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On Wednesday, Raye Zaragoza will perform at the McCoy Studio Theater at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center. Photo courtesy of RAY ZARAGOZA

Launching on Indigenous Peoples Day on October 10, Netflix’s children’s show “Ranger Spirit” features a catchy theme song co-composed and sung by Raye Zaragoza, which will perform Wednesday at the McCoy Studio Theater at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center.

Hailed by NPR as “one of the freshest and most compelling voices in folk music today”, and by PopMatters as “a voice made for our time, speaking truth to power”, Zaragoza is excited about the show and its participation.

“It’s been amazing” said Zaragoza, which is part of Akimel O’otham Native American, Mexican and Japanese. “I wrote over 45 songs for the show. It’s a dream come true.

The widely acclaimed animated series involves three junior Native American Rangers who can transform into super-powered spirits to help protect the national park they call home.

Celebrating Native storytelling, some future episodes will include Hawaiian themes. “We have at least a few episodes in season two specifically about our native Hawaiian Islands relatives,” she explained. “It’s really exciting.”

Outraged “Spirit Rangers” Zaragoza’s music has appeared on TV quite a bit this year, including on SYFY’s show soundtrack “foreign resident,” as good as “Kardashians” and a collaboration with Viv Parker was featured on ABC “Grey’s Anatomy.”

As for other collaborations, she teamed up this summer with Oahu-born reggae singer KBong for the upbeat love song “Call home.” And at the end of last year she recorded a new version of her song “The It Girl” with Brooke Simpson, member of the Haliwa-Saponi tribe, view of “The voice” and “America has talent.”

“I lived in a world that wasn’t made for brown-skinned girls” Zaragoza sings “The It-Girl”. This is one of the powerful songs from his latest album “Woman in Color” who was inspired by a mission to bring justice and equality to those who have been marginalized and slandered.

“‘The It Girl’ is a song about being insecure about having brown skin and being mixed race and then growing up and actually those are my superpowers”, she says. “Those are the things I love the most about myself. That sums up a lot of my life and my feelings towards the lack of diversity in entertainment and how in my career I want to change that and really uplift that. other miscellaneous stories.

Having once felt alienated from her mixed racial background, making “Woman in Color” proved healing for her. “My music has been a healing part of my life,” she says. “Music has been my way of telling my story because I’ve felt disassociated from all aspects of my racial background for so long my whole life. I was very American, born and raised in New York. having so many different racial backgrounds was overwhelming. It’s almost like you don’t do anything by default. I felt like I had no identity when I was a kid. Then I realized that music was my way to tell my story and become my own identity.

Another powerful song, “Change your name,” depicts her mother’s immigration from Japan and her family’s decision to give her an American name. Zaragoza then posted a video featuring people across the country who had also Americanized their names to fit in.

“My mother had to change her name when she moved to the United States when she was three,” she noted. “Her parents asked an American soldier stationed in Japan, what will we name our daughter? And he said to call her Shirley, because Shirley Temple was very popular.

Among her early inspirational songs, she highlighted the Dakota Access Pipeline protests with “Drive to Standing Rock.” “Being part of this movement definitely shaped me as an artist and showed me that music can be the soundtrack of a movement and that it’s really important to write songs about these critical moments in life. our history and writing songs about the struggle for indigenous land and water.. It’s like part of my duty.

Zaragoza feels aligned with a continuum of activist artists who have inspired others over the years. “It means a lot to me to create music with a message and to be part of a line of songwriters who have used music as a way to change the world and raise awareness. I hope my music heals people and leaves them feeling energized, fulfilled and hopeful.

Raye Zaragoza performs at MACC’s McCoy Studio Theater at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday. Tickets are $35 (plus applicable fees), with a 10% discount for MACC members and half price for children 12 and under. Tickets are sold online only.


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