Flagstaff Arts Council is pleased to present a CD release and benefit concert, Voluntary Return: Songs of Solidarity with Migrants and Refugees on October 25, 2018, at 7:30p.m. at the Coconino Center for the Arts. The doors will open at 7:00p.m. Tickets are $7 in advance and $10 at the door.
Bob Neustadt began taking students on field trips to the Arizona/Mexico border in 2010. The experience of seeing such raw human suffering shook him to the core. He returned from that trip and wrote his first border song, “Voluntary Return,” a ballad that calls attention to a euphemism used by our government when obliging people to sign papers stating that they agree to leave the U.S. “voluntarily.” Shortly thereafter he and Chuck Cheesman began work to produce an album, donating all of the proceeds to No More Deaths / No más muertes, a volunteer organization that places water in the Arizona desert to keep migrants from dying and suffering while crossing the border. On October 12, 2012 they launched Border Songs: A Collection of Music and Spoken Word at a standing-room-only concert at the Coconino Center for the Arts. Border Songs, now sold out, raised nearly $100,000 for humanitarian aid.
Bob has continued to return to the border, and to write songs about different aspects of the global refugee crisis ever since. His songs tell stories from the global refugee crisis: A 14 year-old girl from El Salvador who died while crossing the border. A 16 year-old Mexican boy who was shot through the wall, in Mexico, by a U.S. Border Patrol agent. People who risk their lives in rafts and rickety boats, trying to reach islands that happen to belong to countries in the European Union. DREAMers who are denied in-state tuition in Arizona colleges and relegated to a life of low-paying wages. Bob writes songs—folk, Americana and blues—to bear witness to the madness of our time. He writes songs to exorcise his sadness. He writes these songs to process his frustration, to share his anguish, and to attempt to raise awareness about the injustices affecting refugees around the globe.
The proceeds from Voluntary Return: Songs of Solidarity with Migrants and Refugees and from this concert will go to No More Deaths / No más muertes, a volunteer organization that places water and provisions in the desert in an effort to end death and suffering in the Arizona/Mexico borderlands, and the Colibrí Center for Human Rights, an NGO working with families of those who have disappeared while crossing the U.S.-Mexico border to find information and justice.
Voluntary Return: Songs of Solidarity with Migrants and Refugees with Bob Neustadt will take place on October 25, 2018, at 7:30p.m. at the Coconino Center for the Arts. Tickets are $7 in advance and $10 at the door. Tickets are available for purchase online here or in person at the Coconino Center for the Arts, 2300 N. Fort Valley Rd. Flagstaff AZ 86001.