Speaking truth to power, Raye Zaragoza is a voice made for our times. On the road traveled thus far, Zaragoza has been acknowledged for her efforts as an activist as much as she has for her musicianship, and the singer-songwriter is often one to prove that these passions go hand-in-hand. Bringing life and exposure to the art of modern-day protest songs, Zaragoza’s work tackles subjects related to her own heritage as a young woman of O’odham, Mexican, Taiwanese, and Japanese descent. She has been acknowledged by Cyndi Lauper and performed to hundreds of thousands while supporting Dispatch on a national tour, never compromising on her message or sense of morality at any point along the way.
Featuring four thought-provoking songs, Zaragoza’s Live at Rockwood Music Hall EP continues the songwriter’s dedication to the fight for justice and equality. Armed with naught but an acoustic guitar and her powerful croon, Zaragoza immediately impresses with the reflective “Warrior”, a song about searching within oneself to find the lion’s heart that will keep their feet moving. “Driving to Standing Rock”, meanwhile, features a rollicking chorus and driving overall progression as she details her memories of protesting against the Dakota Access Pipeline at Standing Rock. It offers itself as the louder side of the coin to her previous, viral release covering the DAPL scandal and its lack of mainstream media coverage, “In the River”, and is just as inspiriting in its own right.
Even with a love song, Zaragoza brings her own imprint to proceedings, as she exhibits with “Heroine”. The song’s haunting melodies are met by a soaring hook soaked in longing, just as worthy of an ear as her numbers meant to inspire protest. Wrapping up the EP is “Fight For You”, another anthemic call for protest that embraces the preservation of nature along the way. The song’s penchant for encouraging solidarity between our allies and bravery in the face of adversity is a perfect way to wrap up Zaragoza’s set as she reminds us, to “Stand up, stand up for what’s right. Don’t walk, don’t walk silently into the night. Take my hand, and we’ll see this through. Fight for me. I’ll fight for you.'”