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NPR Arts & Life

Holly Miranda, Ani DiFranco Release Standing Rock Protest Song

On Wednesday, as protesters near the Dakota Access Pipeline began to break down their shelters and leave the area, Brooklyn singer Holly Miranda released a song, a cover of an obscure late-'70s science-fictional folk song, that she'd been working on for two months in support of those leaving.

For the protest song "Midnight Oil," Miranda enlisted 28 people — including Daily Showcreator Lizz Winstead, TV On The Radio's Kyp Malone, Ani DiFranco and Saturday Night Live castmember Sasheer Zamata — to really blow out the choral arrangement that closes the song. Unlike many star-heavy songs of solidarity in the past, "Midnight Oil" is lovely, focused and (actually) uplifting.

"Despite there being so many worthy causes in dire need of help, when we looked at where the biggest fire was Standing Rock seemed the only choice," Miranda said in a statement released alongside the song. Proceeds from "Midnight Oil" will be donated to continuing efforts against the pipeline.

The song is taken from Lumiére, a very strange and beautiful album released by folk singer Cris Williamson in 1978, that Miranda found in a shop in the mountains of upstate New York. Speaking to People, which premiered the track, Miranda said she is "filled with admiration" for the "Midnight Oil" creator. "The more I began to research her, it seemed crazy that I had never heard of her — an out musician and activist who has made 33 records."

From here, as protestors' former dwellings smolder, legal challenges to the pipeline, arguing against both its construction and the pumping of oil through it, are already winding through the court system.

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