It’s been almost three years since the Flint Water Crisis began making headlines. Still, the residents of Flint, Michigan, are still affected by a human-made disaster that’s left them without safe drinking water and led to an outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease. Among those who took notice of Flint citizens’ plight were Jen de la Osa and Henry Beguiristain of Boston-based indie rockers Aloud and Kendra Jones and Tom Stuart of Brooklyn ensemble Cold Blood Club. Frustrated by what they saw as a tragic and criminal event that wasn’t getting as much attention as it deserved, the two groups pooled their resources and crafted a new song entitled “Agua Mala”.
“Flint was something we couldn’t even believe could happen in this country,” said de la Osa. “How does something as basic as clean water become so scarce in an American city?”
The resultant tune is told from the perspectives of affected parents watching their children suffer the consequences of drinking lead-tainted water. It opens subtly with a tempered beat and washes of guitar distortion. Quiet verses bubble up to set the stage for the detonation of a refrain. With the urgency that comes from having your voice going unheard, the tune is propulsive and unhinged with frustration. Layered soulful vocals serve to personify the myriad people who suffered the catastrophe’s fallout, blending together in the big gang-style chorus of: “Fearing for the futures of our sons / And our daughters / From agua mala.”
As a side note, Cold Blood Club was touring through Michigan as the crisis unfolded.
To aid relief efforts, Aloud and Cold Blood Club are donating all proceeds from the song’s download and its February 9th release show at Brooklyn’s Knitting Factory to the Flint Water Fund set up by the United Way of Genesee County.
The track was produced by Grammy award winner Benny Grotto at Mad Oak Studios in Boston.
“Flint’s trying to raise its voice to let the country know what’s happening is still happening,” de la Osa said. “This shouldn’t have faded away with the next news cycle.”