By Oscar Vigil (The Vigil Campaign)
Robert Graham, a composer, singer and musician, sang about one of his ex girlfriends, an unrequited love. He sang about a male friend who fell in love with a woman who turned out to be a lesbian, and about a guy who fell in love with his best friend.
The odes to love were expressed in rhythms of rock, pop, country, blues, Latin and more. The audience, composed of his friends, friends of friends, or just music lovers, completely enjoyed the night.
But amidst his melodies of universal love were opportunities to speak about social justice and fair treatment of refugees in Canada.
Robert Graham music about social justice revealed that he is not simply an artist but a social justice activist, and an artist who thinks, sings, and acts with all his heart.
I met him a few weeks ago, when he invited me to talk in a fundraising event. He and his wife organized it in support of Jose Figueroa, a Salvadoran father who is in sanctuary in British Columbia, at the other end of the country. Figueroa, like me and hundreds of refugee claimants, is fighting an unfair deportation order because of political inadmissibility.
Jose was involved in revolutionary movements during his early years at the university in El Salvador. He never took arms or participated in violent activities, and his sole sin was to fight for social justice in a country where that fight was a crime.
Robert Graham didn’t know him personally but he jumped to read about him online and his heart told him he had to do something to help this guy.
Since then, he has been doing a lot: fundraising events, songs, speeches, calls, letter, pressure to the government, but, above all, he has been giving hope to somebody that for now only can see the light of the sun from inside of four walls.
Why? Because Robert’s heart is still pounding hard when he knows about injustices, as it pounded hard 30 years ago when he was a student in his native Australia and was involved with the solidarity movement for El Salvador.
Robert Graham loves El Salvador, but most important, he hates injustice. And he uses his owns weapons to fight injustices in Canada: his arts, his gift to delight people with his voice and his rhythms. With these weapons, he raises awareness about fairness, as he did last weekend.
On Friday night, at The Central, a bar located in the area of Bloor and Bathurst, he did his best. He spoke, joked and sang, and his words and music were all about love, including his love of justice for people seeking refugee status in Canada.
Undoubtedly Robert Graham is a good man, a good citizen, and fortunately for the justice in this country, he is also an excellent musician. The world, particularly Canada in this politically bizarre time, needs more people like him.
Thanks Robert, you are The Fairest and Best.
Oscar Vigil - "The Vigil Campaign" (original article)
Teresa Lombardi - Lady Luck Productions
(The Fairest and Best) was upbeat, fun to watch and had a set list of catchy Rock n Roll originals. Female vocalist (Caitlin Holland) provided back up vocals and beautiful harmonies. The band was tight and although drummer (Nigel Maynard) was filling in, you would have never guessed he had just learned the set. Very impressive! Front man Robert Graham was absolutely sensational! He leads the band on keys and vocals. You can definitely tell that Robert is no stranger to the stage. He is energetic and knows how to truly entertain! I'm looking forward to the release of their album and to see them again. (original article)
Lady Luck Productions
Vocalist & Musical Directer