Welcome Home. We are ALL One.

Here is a collection of family immigrant stories from across our human experience.

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Gustavo

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I am excited to be featured on Deepak Chopra's album "Home: Where Everyone Is Welcome." I perform on a track entitled "Border" inspired by Reyna Grande, an American immigrant from Mexico and acclaimed novelist. The song is about tearing down walls and building bridges between communities.

The photo was taken in Montevideo, Uruguay, on August 20th, 1994, a very special date I will never forget, a pivot point in my life, the day I left to America.

On the left side of the picture, my parents Adriana Ocampo and Juan Pedro Casenave, and on the right, my in-laws, Alicia Marchesoni and Santiago Barranguet. In the middle of the picture, myself with 22 years, leaving Uruguay, my family, friends and my girlfriend (now wife, artist Vicky Barranguet), as I was taking a plane for the first time in my life, to study music in America.

Without any tradition of musicians in the family, both of my parents worked with computers (the first computers!), my grandfather was a lawyer’s assistant, and the other one was a Uruguayan Consul, that traveled all the time. My grandmas were housewives. In 1977, my dad, that was playing accordion and a little bit of guitar, with no musical training whatsoever and an exceptional ability to play by ear, decided to buy an upright piano. The first week that the piano arrived home, the 5 kids in the house (2 brothers, 2 sisters and myself), were fighting all day for a spot at the piano, to get to know this new magical member of the family. On the third week, only my brother Gonzo and me, were still fighting for that precious time. After that, and for the last 40 years, I earned my spot, while Gonzo kept that piano and still plays as a hobby.

During my Uruguayan years, I was blessed to have full support on my decision and acknowledgement of being a musician for life, specially from my mother. Immersed in a Uruguayan society, where one gets used to the common comment: "it is great that you are a musician, but what what do you do?" There was never a doubt for me, on what I wanted to do for a living. I also acknowledge my dad's influence and guidance, as well as my father in law Santiago Barranguet and Alicia Marchesoni, who also helped me to focus my life into music, and lived with me the process of leaving Uruguay. But for sure, the most influential being in my musical/life journey, was and is Vicky Barranguet, whom after one year and a half after my departure, joined me in America, and became an immigrant herself. From inspiration, and every type of support, I owe her the world, and the possibility to live doing what I love.

I will never forget the feeling at the airport, the few seconds after long goodbyes, walking alone towards the gate. A mix of adrenaline, excitement, fear, commitment, anticipated nostalgia, and the strongest wish to expand my musical journey, with no boundaries or borders. That special day, my immigration to America started, not really knowing what was coming, nor what to expect, but with the assurance that my musical dream was being followed.

I believe that all immigrants share in their own way, this same feeling, allowing the creation of a moving, intense and dynamic society in search of a concrete goal, which deeply contributes to the American social development and growth.

I am truly honored to be part of this amazing album!