The plight of the indigenous people is an old story, part of the sad fabric of American history. And unfortunately, it is a story that continues on underprivileged reservations — rampant poverty, lack of opportunity, opioid addition and everything else that comes with a general feeling of hopelessness. UK singer songwriter Rob Harris tells this classic tale of persecution in artistically designed and deeply affecting animated video for his song, “Face of a Cherokee.” The animation is by Ashley Miles of Hot Frog Animations.
With echoes of her pain
cries out to the valley below,
what is to become of us?
– Face of a Cherokee
This song is the first single from his upcoming album, Blue Sky Morning. The song itself, while specifically about the Cherokee Indian tribe, is a strong statement against prejudices and hostile actions against all minorities. In the video’s notes, Harris describes the underlying motive behind the persecution as being “To unite a larger dominant group in their hatred of a minority and provide the opportunity to steal their possessions and land, and at same time deprive the minority group of the freedom to practice their religion or culture.” Hm, quite a lot of that going around today.
Harris envisioned that this song, with its simple and straightforward lyrics, could be sung by school children, which of course is the time when prejudices first become woven into a person’s character. His awareness of prejudice towards minorities (religious and racial) began an a young age. What he learned from history mirrored the real-life experience of his ancesters in Europe.
Musically speaking, the native drumming and backing vocals, the sound of horses’ hooves, gentle acoustic guitar and compassionate singing and powerful electric guitar — it all contributes to the raw emotion of the storytelling and is very effective.
Harris has been writing lyrics and playing guitar and drums since his early teens. In college, he studied anthropology, sociology and the history of modern art, leading him to where he finds himself today. It all makes sense. Today, he runs a video and visual communications company, and when his son started playing guitar, Rob found his interest in music rekindled.
One major theme of his new album is how people draw on their inner strength to cope with various mental challenges they face in their lives. He supports UK Charity Young Minds, an organization that helps kids with mental health issues. He’ll be donating 50% of proceeds from the album to this worthwhile charity.