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The best kept secret in music


"Donathen Rocks The Vote"

The music blared from the speakers and yet the band’s lead singer repeated over and over the refrain, “You gotta speak louder.”

The Bronx Community College (BCC) concert was one of many voter registration drives held at college campuses across the country under the banner “Rock the Vote,” the nonprofit organization seeking to engage young people in the political process. Hundreds of college students gathered outside the Roscoe Brown Jr. Student Center on Oct. 7, and danced, cheered and, most importantly to the event organizers, registered to vote in the general election on Nov. 2.

Music has a long history of being used as a message for change. This year artists ranging from Bruce Springsteen, to Bonnie Raitt, James Taylor, and the Dixie Chicks were among the musicians who performed in Vote for Change concerts throughout nine swing states.

At BCC, the concert lacked star power, but the general theme was the same. An older group of musicians and political activists used music as a vehicle to encourage voter registration among college students.

“We’re the old hippies trying to teach our children well,” said Donathen Wilkinson, 47, the lead singer of the rock group Donathen.

“This is a rock-your-conscience event,” he said to the audience. “I’m not going to tell you who to vote for. I’m just going to present the evidence. This is what happens if you don’t vote.”

Wilkinson wore a red, white and blue tie-dyed t-shirt that read “The Third War” on it and a “Rock the Vote” pin dangled from his guitar strap. With his dreadlocks flapping about, Wilkinson, who called the event his personal Woodstock, performed “Georgie’s Song,” a politically motivated tune that he wrote nine months ago.

“They steal an election and tear our country to bits in the name of me and you,” he sang. “Though it’s not something that we’d have him to do because we didn’t speak louder when November came along.”

Between sets, Wilkinson said he loves his country, but he doesn’t approve of its politics.

“My music is a portrait of how I see America,” he said. “Artists are supposed to serve as the conscience of their society. Music can be an amazing catalyst for change. I think I probably touched five people today. I think that’s hot.

“You gotta speak louder. You got to scream if you want to be heard. You speak to the whole country when you pull that lever.”

Jackie Gordon heard the band loud and clear. She dragged her son, Eugene, 18, a BCC student studying warehouse management, to register because she fears the government may re-institute the draft.

“We don’t want our son to die,” she said.

When her son filled out the form incorrectly, she grabbed a new one, wrote in the information and pointed to where he needed to sign.

“I wouldn’t have bothered, but we heard the music from way over there and my mom said, ‘let’s get you signed up,’” Eugene said.

- Adam Schupak, Columbia School of Journalism


Stay tuned for an upcomming minidoc from donathen to officially introduce the band to fans everywhere!
First EP release July 2003 entitled Donathen;
re- release of updated debut album, entitled perserverance(2004). Filmed and produced a completely self-funded political rock video in support of "Rock The Vote entitled: Georgie's Song (October 2004). Currently working on a new release scheduled for their apearance at the 2005 NACA Mid-Atlantic Conference. Front man donathen is also performing as an acoustic act backed by his blusey band.


Feeling a bit camera shy


About donathen
Bursting at the loins from the cup of knowledge, smooth donathen, funkmaster james, and miles smiles step out to give it their all every time they come to the flippant stage called life. Time marches on from the fusion of this band, and ever forward do the cogs of infernal notion turn. The vibrations hope to create liquid in your interplanetary pantsmanship. The music brings your liquid hi-fi life to a boil. Mingle with the floating pythons in your brain cavities and groove. The band sprang from donathen's songwriting and the collective melody-blasting. People shake with wonder...whats that? the band, DONATHEN is all kiddies. So quit your primordial fussin and fightin and listen up. LISTEN. OBSERVE. CREATE.