to return when there is danger. The father has to be very careful, however—if he is startled, he can accidentally swallow some of the young!


Pipefish - Aaron DownPipefish - Aaron Down
© Aaron Down

Found widely throughout the Pacific Ocean, pipefish are another exemplary father that take on a similar role to the male seahorse. Pipefish live in seagrass beds of tropical waters and have great camouflage to match the seagrass blades. Like the seahorse, the male carries the young in his brooding pouch and keeps them nourished until they are ready to hatch.

Hardhead catfish

Catfish - Catfish LeagueCatfish - Catfish League
© Catfish League

The hardhead catfish is another great father found in North American waters. They are also  mouthbrooders and can carry up to 48 marble-sized eggs. Since females produce fewer eggs than most fish, males had to adapt in order to protect their eggs in the open ocean. During the 60 days that it takes for the eggs to develop and hatch, the father completely staves off food.

Siamese fighting fish

Siamese Fighting Fish - PDSiamese Fighting Fish - PD
© Public Domain

Siamese fighting fish, also known as bettas, got their name for their intense fatherly instinct. Male bettas build a nest of floating bubbles, coating each one with saliva so they won’t pop, for the female’s eggs. The male fights off everything—including the mother—to ensure the safety of the eggs. One might say he’s more than a little overprotective. The incubation period is short, however, with the eggs hatching after 24 to 36 hours. The male continues to protect the newborns until they are ready to survive on their own.


CardinalFish - Debi HenshawCardinalFish - Debi Henshaw
© Debi Henshaw

Cardinalfish are the last mouthbrooders on our list. They are only found in the tropical waters off the coast of the Banggai Archipelago, a group of islands in Indonesia. Unlike other mouthbrooders, the females release an egg mass close to the male which the male then fertilizes before taking them into his mouth. During the incubation period, the male sometimes open his mouth to rotate the eggs, keeping them clean and ensuring they have enough oxygen.

Sea spider

Sea Spider - Alexander SemenovSea Spider - Alexander Semenov
© Alexander Semenov

Surprisingly, Sea spiders are dutiful fathers that can be found all over the world. After fertilizing a female’s eggs, the male collects them all and secretes a substance to attach them to one of his appendages called an oviger. He carries the eggs with him until they hatch and are able to survive on their own.


Lumpsucker - E. Pringle:D. YoungLumpsucker - E. Pringle:D. Young
© D. Young

Found in the cold waters of the Arctic, North Atlantic and Pacific oceans, the lumpsucker is our most adorable dad. In order to attract females, male lumpsuckers build nests to show off their great parenting skills! Once a female selects his nest, she will lay up to 350,000 eggs and then return to her independent lifestyle. The male lumpsucker then fertilizes the eggs and protects them from predators and keeps them well oxygenated during their four to eight week incubation period.


Clownfish - David DoubiletClownfish - David Doubilet
© David Doubilet

Our final father figure has even had a movie dedicated to his resilient parenting instincts. The clownfish is a careful caretaker, fanning the water to give his eggs oxygen and keeping them clean. Their paternal instincts are so strong that even a bachelor clownfish will care for eggs from a different nest.

Regardless of whether they’re losing sleep over an energetic newborn or facing freezing temperatures to keep their egg warm, fathers of both land and sea deserve our thanks and appreciation this Father’s Day.

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Album Premiere: Mad Caddies – Punk Rocksteady

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Tomorrow, Mad Caddies will release their new album, Punk Rocksteady via Fat Wreck Chords. The record is a cover album with Rocksteady versions of 12 classic punk-rock songs. Before that album is made available to the world, you can stream it in its entirety, exclusively at The Pier.

Mad Caddies is a 6-piece punky reggae-ska band from Santa Barbara, CA that have been playing under the name since 1995. For more than 20 years, Mad Caddies have created original material with 6 studio records, a couple of EPs and Live albums. On June 15th, they will add a cover-album to their repertoire with the 12 track Punk Rocksteady record that shows the band re-framing the past 40 years of punk history into a lighter tone of new perspective.

The album was recorded entirely at Motor Studios in San Francisco, CA, under the “spiritual guidance” of NOFX’s Fat Mike. It includes covers of songs by Misfits, Descendents, Operation Ivy, Propagandhi, Bad Religion, Green Day, Against Me!, Snuff, Lagwagon, Bracket, and No Use For A Name.

Album Premiere: Mad Caddies – Punk Rocksteady (Full Album Stream)

We had a fantastic interview with the band as they discussed the concept album in detail, including the addition of guest appearances by Aimee Interrupter of The Interrupters, Joshua Waters Rudge of The Skints, Jon Asher of The Expanders as well as Fat Mike — You can read the full interview by clicking HERE!

Own Your Copy By Clicking HERE!

Mad Caddies – Punk Rocksteady Track List:
MadCaddies_PunkRockSteady1.) Sorrow [Bad Religion Cover]
2.) Sleep Long (ft. Aimee Interrupter Joshua Waters-Rudge) [Operation Ivy Cover]
3.) She [Green Day Cover]
4.) …And We Thought That Nation-States Were a Bad Idea [Propagandhi Cover]
5.) She’s Gone (ft. Aimee Interrupter) [NOFX Cover]
6.) AM [No Use For A Name Cover]
7.) Alien 8 [Lagwagon Cover]
8.) 2RAK005 [Bracket Cover]
9.) Some Kinda Hate [The Misfits Cover]
10.) Sink, Florida, Sink [Against Me! Cover]
11.) Jean Is Dead [Descendents Cover]
12.) Take Me Home (Piss Off) [Snuff Cover]

Related Links:
Fat Wreck Chords Website
Mad Caddies Website
Mad Caddies Facebook

Article By: Mike Patti

This entry was posted on Thursday, June 14th, 2018 at 10:58 am and is filed under Daily News.
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Video: Ted Bowne of Passafire – “Roller Skates” (Steel Pulse Cover)

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The Pier is honored to publish Passafire’s Ted Bowne covering “Roller Skates” by Steel Pulse. We’ve noticed Ted has been posting a lot of awesome music videos and covers. We reached out asking if we could premiere one of his videos and sent us the video you see below. We used this as an opportunity to catch up with Ted for an update on Passafire, his new recording studio in St. Pete, FL called The Lizard Lodge and more! Read our full interview with Ted by clicking HERE! Enjoy the song and video…

This entry was posted on Thursday, June 14th, 2018 at 8:34 am and is filed under Daily News.
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Cleanup the Don

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This blog post was written by Lisa Erdle and Kennedy Bucci, Ph.D. students in the Rochman Lab at the University of Toronto.

On May 6th, 2018, we led our first annual Cleanup the Don inland coastal cleanup to remove trash along the Don River, keep trash out of Lake Ontario and raise awareness about the issue of plastic pollution. Students and researchers from the University of Toronto joined forces with the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup, the International Coastal Cleanup and Paddle the Don, an annual event organized by the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA) where local residents can canoe and kayak down the Don River.

The Don River is Toronto’s most urbanized watershed and is widely enjoyed by citizens and tourists alike. On any given day, one can see a wide variety of activities in the expanse of parkland in the ravines around the Don River. Cyclists, walkers, runners, anglers and others use the trails alongside the river, which is located a short walk from Toronto’s downtown core. But, it is also a river with plastic pollution throughout.

© Cole Brookson

At six locations, spanning over 10km of the Don River, teams collected 210 kg of trash, nearly half of which was recycled. Volunteers found many common items such as plastic packaging, coffee cups, plastic bottles and plastic bags. However, we were surprised to find a few unusual items like a vacuum cleaner, a toboggan and Venetian blinds! By number, cigarette butts were the most common item collected during the cleanup, and nearly 2000 were sent to be recycled. Despite their small size, they can be particularly harmful in the environment due to the toxic chemicals they contain.

While some pollution may originate from park-goers, wind and rain also carry plastic debris from land into rivers, lakes and oceans. And piece by piece, the pollution adds up.

Scientists estimate that between 4.8 to 12.7 million metric tons of plastic enter the ocean from land every year due to mismanaged waste. Plastic can also enter the environment as microplastic—small plastic less than 5mm in size. Canada is taking steps through the microbead ban, which will eliminate microbeads in personal care products (like toothpaste and facewash) as of July 1, 2018. However, policy does not yet address other sources of microplastics, such as microfibers that shed from textiles or synthetic rubber dust from tires.

This year Canada holds the presidency of the G7. As part of its efforts to protect our oceans, Canada has indicated its intentions to support international policy for a zero-plastics-waste charter. At the national level, Canadians have recognized work is also needed to address single-use plastic, increase recycled content in plastic products, and to increase the national recycling rate.

There are many ways we are working to tackle the plastic pollution problem, and we encourage others to do the same:

  1. Avoid single-use plastic items: Using environmentally-friendly items such as stainless steel or glass straws and reusable water bottles, shopping bags and utensils, can help divert waste from landfills and the environment.
  2. Improve recycling at home: By learning better recycling habits, we can prevent recyclable products from ending up in a landfill. While the list of “recyclables” varies depending on where you live, there are often resources available to help. Where we live, the City of Toronto’s Waste Wizard identifies the proper bin to put your waste.
  3. Get involved in your community: Joining a cleanup in your area, (or leading one!) can help reduce plastic in the environment. The Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup and International Coastal Cleanup have resources to help organize cleanups, as well as track and report data.

As we continue to lead cleanups, we are hoping to gain valuable information to answer questions such as: Do patterns of waste change over time? Will accumulation of litter in the Don River decrease as “waste literacy” in this watershed improves? We also hope that the data we collect can help provide a better estimation of plastic sources and increase scientific knowledge to inform effective policies to prevent further plastic pollution.

There is still a long way ahead to achieve zero-plastic-waste in our city and others, but our first cleanup showed us that the people care about the plastics problem and are willing to help. Over the next year, we have exciting plans to reduce waste entering Lake Ontario and increase waste literacy in our city. We look forward to seeing you out there!

Keep an eye out for future cleanups and activities from the University of Toronto Trash Team by following the Rochman Lab on Twitter. And follow Lisa and Kennedy on twitter to see more about their research.

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Buffett to appear on Kenny Chesney’s new album

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From ABC: “Jimmy Buffett, Ziggy Marley and more lend their voices to Kenny Chesney’s “Songs for the Saints

Jimmy Buffett recreates his 1974 classic, “Trying to Reason with Hurricane Season,” on Kenny Chesney’s new album, Songs for the Saints. It’s a fitting choice, since Kenny wrote and recorded the project after Hurricane Irma devastated his home-away-from-home, the Virgin Islands. The superstar from East Tennessee will also donate all the money he makes from the album to recovery efforts.

The legendary “Margaritaville” singer is just one of several high-profile guests on Kenny’s new album, including reggae legend Ziggy Marley and Americana star Mindy Smith.

“Each one of them has a tie to my life in the islands, but also reflect some piece of what we’re trying to do,” Kenny explains. “Ziggy Marley, and his family’s legacy, holds so much truth for all of the people I know down there. Mindy Smith’s Come To Jesus was an album I lived with from morning to night when I was first going down there — and her voice sounds like an angel.”

“And Jimmy,” he adds, “more than the lost shaker of salt, understands the poetry of the islands beyond what tourists see — the life — in a way that made a song written decades ago so current. I’m honored they also want to help.”

Songs for the Saints was recorded mainly in Nashville and mixed in Key West, Florida.


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Protecting Treaty Trust Resource for Future Generations

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As a RAY Marine Conservation Diversity Fellow, I help coordinate and grow the International Alliance to Combat Ocean Acidification (OA Alliance), a coalition of leaders developing on-the-ground solutions for challenges facing our ocean. Most days, I’m on the phone at my desk in Washington, DC with people from all around the world discussing how to protect coastal communities from the impacts of ocean acidification. Today, however, I’m back in my rainy hometown of Olympia, Washington to meet an OA Alliance member in person and learn about why this work matters.

Combating ocean acidification starts at home, with dedicated individuals rolling up their sleeves to take action. The Nisqually Tribe of Western Washington is an engaged member of the OA Alliance, focused on climate resiliency, action, education and outreach at a local and national level. Maggie Sanders, their OA Alliance representative shares with me how ocean acidification impacts their treaty trust resources, culture and community.

The ocean is important to the community because water is life. It’s a part of our culture and a part of our life, since time immemorial,” Maggie tells me. Tribes have a long history of living off the natural resources of this land. However, with the arrival of Europeans and the creation of the United States, traditional tribal life was drastically altered. Treaties between the United States and tribes were used to remove them from their land and relocate them to reservations.

Five treaties were negotiated in Western Washington between 1854 and 1855. Tribes agreed to move as long as their right to fish, hunt and gather in their traditional places was upheld. Early on, when the treaties were first implemented, fish and other seafood were plentiful and rights were easily maintained. However, as more people moved to Washington, environmental degradation increased and non-native commercial fisheries became more prevalent, resulting in depleted fish stocks. Tribes were wrongfully blamed for the disappearance of fish and the state began arresting them for fishing off-reservation despite their right to do so being outlined in the treaties. These arrests were unlawful because treaties hold a constitutional weight that surpasses state law.

In the face of low fish stocks, non-native commercial fishing continued to increase and fewer and fewer fish were returning to Washington rivers, making it impossible for tribes to observe their treaty rights. In an effort to raise awareness of their unjust treatment, tribal fisherman organized “fish-ins,” like “sit-ins,” and other forms of civil disobedience during a time known as “The Fish Wars.” Their protests resulted in brutal arrests.

The Supreme Court case, commonly referred to as the Boldt Decision, was a turning point in the tribes’ fight for recognition. It established tribes as co-managers of salmon with the state, created conservation standards that restricted the state’s ability to regulate treaty fishing, divided the harvest equally between the state and tribes and confirmed the state and federal government’s responsibility to protect salmon habitat so that treaty rights could be observed.

© Mel Ponder Photography

Even though tribal leaders made great strides in getting tribal treaty rights recognized, those resources are still under threat today from challenges like ocean acidification. The OA Alliance strives to bring attention to these impacts and support the great work that’s being done to mitigate it.  “I feel that indigenous voice needs to be more on the national and regional levels and sometimes indigenous voice is left out in those contexts. And so, I feel that being a part of an international alliance allows the indigenous people that extra voice,” Maggie says.

When I ask Maggie why she advocated joining the OA Alliance, she says, “I felt that it was an extremely important issue in regards to treaty trust resources and an extremely awesome opportunity to collaborate with outside agencies and entities working towards the same goal. I felt that it impacts the world and also all tribes, including Nisqually. When I was thinking about this, I was thinking about how I’m from Makah, but the salmon, they go up the Nisqually and out to the ocean and back to the Nisqually. So we’re all interconnected.”

Maggie is currently organizing a community-based workshop for local tribes that will focus on the impacts of ocean acidification to shellfish, the environment and the community.  I ask her how her work on ocean acidification at a local level connects to her collaboration on an international level.

“…the ocean is a huge body of water and it takes a lot more than just one community to become involved. I feel that we all need to collaborate and partner together because the ocean reaches every point of contact. It’s a part of our responsibility as earth stewards to protect the ocean. And if other partners are willing to collaborate and the funding is there and the resources are there, it’s time to come together and work together on the international and national.”

Like Maggie said, “water is life,” and it connects us all. We are all in this fight together, which is why collaborative action at a local, state, tribal, national and international level is essential to protecting coastal communities globally. The OA Alliance is not only a way to share the stories of community leaders around the world, but also to celebrate the great work that has been done and the progress we are making for future generations to come.

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