Maui Arts & Entertainment

Standing Rock songstress sings protest music, of life struggles

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Raye Zaragoza. Photo credit: Kristen Drum via Maui Arts & Cultural Center
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Tickets go on sale Wednesday for the performance of protest folk singer Raye Zaragoza, which takes place Nov. 2 at 7:30 p.m. at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center.

Zaragoza is among the next generation, speaking her truth as a minority singer.

Influenced by activist performers like Joan Baez and Buffy St. Marie, her song “In The River” on YouTube is a moving tribute to the Standing Rock protest. It has the emotional power of Liko Martin’s call for unity in “All Hawaiʻi Stand Together.”


As a Japanese-American, Mexican, indigenous woman, Zaragoza spent much of her early life trying to assimilate with the world around her, to meet punishing standards of beauty synonymous with just one color of skin—and not her own. She has come a long way from that youthful pain.

“I am proud to be a multicultural brown woman with insecurities and a vibrant intersectional identity that I continue to grapple with,” she said. “I hope young girls of today will know that the ‘It Girl’ is whatever they want to be.”

She released her debut EP “Heroine” in 2015 and gained national attention in 2016 with the song “In The River,” protesting the treatment of the Indigenous peoples of Standing Rock and the Dakota Access Pipeline. Raye and her brother made and posted a video for “In The River” that included facts about Standing Rock and it received 100,000 views overnight.


In the aftermath of “In The River,” Zaragoza released “Fight For You,” her protest-driven debut album she says had her “finding my voice as a woman of color.” Upon releasing the album, she discovered the beauty, significance, and necessity of her natural identity in a broader conversation; she was ready to celebrate what made her “different” and invigorate those of similar struggles to do the same.

“Woman in Color,” Zaragoza’s second album, delivered powerful messages about embracing one’s own identity and discovering the power behind it, all across brisk, emotive, compelling folk melodies.

Throughout 10 emotionally turbulent tracks, Zaragoza reckons with growing up in a society that equates whiteness with beauty creating the song “The It Girl,” memorializes her mother’s story of immigrating to the United States in the song, “Change Your Name,” pays homage to Indigenous women, who were kidnapped and murdered and never to be found, in the song“Red,” and emboldens the listener to be all that their beautiful individuality entails in “Running With the Wolves” and “Rebel Soul.”


Tickets go on sale online to MACC members on Wednesday, Sept. 21, at 10 a.m. and to the general public Friday, Sept. 23.

All ticket sales are online only at The MACC Box Office is not open for window sales but is available for ticketing inquiries only Tuesday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., by phone at 808-242-7469 or email [email protected]


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