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Refugee

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In our travels last year through Spain, Germany, Italy and eastern Europe we saw a lot of migrants tramping along the roadside, begging and busking in city streets, or camping by fences with nowhere left to go. According to the United Nations, 65 million refugees are wandering the world today, displaced by war, overpopulation and climate change. That’s a lot of people — more than the combined populations of New York and California.

All of us in Delta Moon were affected by what we saw on that trip. When we returned to America Mark wanted to write a song called “Refugee” over a guitar lick he had come up with. The band came up with a chanted chorus and three verses, each in the voice of a particular person we had seen or heard about. (“Issme” is Arabic for “my name is…”) We decided that Franher and I would each speak a verse, and then our friend Kyshona Armstrong came in to deliver the female verse. She also volunteered some harmonies and powerful wailing at the end.

lyrics

REFUGEE

By Tom Gray, Mark Johnson, Franher Joseph and Marlon Patton
(Single Coil Music, Ephjay Music, Marlon Patton Music, BMI)

Oh, my my.
Oh, my my.
Oh, my my.
Oh, my my.
Refugee.
Refugee.

Issme Ahmed. I'm twelve years old.
The town I come from is gone, I've been told.
Mama and Papa were lost at sea.
We wound up in Belgrade, little sister and me.
We don't have much, but we get along,
'Cause I've got a squeezebox and I know a few songs.
Sister's got a flute. She can't play a lot,
She gives that one note everything she's got.

Refugee.
Refugee.

Issme Abu. I've got my papers in order.
But I live in a tent by a fence at the border.
Between one country out and one country in
Is fifty meters of grass. That's where we've been.
Some call us names, but most pass us by.
Some bring us food, and that's how we're alive.
In this whole round world we've got nowhere to be.
So we just keep walking, my family and me.

Refugee.
Refugee.
Refugee.
Refugee.

Issme Asha. I come here on a boat
Full of so many people it could barely float.
I've been raped and beaten and been all alone.
I've walked through a desert full of human bones.
There's nothing for me in this foreign land.
The people talk a language that I don't understand.
I've sat in this camp for almost a year.
But at least the men are not coming to kill me here.

Refugee.
Refugee.
Refugee.
Refugee.
Oh, my my.
Oh, my my.
Oh, my my.
Oh, my my.
Refugee.
Refugee.
Refugee.
Refugee.
Oh, my my.
Oh, my my.
Oh, my my.
Oh, my my.
Refugee.
Refugee.

credits

from Cabbagetown, released March 17, 2017
Tom Gray: Vocal, piano
Mark Johnson: Guitar
Franher Joseph: Vocal, bass
Marlon Patton: Drums
Kyshona Armstrong: Vocal

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A voice, a groove and two slide guitars.

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