Let Them Roar’s ‘I See My Light’ to support Colorado immigrants in sanctuary
UPCOMING LET THEM ROAR EVENTS
June 20: ‘I See My Light’ Pre-Launch @ Glenwood Springs Library
June 21: ‘I See My Light’ Launch @ The Lanuchpad, Carbondale
June 22: ‘Dreams of Freedom’ Sanctuary Vigil @ Mancos United Methodist Church
July 18: Concert @ Carbondale Branch Library
July 27: Concert @ Carbondale Mountain Fair
Aug. 10: Concert @ Compassion Fest, Carbondale
The band’s summer tour also includes shows in Telluride, Moab, Boulder, Denver, Palisade, Rifle, Gunnison and Creede.
SEE & HEAR
Inspired by immigrant women who have taken sanctuary in Colorado churches to keep their families from being separated by federal authorities, Carbondale-based band Let Them Roar is releasing a benefit single and launching a benefit tour this summer.
The song, “I See My Light,” will be released June 21 with a concert at the Launchpad in Carbondale that also will feature speaker Sandra Lopez, who was in sanctuary at Two Rivers Unitarian Universalist church in Carbondale for 10 months through August 2018. The event will launch a tour including performances at sanctuary churches around the state.
“‘I See My Light’ is a song that we wrote to celebrate and honor the women who are living in sanctuary in Colorado,” Let Them Roar singer Olivia Pevec told a crowd at the St. Regis in March.
The four-piece progressive folk band has joined with activists, faith organizations and social justice groups around the state in the growing “People’s Resolution” movement to support immigrants and the people protecting them.
They befriended Lopez during her time sheltered in Carbondale and have spent time performing for others around the state like Rosa Sabido, who has been in sanctuary at Mancos United Methodist Church for more than two years,
“We’ve gotten to know her and played music for her and we’ve developed a strong connection,” guitarist and vocalist Sophia Clark explained. “So we wrote a song for her.”
The song is the centerpiece of a $40,000 Let Them Roar fundraising campaign and of the popular local band’s social justice mission.
“It’s galvanizing,” Pevec said. “It motivates. We seem to be willing to work really hard for other people. When you get an opportunity to have people listening to you it seems important to do something of benefit with that.”
“I See My Light” is an impassioned anthem of hope and resilience, sung from the perspective of Sabido and other Colorado immigrants taking shelter in churches. It includes Let Them Roar’s signature dual harmonies in the chorus and striking lines like “Walking tall, I hear the call/My choice is bravery/Until there are no border walls my heart will set me free.”
Over the past decade, Let Them Roar has made a case for itself as the best band based in the Roaring Fork Valley, growing a devoted following with regular shows at Steve’s Guitars in Carbondale and residencies at the St. Regis in Aspen, festivals like Wildfest and Mountain Fair along with private parties.
Always up for a creative challenge, the band this spring wrote a reinterpretation of the Zager and Evans song “In the Year 2525” for an opening by artists Annette and Andew Roberts-Gray at the Carbondale Clay Center. Let Them Roar also collaborated with the SoL children’s theater company this spring to compose and perform the score for a production of “The Wizard of Oz.”
“I don’t think anybody knew what it was going to be like when we said yes — how it was going to work,” Pevec said. “It was fun and scary to rise to the occasion.”
Let Them Roar was founded by vocalist Pevec and guitarist Mateo Sandate, beginning with sessions in Sandate’s living room when he was working for the U.S. Forest Service at the Aspen Ranger Station. The band’s lineup has rotated through the years and its ambitions have grown. They’ve expanded to play regional tours and take on new creative challenges, while harnessing their talents for social impact.
“As our reach grows, the more we can do and the bigger impact we can have,” Clark said.
At the band’s St. Regis winter residencies, they play three-hour sets weekly in the Mountain Social Bar. They’re not playing the stereotypical apres-ski fare of John Denver songs and covers. Instead, their thoughtful sets focus on originals, experimenting with in-progress songs and an eclectic mix of freshly arranged folk classics.
At the St. Regis gig, they never play to the same crowd twice. Sometimes the tourist-heavy audiences are silent and disinterested. Other times the bar is full of dancing and singing revelers. Over spring break, the band played to a small crowd of families, stylish couples drinking brown liquor and groups of tourists chatting quietly by fireside. The show included a rendition of “I See My Light,” minus the strings included on the studio version.
“It’s completely different every time we play here,” Clark said.
Band members all share songwriting duties, and often share vocals. They’ll frequently work for a year or more on perfecting a song, using their St. Regis residency to perfect them.
“It’s the goal with having a residency,” Sandate explained. “We can try out new stuff. It’s like a little science lab.”
It’s also created some rare opportunities. In March, a man sat on a couch close to the band and watched intently through the set. Afterward, he came up to meet the band and get some CDs, and introduced himself as Scooter Braun, the influential tech entrepreneur and manager to Justin Bieber and Ariana Grande. Such is the gigging life in Aspen.
“You never know who is in the crowd,” Sandate said.
Staying in the valley, despite its remoteness and disconnection from music industry hubs, is natural for the band as it grows its sound and its activism. Clark and bassist Ashton Taufer are lifelong valley residents, Pevec and Sandate have long put down their roots here and the band has found a groove playing the valley’s odd mix of venues and festivals while recording regularly at Cool Brick Studios.
“There are a lot of opportunities for live music here and amazing talent and access,” Clark said.
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