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  • Writer's pictureThe Sound Cafe

Joe Troop Releases His Latest Political Anthem 'Free Leonard Peltier'

By Devon Legere.

Singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Joe Troop from GRAMMY-nominated stringband Che Apalache releases his latest political anthem, entitled “Free Leonard Peltier.” along with the accompanying music video. All proceeds from the song will be donated to Leonard Peltier’s legal aid fund.

October 7 (the Friday before Indigenous People's Day) marks the halfway point of the Leonard Peltier’s Walk to Justice, a spiritual walk from Minneapolis, MN to Washington DC coordinated by the American Indian Movement. Troop will join the marchers on November 14th for the final leg of the Walk to Justice into Washington, D.C. He will also perform the song at rallies on the 14th and 18th.

Joe Troop first learned of political prisoner Leonard Peltier in 2017 from a Lakota man in the Argentinian Patagonia. This chance encounter sparked research into Peltier’s case and collaboration with Native American musicians and activists fighting for his liberation - ultimately resulting in the original song “Free Leonard Peltier,” recorded and co-produced by Jason Richmond.

Aside from Troop, all artists on this track are Native American. Several of them are involved in the 17 Rivers North Carolina American Indian Movement Chapter.

The music video for "Free Leonard Peltier" was directed by Rode Díaz (Kaqchikel Mayan, Indigenous Guatemalan) of Iximche Media. The video was shot in four distinct locations and features all of the musicians involved in the recording. Filmed in nature, the video focuses on how the Native musicians interact with the four elements (fire, water, earth, air) and invokes a collective prayer for Peltier across time and space, while rooted in the same land.

A live solo performance video of "Free Leonard Peltier" will be released on GemsOnVHS later this fall.

Joe Troop is a multi-instrumentalist, singer, and songwriter hailing originally from Winston-Salem, North Carolina. The founder of GRAMMY-nominated stringband Che Apalache, Joe’s music is deeply inspired by his decade living in Buenos Aires and traveling throughout Latin America. When the pandemic unexpectedly landed him back in North Carolina, he spent 2020 learning direct action from stalwart political organizers. In 2021 he channeled that energy into his homecoming album Borrowed Time.

Troop's music reflects both his time spent living abroad as well as his upbringing in the North Carolina Piedmont. Joe has also most recently partnered with powerhouse Venezuelan folk music legend Larry Bellorín.

Praise for Joe Troop:

“The world is fortunate that he trains his force on social justice … His musicianship is world class and his influences very diverse, but he really sneaks up on listeners to deliver important messages, too.” - Tim O’Brien

“He’s passionate, cares deeply about injustice in the world and he’s not afraid to take a stand. Combine that with his amazing abilities as a multi-instrumentalist, vocalist and composer, and you’ve got a powerhouse.” - Béla Flec


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