“An Evening With Phil Ochs & Victor Jara”   2 comments

April brings showers, baseball, Passover, and Easter.

This April 11 saw our 5th annual Phil Ochs Celebration of Life concert at Egan’s Ballard Jam House in Seattle.  For the second consecutive year the recipient of the funds raised by the event was Familias Unidas Por La Justicia (FUJ), Washington’s sole farmworkers union.

Ochs-Jara Poster Final

This year the show was different. We called it “An Evening With Phil Ochs and Victor Jara.”  Victor Jara was the Chilean folksinger/poet/actor who was known as “Chile’s Pete Seeger.”  Phil met Victor during a visit to Chile and was devastated when Victor was  murdered by the same bloody hands that had killed Chile’s democratically-elected president, Salvador Allende, in the Kissinger/CIA coup that installed Pinochet’s military dictatorship.  Victor’s death was considered one of the emotional blows that exacerbated Phil’s mental tailspin and subsequent suicide.



My co-conspirator in the event was Patricia Mazuela, a Chilean-American, of the remarkable Latino trio, Sin Fronter20150411_213612as.   We had been talking about such a program for two years, having met while performing on the same bill.  I had talked of Phil as an inspiration of mine, and she talked of the group’s affinity for Victor.  Since that time, we performed together at various fundraisers and rallies.  I even interviewed them on “We Do The Work”, the Skagit Valley Community radio show of which I am a revolving host.  (KSVR-FM 91.7, http://www.ksvr.org)

So, with the annual Phil show scheduled, we finally got it together.  It was quite the process, like planning20150411_215838 a Jewish-Catholic wedding.  On Phil’s side I selected Casey Graham, one of the  most knowledgeable Phil-osophers around and a talented performer in his own right who, if you close your eyes, seems to be channeling…not imitating…Phil.  I also asked one of my favorite Chicana poets, Angelica Guillen, to present the Spanish lyrics to two of the songs Casey sang, “Hands” and Changes.”



Lorna Dee Cervantes,  one of the nation’s most acclaimed Chicana poet and writer, newly-arrived in Washington and old friend, actress/filmmaker/professional20150411_231438 clown Maristela Diaz Sanchez, presented Victor’s lyrics and poetry.

Patricia and one of her Sin Fronteras partners, Abel Rocha, provided the music of Victor Jara with their impeccable musicianship and harmonies.  Victor would’ve been pleased.


I performed my “Annotated Love Me I’m a Liberal” and updated “Draft Dodger Rag” in the first half and my original homage to Phil, “Farewell, Troubadour” after intermission. (See “Videos” on this website.

20150411_220231Representing FUJ were President Ramon Torees and Vice President Felimon Pineda, who updated us, through an interpreter, the history of abuse, wage theft, and in20150411_220231timidation heaped upon the workers by Sakuma Berry Farms in Skagit County.  They shared their hopes for their children, and desire to earn a living wage.  They were remarkably effective  as they spoke of the Boycott against Sak20150411_220231uma products and customers.

We generated almost $400 and spread the word for the boycott.  www.boycottsakumaberries.com

I think Phil and Victor would have approved.




Posted April 22, 2015 by garykanter in Uncategorized

2 responses to ““An Evening With Phil Ochs & Victor Jara”

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. Would you willing to do something else around December 19th to help celebrate Phil’s birthday?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: