“If you’re down with the SS say yes yes,” is one ad-lib that Bronze Candidate and Liaison of Shining Soul are going to be leaving in Phoenix this June when “the most targeted band in Arizona,” as Liaison AKA Alex Soto likes to say, takes their first tour outside of North America.
Soto and Bronze Candidate AKA Franco Habre will be taking the concept of “cross border solidarity” to new lengths when they take their militant indigenous/chicano hip-hop across the Atlantic Ocean for a 16-Day tour of Germany.
Habre and Soto will be arriving in Germany on May 29 and will be leading beat making workshops for German youth from June 1 until June 6 and then touring the country until June 22 along with Phoenix DJ Reflekshin who will be arriving in Germany shortly after Shining Soul.
“If David Hasselhoff had a good rapport out there in 1989 performing at the Berlin Wall, then I’m sure we will do fine,” joked Habre. The group will be performing 10 show all throughout the country and then spend their down time visiting cultural landmarks.
Soto said he intends to bring an offering to the Berlin Wall in remembrance of his grandfather, who was stationed along the wall during his military service.
“On my reservation they are trying to make an O'odham Berlin Wall," Soto says. "He’s seen that shit first hand and it's obviously wrong and that's my personal level.”
While Habre added, “This will be a learning experience I just won’t grasp until I’m there. I only know the history I’ve heard through the American narrative which is a little to neat and very surface level. I’m just open for anything and I hope people are open to talking and sharing and getting their story across to us.”
Social, political, and historical curiosities aside all three music makers say their number one goal with the tour is introducing their brand of hip-hop to an inter continental audience. An audience which Shining Soul associate Rebel Diaz from New York City assured is primed up for hip - hop shows and likened Berlin to the New York City of Europe when it comes to rap music.
“We got invited to do beat making workshops that we've been doing around here for the past seven years,” said Soto. “We are doing workshops for kids 8 a.m to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, they are going to make beats, they’re gonna do some rhymes and perform a song. That’s more or less what paid for the ticket, and they were like ‘you’re out here anyway, want to go on tour’ and we were like ‘fuck yeah.’ Our first priority is to get our music across.”
For the tour Shining Soul is updating the live show a little bit with Reflekshin coming along to add another layer to the live performance, as well as having Habre do live beatmaking on stage. Shining Soul is usually able to put on an energetic show when it’s just the two of them and an i-Pod for the beats, but when they bring out a DJ it really does make a difference for the two piece.
They will be giving Phoenix a taste of the touring lineup on Sunday, May 17, at the Phoenix Youth Hostel for their tour fundraiser show. They also have an Indiegogo.com campaign collecting donations through May 21.
“You’re going to hear good music with some real substance, they may not connect with what we’re saying or with where I’m from or where he’s [Habre] from. But you’re going to say alright they have something to say, it sounds urgent, shits fucked up, and I can bob my head to it, and I want to do something about it, and I want to relate it back to where I’m from,” said Soto. “We are more than some typical movement rappers pointing fucking fingers. It’s going to come off as we have our shit together and yeah we got something to say.”