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Free Music #5 – The Middle

We’ve eaten our roast meat and sugar cakes, sent fire into the air, sung anthems, covered hearts, and convened a national toast. Hopefully somewhere in all this we considered the ideas and sacrifice that fuel the American experiment.

So on this “back to work” Monday, I share my tribute to one of America’s greatest yet most endangered innovations – The Middle Class. Below are three different versions I’ve created.

THE MIDDLE (band version from VIDA)

THE MIDDLE (solo version from RESTLESS)

THE MIDDLE – Immigrant Dream Remix (solo version from RESTLESS)

Also enjoy these thoughts from a very rich American from Seattle.

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Free Music #3 – “OK Samaritan”

RESTLESS - Music about American Dreams by Rulon BrownDOWNLOAD HERE

All the other rich democratic societies in the world have found cheaper and more effective ways to care for the sick and dying. Let me say that again because it’s true and may be worth repeating if you grew up believing the right answer is always, “U S A! We’re Number One!”

Every other rich democratic society in the world has found cheaper and more effective ways to care for their sick and dying.

This should chill the blood of American capitalists and inspire deep reflection. Our lack of access to affordable healthcare is a huge economic problem. It is also a troubling sign of our national character. [Read Jesus’ Good Samaritan parable now if you don’t already know it].

America’s peers in the global economy, our peers in democracy building, our peers in technology and innovation, all our modern international peers, understand their people will inevitably face a common problem – sickness and death. Our allies in rich democracies accept the simple truth that everybody gets sick and everybody dies. This universal aspect of everyday life inspired these nations to create universal healthcare systems, systems that are very effective and very affordable. I think these countries adopt national health plans because it expresses their sense of humanity and shows the nations power to help people live healthier, fuller lives. That is the point of civilization… right?

But in America…

Our babies die more often
Our bodies get fatter
Our bodies get shorter
Our lives end sooner
Our diseases become epidemics
Our economy groans under extreme medical bankruptcy
And we spend more for these poor health outcomes than any other nation!

What makes me so sad about this is that it does not have to be! There are better health care systems out there. Systems we can learn from and improve upon.

But until most Americans understand that access to effective and affordable health care is a basic human concern of our shared common good, and until we Americans realize a national health system helps our pursuit of happiness… without these basic understandings, I fear American civilization is morally stalled out. We let greed, fear, and willful ignorance win the day. We cannot as a people ignore the sick and dying and expect to progress. So I wait, anxious, agitated, and itching for more. Sure, I still vote, lobby, donate, and write music to share what I feel. But given our apparent lack of interest in proven solutions to health care… I think we Yanks are in for a long wait.

TIPS FOR PASSING TIME WHILE YOU WAIT FOR EFFECTIVE HEALTHCARE FOR ALL AMERICANS:

  • Download and share OK Samaritan. It’s music about medical waiting rooms and wishing for a better healthcare system. Then shut off the music and stop waiting and wishing. Talk to your friends, family, and anyone who will hear you. Tell them you expect America care for it’s sick and dying without going morally and financially bankrupt.
  • Watch the PBS documentary Sick Around The World to learn how smart democratic industrialized nations care for their sick and dying better than America. Democracy grows from personal learning and well-informed opinions.
  • Ask every healthcare professional you meet if they are a member of Physicians for a National Health Program. If not, tell them to investigate and become a member. Remind your healthcare providers that the U.S. is way behind in major health outcomes and you want us to learn from the success of other nations who do it cheaper and better. If you feel silly doing this, remember you are paying more than most people in the world for the chance to chat up a health care professional. Why not take a second of that time you are paying for to tell them how America’s broken health care system effects you!
  • Learn how America’s broken health care fails your neighbors, friends, and family. Great health care systems are rooted in empathy, equity, and access. (special note: If you read the item linked in the last sentence and you can’t think of a neighbor, friend, or family member affected by America’s gross health disparity, please spend more time with people who don’t look like you, talk like you, or shop like you).

Thank you for doing more than just listening!

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Free Music #2 – “Race”

WHY I AM SHARING THIS MUSIC ON MARTIN LUTHER KING DAY?
Because this of all days is the closest thing we have to a national reflection about race and how to dissuade ourselves of it’s illusion.

This song is violent, damaged and filled with fear, my portrait of American racism. I wrote and recorded this music in Michigan during a 2012 Hill House composer residency for ISLAND (Institute for Sustainable Living Art & Natural Design). I prefer to say little about this song and just let it speak for itself. You can find it on my new solo album, RESTLESS – music about American Dreams.
RESTLESS - Music about American Dreams by Rulon Brown

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RESTLESS – Rulon Brown’s Portrait of The American Dream

Rulon was inspired to create art about the American Dream during a 2011 artist retreat in Costa Rica. He fell ill and received emergency medical care from a Costa Rica clinic (publicly funded universal healthcare system). The emergency care cost him the equivalent of $20 USD. Meanwhile back home in Seattle, one of Rulon’s family members was skipping doses of the medication that kept her Multiple Sclerosis in remission because insurance companies rationed her life saving prescription drugs (non-universal, exclusive, private system funded by public and private funds).

RESTLESS is the open catalogue of Rulon Brown’s work inspired by The American Dream. It began with music and now includes film, jewelry, community art, and interactive art installations.

RESTLESS CD coverNEW SOLO ALBUM
RESTLESS features 12 songs written, performed, and produced by Rulon Brown while touring North & Central America. Rulon crafted this concept album about the American Dream using only a simple microphone, laptop, and keyboard. Every sound from RESTLESS is Rulon playing real instruments, or triggering synthesized sounds, midi loops, and audio samples. The music comments on American ideas of opportunity, prosperity, safety, equality, exceptionalism, immigration, the environment, community, the common good, and much more.

UNITED Pendant from Rulon Brown's RESTLESS collectionWEARABLE SCULPTURE – Handmade Jewelry
by Rulon Brown. NOW AT TWILIGHT GALLERY
Rulon began working metal at age 14 while working as an apprentice in band instrument repair. He started making jewelry as an adult after inheriting silversmith tools from his late-grandfather and namesake.

Each piece from the RESTLESS jewelry collection is wearable sculpture hand-made by Rulon and elegantly paired with music from his RESTLESS CD. These unique artisan designs make memorable gifts and are handcrafted from precious metals and coins from the U.S. and Canada. Available exclusively by special order or gallery exhibition.

RESTLESS exhibition June 6 - 16 in SeattleART EXHIBITION & INTERACTIVE PERFORMANCE
“An oddly communal, intimate experience. Headphones usually isolate the listener, but in Restless they unite [the audience]… It’s a neat bit of group choreography, with the 50 different compositions suddenly joining together in the high-ceilinged space.”Seattle Weekly, Arts Editor Brian Miller

Rulon shared an interactive art installation, hand-made jewelry, and performances June 6 – 16, 2013 at Paul Rucker’s Open Studio Project located at 301 Occidental Ave S, Seattle, WA 98104. All events were free.
JUNE 6, 2013, 5:30 PM, First interactive performance w/ six repeat performances every half hour. Nightly Performances continued at 6 PM through June 16.
MATINEE CONCERT, 2 PM, Saturday, June 15 with Jeff Busch, Bill Horist & Paul Rucker

U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT TOUR WITH BAND
Live show in Leon, NicaraguaRulon Brown and band, Photo by Oscar Navarrete Aguilar for La Prensia newspaper
Rulon and his band premiered music from RESTLESS while touring Nicaragua for the U.S. State Department sponsored Nicaragua International Jazz Festival. The band features interdisciplinary artist Paul Rucker (cello, electric bass), experimental improviser and composer Bill Horist (electric guitar), and Rulon’s long-time rhythm collaborator Jeff Busch (world percussion, drums).

VidaNEW BAND CD, VIDA features prog rock anthems from RESTLESS and a tribute to the people of Nicaragua. The band recorded the album live at Gravelvoice studios with renowned audio wizard Scott Colburn working the faders. Band Mates

 

COMMUNITY ART PUZZLE, MUSIC & FILM a limited-edition commission for Seattle Artthrob
Seattle Artthrob shareholders assemble Rulon's art puzzle

THE BACKSTORY OF RESTLESS
“The America Dream has inspired some of the world’s most intoxicating ideas,” notes Rulon, “and no matter how vivid, all dreams are just improvisation and synthesis. We make them up and then we wake up. But the ideas we cherish from our dreams inspire our best and worst actions. So I set out to synthesize sound dreams about America’s greatest export—our ideas of happiness, individuality, community and success.”

“I began RESTLESS to vent specific frustration with America. But creation is a healing act, cathartic. RESTLESS became a portrait project about my homeland, the things I love and a few things I hope to help improve.”

SPECIAL THANKS TO:

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Nicaragua International Jazz Festival

JUST ANNOUNCED: The U.S. Department of State, Embassy in Nicaragua will host Rulon Brown at the Nicaragua International Jazz Festival, February 20 – 23, 2013. Rulon’s band features three of Seattle’s brightest talents including the celebrated interdisciplinary artist Paul Rucker (cello, electric bass), experimental improviser and composer Bill Horist (electric guitar), and Rulon’s long-time rhythm collaborator Jeff Busch (world percussion, drums). The group will perform originals, standards, and premiere new music from Rulon’s forthcoming project Restless – music inspired by the success and struggle of American dreams.

Conciertos
21 Feb., 5 PM, Plaza Reloj Central en Diriamba
22 Feb., 6 PM, Teatro Municipal “José de la Cruz Mena” en León
23 Feb., 5 PM, Parque Nacional Histórico Loma de Tiscapa en Managua
Clase Magistral
20 Feb., 2 PM, Junior Music en Managua
21 Feb., 2 PM, Museo de Historia y Cultura en Diriamba
22 Feb., 2 PM,  Armonía Musical en León

Mas info: www.facebook.com/NicaraguaJazzFest

 

En la noticias: El Nuevo Diario y La Prensa

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