This is the second CD in a series called "Still Breathing" , a project I started in 2016 in response to the murder of Eric Garner in New York City. Over the years, in America, unarmed African American men and boys have been killed by the police for no reason except that they are African Americans. My grandfather, George Cole, was the first African American detective in the history of the police force of the city of Pittsburgh. He was in this position for 28 years. In his time as detective he made over two hundred arrests, all of which resulted in convictions - but he NEVER ONCE even pulled his gun out of its holster, let alone shot anyone. He was injured several times making arrests, sometimes seriously. When he retired from the force he was praised by his superiors for his detective work, and once received a commendation from President Theodore Roosevelt for catching a forger and bringing him into custody from Canada. I never met my grandfather; he died before I was born. From the stories about him told to me by members of my family and from the African American community in Pittsburgh, and from newspaper reports and other records, I learned what an excellent policeman he was.
I know that the police have the authority to kill people even when they’re unarmed. But African Americans are viewed in our society as being “inferior,” and when there is a group in a society that is viewed as "inferior" it is tragically easy for the police to kill persons from the "inferior" group, even when they’re unarmed.
In spite of having a target on our backs, we are "Still Breathing."
Still Breathing is the second installment of the series and features original compositions performed by Bill Cole (didgeridoo and vocals) and Alex Blake (acoustic bass, vocals & percussion) live on January 9, 2017 at the Zulcher Gallery in New York City. It was recorded by Sarah Sully. Post production by Charles Eller at Lane Gibson Recording and Mastering Studio. Art and Graphic design by Minji Reem. Layout production and administration by Scott Friedlander.
“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