Joel Rafael with John Trudell’s Bad Dog

Nov 18 2017 - 7:30 PM

Joel Rafael with John Trudell's Bad Dog

Last December, Joel Rafael performed with Jackson Browne, Bonnie Raitt, and Jason Mraz on the Standing Rock Indian Reservation in support of the water protectors and pipeline protestors. That epitomizes his calling as a socially engaged folk singer, a calling he has heeded since the 1970s. Along the way he has made nine albums, written a score for The Grapes of Wrath, and turned five of Woody Guthrie’s unpublished lyrics into songs. Joel makes his home in north San Diego County.

Joel will perform a solo set, and a set of music with John Trudell’s Bad Dog band, which includes Ricky Eckstein (bass), Mark Shark (guitars), Billy Watts (guitars), Debra Dobkin (drums), Quiltman and T (traditional vocals).

John Trudell (1946-2015) was a leader for the Indian of All Tribes Occupation of Alcatraz in 1969, and went on to serve as Chairman of the American Indian Movement (AIM) from 1973-1979. On February 11, 1979, he burned an American flag on the steps of the F.B.I J. Edgar Hoover building in Washington D.C., as he’d been taught in the military to burn the flag once it had been desecrated; and the US government’s treatment of Native Americans and its classism and racism had desecrated the flag. Some 12 hours after the flag incident, a fire “of suspicious origin” burned down Trudell’s home on the Shoshone-Paiute reservation in Nevada, killing Trudell’s pregnant wife, Tina, their three children and Tina’s mother. The F.B.I. declined to investigate, and the blaze was officially ruled an “accident.” After the fire, Trudell turned his tears into writing poetry and later, spoken word music and acting. A lifelong activist and human rights advocate, he was quoted as saying “I’m just a human being trying to make it in a world that is rapidly losing its understanding of being human.”