This week, Under The Radar will feature members of Loaded Goat, Konza Swamp Band and KC Bear Fighters, in to tell us all about the upcoming Halfway To Winfield event this Saturday, March 15th at Knuckleheads Saloon. Tune in for an amazing preview!
Winner of the Golden Reel Award for Audio Theater. Performed by the National Audio Theatre Festivals. “Part composition, part horspiel, The Irish Wilderness uses field recordings of the ‘wondrous springs’ of Ripley and Oregon Counties, Missouri, interleaved with ‘traditional tunes known to the Irish Catholics (circa 1859)’ to document the tragic history of the Irish settlers…” –Dan Warburton, Signal to Noise.
The Blind Boys of Alabama aren’t merely a group of singers borrowing from decades-old gospel traditions; rather, they are themselves the group who helped define and cement those traditions during the course of the twentieth century and well into the twenty-first. They first sang together at the Alabama Institute for the Negro Blind in Talladega in the late 1930s. To put that in perspective, the group predates the attack on Pearl Harbor and the development of the twelve-inch vinyl album (only ‘78s’ were available at the time). When they began singing together, “separate but equal” was still a sad summary of race relations in the United States.
Touring throughout the South during the Jim Crow era of the 1940s and 1950s—when blacks were denied the use of whites-only water fountains, bathrooms, and restaurants—the Blind Boys persevered and even flourished thanks to their unique sound, which blended the close harmonies of early jubilee gospel with the more fervent improvisations of hard gospel. During the 1960s, they sang at benefits for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and provided a soundtrack to the Civil Rights movement, which adopted both the Christian message and the dignity of old gospel songs. During the late 1960s and throughout the 1970s, gospel groups that had originated in the church began recording secular music, yet the Blind Boys of Alabama stuck to their calling. “We sing gospel music,” says Carter. “That’s what we do. We’re not going to ever deviate from that.”
Few would have expected them to still be going strong—stronger than ever, even—so many years after they first joined voices, but they’ve proved as productive and as musically ambitious in the twenty-first century as they did in the twentieth. In 2001, they released Spirit of the Century on Peter Gabriel’s RealWorld label, mixing traditional church tunes with songs by Tom Waits and the Rolling Stones, and winning their first Grammy Award. The next year they backed Gabriel on his album Up and joined him on a world tour, although a bigger break may have come when David Simon chose their cover of Waits’ “Way Down in the Hole” as the theme song for the first season of The Wire. The HBO series remains critically regarded as the greatest television show ever aired. Subsequent Grammy-winning albums have found them working with Robert Randolph & the Family Band (2002’s Higher Ground), a plethora of special guests including Waits and Mavis Staples (2003’s Go Tell It On The Mountain), Ben Harper (2004’s There Will Be a Light), and the Preservation Hall Jazz Band (2007’s Down in New Orleans).
Nearly seventy-five years after they hit their first notes together, the Blind Boys of Alabama are exceptional not only in their longevity, but also in the breadth of their catalog and their relevance to contemporary roots music. Since 2000, they’ve won five Grammys and four Gospel Music Awards, and have delivered their spiritual message to countless listeners. “We appreciate the accolades and we thank God for them,” says Jimmy Carter, a founding member and the Blind Boys’ leader for five years now. “But we’re not interesting in money or anything other than singing gospel. We had no idea when we started that we would make it this far. The secret to our longevity is, we love what we do. And when you love what you do, that keeps you motivated. That keeps you alive.”
Loretta Napoleoni answers to audience members in Vancouver about things like how the US helps the terror economy, whether the CIA does the same things as terrorists, and whether they trained Osama bin Laden. (Warning: not all answers may be what you’d like to hear.) This 2-part series is from the WINGS archive. First aired in 2004, when bin Laden was still alive.
Italian economist Loretta Napoleoni, author of Modern Jihad: Tracing the Dollars Behind the Terror Networks
Produced by Frieda Werden.
Before it was legal in the United States, some doctors would risk arrest to provide women with access to safe abortions. When that wasn’t possible, some sought abortions from unsafe providers, often with deadly consequences. The Supreme Court legalized abortion, in 1973, and the numbers of people dying after having an abortion dropped, but are we now seeing a return to the past? On this edition of Making Contact, what can the time before abortion was legal tell us about the dangers of restricting access to abortion today? We’ll hear a special radio adaption of Motherhood by Choice not Chance, a documentary produced and narrated by Dorothy Fadiman.
Reverend Howard Moody, American Baptist Minister; Pastor James Lawson, United Methodist minister; Dr. Connie White, gynecologist; Pat Mitchell, clinic director in Alabama; Dr. Warren Hern, late-term abortion specialist.
Host/Producer: George Lavender
Contributing Producer: Dorothy Fadiman
Producers: Andrew Stelzer
Executive Director: Lisa Rudman
Web Editor: Kwan Booth
Organizational Volunteers: Dan Turner and Barbara Barnett
This week on Sprouts:
President Obama launches a new effort aimed at empowering boys and young men of color, a segment of our society that too often faces disproportionate challenges and obstacles to success.
B.A.M. (Becoming a Man) is a dropout and violence prevention program for at-risk male students in grades 7-12. B.A.M. offers in-school programming, in some cases complemented by after-school sports, to develop social-cognitive skills strongly correlated with reductions in violent and anti-social behavior.
Each session is built around a lesson designed to develop a specific skill through stories, role-playing and group exercises.
Participants learn about and practice impulse control, emotional self-regulation, reading social cues and interpreting intentions of others, raising aspirations for the future and developing a sense of personal responsibility and integrity.
The after-school sports component reinforces conflict resolution skills and the social and emotional learning objectives of the in-school curriculum.
This week on Interfaith Voices:
How Far Does Religious Liberty Go?
Here’s the scenario: two men, or two women, walk into a bakery to order a wedding cake. The owner, a devout Christian, believes same-sex marriage is a sin and refuses to serve them. The couple say it’s plain discrimination. Scenes like this are actually being played out across the country, as a handful of states consider a controversial bill like the one just vetoed in Arizona. Two sides weigh in on why the bill caused such an uproar.
War in Africa: Faith or Economics?
Conflict a year old continues to rage in the Central African Republic. Last March, a coup by Muslim rebels from the north ignited widespread crime and looting. Backlash by the Christian majority has left Muslims fleeing for their lives. But is this conflict really about religious difference? An NPR correspondent says the truth may have more to do with economics and social status.
Experiments with Religion in the Internet’s Early Days
Those first days of the Internet – the 80s to early 90s – were a virtual Wild West, when no one knew exactly what the Web could do, and anything seemed possible. Religious folks were some of the first people to latch on to the new technology, and they came up with all kinds of ways to explore spirituality in the digital realm. Some have lasted (prayer chat rooms) and some haven’t (the ‘noosphere’).
Kellie Fiedorek, attorney with Alliance Defending Freedom
Rob Boston, director of communications for Americans United for the Separation of Church and State
Gregory Warner, East Africa correspondent for NPR
What are the hidden costs of lowest-cost products? Try socially irresponsible labor practices and environmental and community degradation, for starters! Author and economist Michael Shuman portrays how locally-owned businesses and localized economies are circulating innumerable benefits back into the community, while raising environmental quality and the quality of life.