On Sunday, June 28th, Turkuaz participated in Justice Comes Alive, the day-long music marathon benefitting the PLUS1 For Black Lives Fund which raised over $55k for organizations like Equal Justice Initiative, Impact Justice, and The Bail Project, as well as Black and Indigenous-led grassroots organizations combating racism.
"When asked to be a part of Justice Comes Alive, we were, of course, eager and enthusiastic to participate and help this cause in any way possible," Turkuaz frontman Dave Brandwein shares. "But just doing one of our old songs and sending it in didn't feel right, so I decided to write something new, and to try and put some thoughts and feelings into a song based on the dire social issues we face in this country."
The result is "The Sideline," the latest track from the nine-piece funk ensemble. Today, Turkuaz releases the live, debut performance of "The Sideline" from the Justice Comes Alive archives, which features percussionist Yahuba Garcia-Torres (who was previously set to join Turkuaz this summer for the Remain in Light dates).
Check out "The Sideline" now: bit.ly/TurkuazJCATheSideline.
"If you play American popular music in any form, it's derived from a rich tradition of black artists and innovators who shaped the cultural bedrock of our country," Brandwein elaborates. "With our style of music, we're especially aware of this—and though we've typically been apolitical as far as the public eye is concerned, this latest push for civil rights isn't politics. It's common sense and pure moral decency."
In the wake of the protests around the globe calling for more dire attention on racial inequity, Turkuaz has proudly taken a more defined stance on the topic, recognizing all BIPOC, including Native and Indigenous people, have been marginalized and held at an insurmountable disadvantage for hundreds of years. Brandwein continues, "We stand with Native Americans who were the natural inhabitants of this country. We stand with Black Lives Matter firmly, and in this song we explore why you can no longer be on 'The Sideline.' You are either actively anti-racist, or you are complicit."
Being a Turkuaz song, "The Sideline" does have the upbeat, danceable essence the band has become known for but uses the underlying lyrical content to explore the topic in a deeper way. "At the end of the day, it's still a Turkuaz song," expresses Brandwein. "It's upbeat and does not sound or feel as dark as the lyrical content is. You can dance to it. But we aren't afraid of that. We play the music we like with the words we want to say. We are honored to carry on the tradition of this music in our own way, but we feel an obligation to start being active allies in the fight for a future where justice truly comes alive. No longer will we sit on the sideline."
Watch Turkuaz perform "The Sideline" now over on Facebook and don't forget to check out Episode 1 of Turkuaz's hour-long recurring variety show, Hey You, Stay Tuned, now available exclusively through the band's official Facebook and YouTube channels.