When I watched the video incident involving Eric Garner and the New York City Police, I first saw several policemen agitating Mr. Garner by touching him. All of a sudden a policeman attacked Mr. Garner from behind with a chokehold, and choked him until he was dead. This occurred on July 17, 2014. While he was being choked you can hear Mr. Garner saying “I can’t breathe” several times. It was clear to me that he had been murdered. Then the Grand Jury of Staten Island, a borough of New York City, cleared the policeman of any wrongdoing. When I heard of this decision by the Staten Island Grand Jury my mind flashed back to all the killings of unarmed African American men by the police over the years in America - not only the killings by the police, but the fact that the killers were exonerated.
This is the same process that began during the time African American people were enslaved in this country. This Process of killing us by agents of the government or even private citizens has never ended. That is why I wanted to create a musical work to say that we’re STILL BREATHING.
Breath on--deeply and musically,
Still Breathing is the first installment of the series and features original compositions performed by Bill Cole (didgeridoo) and Gerald Veasley (bass guitar) live on October 3, 2016 at the Brooklyn Commons in Brooklyn, New York. It was recorded by Sarah Sully, edited and mastered by Charles Eller at Lane Gibson Recording and MAstering Studio. Art and Graphic design by Minji Reem. Layout production and administration by Scott Friedlander. Artists' portraits inspired by R.I. Sutherland-Cohen's photography.
“I really admire Bill Cole’s work, the seriousness, complexity, and the relentless way he pursues a vision and the way his response to contemporary events informs his personal and an historical truth through music. I find his music always intriguing, surprising, provocative, and enjoyable, even when difficult, in all it’s many manifestations, including the playfulness in much of it even while being deeply, deeply serious. I like this project as I have all of his that I’m aware of. ”
— Kate Smith