Revisiting The Pioneering Composer Florence Price

Posted in Articles, Arts, Audio, Biography, Media Archive, United States, Women on 2020-06-18 00:10Z by Steven

Revisiting The Pioneering Composer Florence Price

All Things Considered
National Public Radio
2019-01-21

Tom Huizenga, Music Producer


Florence Price was the first African-American woman to have her music performed by a major symphony orchestra.
Special Collections, University of Arkansas Libraries

In 1933, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra gave the world premiere of Symphony No. 1 by a then little-known composer named Florence Price. The performance marked the first time a major orchestra played music by an African-American woman.

Price’s First Symphony, along with her Fourth, has just been released on an album featuring the Fort Smith Symphony, conducted by John Jeter.

Fans of Price, especially in the African-American community, may argue that her music has never really been forgotten. But some of it has been lost. Not long ago, a couple bought a fixer-upper, south of Chicago, and discovered nearly 30 boxes of manuscripts and papers. Among the discoveries in what turned out to be Price’s abandoned summer home was her Fourth Symphony, composed in 1945. This world-premiere recording is another new piece of the puzzle to understanding the life and music of Price, and a particular time in America’s cultural history.

Read the story here. Listen to the story (00:04:00) here.

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Ahamefule J. Oluo: Susan

Posted in Arts, Biography, Live Events, Media Archive, United States, Women on 2020-02-07 18:28Z by Steven

Ahamefule J. Oluo: Susan

The Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center
University of Maryland
8270 Alumni Drive
College Park, Maryland 20742-1625
2020-02-07 and 2020-02-08, 20:00 EST (Local Time)

After moving audiences at The Clarice in 2017, trumpeter, composer and comedian Ahamefule J. Oluo returns with “Susan,” a memoir delivered through wry comedic monologue and live, grand-scale big-band and jazz.

When Susan Hawley was a sophomore in college, she fell in love with a doctoral student from Nigeria. They got married, had two children, and just as their dream life seemed like it was coalescing, her husband went back to Nigeria to visit his family and never contacted her again—leaving her a Midwestern white lady with two African babies. They were desperately poor; Susan began gaining weight rapidly, soon reaching 400 pounds. These were the cards she was dealt. Ahamefule J. Oluo’s theatrical work, Susan, tells his mother’s story as a means to tell the story of millions of women. It is a tangible crystallization of how race, class and size affect people all over the world every day. Despite all that darkness, Susan will be funny. It’s a collection of wry, black, but humane monologues, interspersed with live, grand-scale orchestral music.

This vulnerable theatrical work about his childhood tells the story of how his Midwestern mother was left to raise two bi-racial babies after the sudden departure of her husband. There’s obvious chemistry between Oluo’s singular voice and the grand creation of the music; at times, when the story is too painful for him, the ensemble carries the show. “Susan” is a category-defying reflection on how race, class, and appearance impact everyone—and how we play the hand that we’re dealt.

In 2002, after being selected as Town Hall Seattle’s first-ever artist-in-residence, Oluo realized he wanted to do something different. After years of performing and recording with prominent musicians like John Zorn, Hey Marseilles, Wayne Horvitz and Macklemore, Oluo knew he had his own story to tell—and the diverse set of skills to do it. During his time in residency, he began experimenting with blending big-band, jazz, standup and memoir to formulate a new musical and theatrical identity.

For more information, click here.

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Two new stamps mark 50 years of Thin Lizzy

Posted in Articles, Arts, Europe, History, Media Archive on 2019-10-24 01:24Z by Steven

Two new stamps mark 50 years of Thin Lizzy

The Journal.ie
2019-10-07

Sean Murray

Thin Lizzy_stamp pair

Queues formed at the GPO earlier for fans to get their hands on the new stamps.

AN POST HAS today launched two new stamps to mark fifty years of legendary Irish rock band Thin Lizzy.

Phil Lynott’s daughters Sarah and Cathleen, his grandchildren and ex-wife Caroline were on hand to unveil the new stamps earlier today.

An Post said that queues formed at the GPO in Dublin today with fans snapping up the collector’s items.

One of them features a portrait of Lynott himself by artist Jim Fitzpatrick while the other features the album artwork from Black Rose

Read the entire article here.

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The Artistry of the Soprano Julia Bullock

Posted in Articles, Arts, Media Archive, United States on 2019-10-15 20:10Z by Steven

The Artistry of the Soprano Julia Bullock

The New Yorker
2019-11-16

Russell Platt, Composer and Adjunct Associate Professor of Music
Blair School of Music
Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee


Julia Bullock combines a rare onstage aura with a style that is exacting but not fussy, with hardly an unturned phrase. Photograph by Hiroyuki Ito/Getty

It is rare to find a classical singer who can truly project an aura onstage. Those who are young must seem to carry the wisdom of age; those who are older must avoid the risk of royal self-regard. And there is no instrument to hide behind, no violin to seduce, no piano to pound—a singer’s body is, or course, her instrument. But Julia Bullock, a young soprano who performed her Naumburg Foundation recital last Tuesday at the Metropolitan Museum, definitely has it, and she is off to a fine career.

Bullock, an African-American singer from St. Louis who trained at Eastman Bard, and Juilliard, won first prize last year in the Naumburg International Vocal Competition. Over the years, the Naumburg, through its various awards, has had a penchant for honoring interesting singers who don’t fit easily into the standard operatic categories: trailblazers such as Regina Sarfaty, Dawn Upshaw, Barbara Hendricks, and Lucy Shelton, for example. I can’t yet imagine Bullock walking the boards as Tosca or Violetta, but she has made several strategic forays into opera—such as the title role in Purcell’sThe Indian Queen” at Madrid’s Teatro Real and at the English National Opera, and, later this month, she will appear in Saariaho’sLa Passion de Simone,” at the Deutsche Oper Berlin (directed by Peter Sellars). But her recital had its own kind of drama, not the less effective for being so refined…

Read the entire article here.

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Julia Bullock Gets to the Heart of Things

Posted in Articles, Arts, Media Archive, United States, Women on 2019-10-15 01:38Z by Steven

Julia Bullock Gets to the Heart of Things

San Francisco Classical Voice
2017-11-15

Lou Fancher


Julia Bullock in her Carnegie Hall debut | Credit: Hiroyuki Ito/The New York Times

Never in a million years will people viewing Julia Bullock as she strides the War Memorial Opera House floorboards as Dame Shirley suspect there is vulnerability undergirding every step. Nor will the 31-year-old soprano’s direct delivery of transparent tones in the world premiere of John Adams’s Girls of the Golden West, a San Francisco Opera production, hint at the fragile ego and self-doubt she’s worked hard to overcome.

The assumption will be made — even with keen scrutiny and by kindred spirits — that Bullock’s inner engine runs with conscious, creative intensity and is engineered with resilient intellect and the agile instincts of the tap dancer she, during her childhood in St. Louis, Missouri, trained to become.

And every part of all of that — the not so obvious and the apparent — will be true…

…In her role as Dame Shirley, she portrays a real life historical character; a white, educated woman who emerged from the Victorian era and was “stripped of privilege” as she moved across the United States from Boston to San Francisco. Working from archives that primarily include letters written by Louise Clappe (the real name of Dame Shirley), Bullock, as a mixed race 21st-century woman who identifies herself as, “half-white, half-black,” finds points of access. “Shirley [in her letters] shows she communicated with individuals for whom she had no reference points. She was a careful and sensitive observer of the world. She wrote about it with the most sophisticated words she could provide. Her wit has carried me through, kept me from getting pulled down. She has light, even in the dimmest moments.”…

Read the entire article here.

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Brittany Howard finds freedom after Alabama Shakes

Posted in Articles, Arts, Media Archive, United States on 2019-09-26 00:28Z by Steven

Brittany Howard finds freedom after Alabama Shakes

BBC News
2019-09-25

Mark Savage, BBC music reporter

Brittany Howard
Brittany Howard: “If I was going to make a solo record, I knew it had to be something true.” Brantley Gutierrez

In the middle of making her new album, Brittany Howard decided to record the air conditioner.

Holding a microphone to ceiling, she captured the unit’s electromagnetic pulse, turned it into a tape loop, then transposed it onto a keyboard.

“In the end, I think we were overly ambitious,” she reflects. “Because it turned out to be terrible.”

The experiment may have been scrapped, but it illustrates the sense of freedom Howard felt as she made her first solo album…

Read the entire article here.

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Hip Hop Beats, Indigenous Rhymes: Modernity and Hip Hop in Indigenous North America

Posted in Anthropology, Books, Media Archive, Monographs, Native Americans/First Nation, United States on 2019-09-24 23:29Z by Steven

Hip Hop Beats, Indigenous Rhymes: Modernity and Hip Hop in Indigenous North America

SUNY Press
April 2018
194 pages
Hardcover ISBN13: 978-1-4384-6945-4
Paperback ISBN13: 978-1-4384-6946-1

Kyle T. Mays, Assistant Professor
Department of African American Studies and American Indian Studies
University of California, Los Angeles

Argues that Indigenous hip hop is the latest and newest assertion of Indigenous sovereignty throughout Indigenous North America.

Expressive culture has always been an important part of the social, political, and economic lives of Indigenous people. More recently, Indigenous people have blended expressive cultures with hip hop culture, creating new sounds, aesthetics, movements, and ways of being Indigenous. This book documents recent developments among the Indigenous hip hop generation. Meeting at the nexus of hip hop studies, Indigenous studies, and critical ethnic studies, Hip Hop Beats, Indigenous Rhymes argues that Indigenous people use hip hop culture to assert their sovereignty and challenge settler colonialism. From rapping about land and water rights from Flint to Standing Rock, to remixing “traditional” beading with hip hop aesthetics, Indigenous people are using hip hop to challenge their ongoing dispossession, disrupt racist stereotypes and images of Indigenous people, contest white supremacy and heteropatriarchy, and reconstruct ideas of a progressive masculinity. In addition, this book carefully traces the idea of authenticity; that is, the common notion that, by engaging in a Black culture, Indigenous people are losing their “traditions.” Indigenous hip hop artists navigate the muddy waters of the “politics of authenticity” by creating art that is not bound by narrow conceptions of what it means to be Indigenous; instead, they flip the notion of “tradition” and create alternative visions of what being Indigenous means today, and what that might look like going forward.

Table of Contents

  • Preface: A Note on Language: Black English and Uncensored Mode
  • Acknowledgments
  • Introduction: Can We Live and Be Modern and Indigenous?: Toward an Indigenous Hip Hop Culture
  • 1. #NotYourMascot: Indigenous Hip Hop Artists as Modern Subjects
  • 2. The Fashion of Indigenous Hip Hop
  • 3. Indigenous Masculinity in Hip Hop Culture: Or, How Indigenous Feminism Can Reform Indigenous Manhood
  • 4. “He’s just tryna be black”: The Intersections of Blackness and Indigeneity in Hip Hop Culture
  • 5. Rhyming Decolonization: A Conversation with Frank Waln, Sicangu Lakota
  • Conclusion: “It’s bigger than Hip Hop”: Toward the Indigenous Hip Hop Generation
  • Notes
  • Works Cited
  • Index
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The Greek-American R&B Legend Who Passed as Black

Posted in Articles, Arts, Biography, History, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2019-09-22 02:49Z by Steven

The Greek-American R&B Legend Who Passed as Black

Zócalo Public Square
2018-12-17

Kristen E. Broady, Dean and Professor of Economics
College of Business
Dillard University, New Orleans, Louisiana


An Excelsior Records advertisement features R&B pioneer Johnny Otis between blues singer Jimmy Rushing and bandleader Gerald Wilson. Courtesy of Flickr.

Johnny Otis Felt He Had Been ‘Saved’ by the Political, Spiritual, and Moral Force of African-American Culture

If a role exists in black music that Johnny Otis couldn’t play, it would be hard to find. Known as the godfather of rhythm and blues, Otis was a bandleader, talent scout, singer, drummer, minister, journalist, and television show host. Between 1950 and 1952, Johnny and his band recorded 15 top 40 R&B blues hits. He discovered, produced and promoted a roster of stars, including Etta James, Little Esther, and Jackie Wilson.

Otis was not only a trailblazer in the world of music but also a religious leader and political activist. Born seven months after the beginning of the 1921 Tulsa Race Riot, he lived through Supreme Court decisions that decriminalized interracial marriage, barred racial gerrymandering of political districts, and ended covenants barring black Americans from owning property. He witnessed the inauguration of the nation’s first African-American president and was a friend of Malcolm X and an enemy of racial oppression. Yet Johnny Otis, arguably one of the most important figures in mid-century black music in America, was not actually black. He was white, passing as black

Read the entire article here.

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Emeli Sandé is done worrying what other people think

Posted in Articles, Arts, Autobiography, Interviews, Media Archive, United Kingdom on 2019-09-19 22:32Z by Steven

Emeli Sandé is done worrying what other people think

gal-dem
2019-09-18

Charlie Brinkhurst Cuff

The first time I met Emeli Sandé was on a wild night out. Age 19 and at the only hip-hop club night in Edinburgh, my friends and I were dancing when a group of men led us off the dancefloor and into a VIP area, where Emeli was socialising. As it turned out, one of those men was Emeli’s husband. We spent the night shimmying and doing shots and I remember wondering how she was going to get on stage the next day. It was a late one. But when, on the band’s invitation, we attended her concert, her voice soared across one of Edinburgh’s most opulent venues. “If someone can sing like that on a hangover,” I thought, “I have no choice but to stan”.

On this, our second meeting then, I feel obligated to bring up our first. “That was fun! I remember that night,” Emeli says. We’re sitting in a small, Ethiopian restaurant in Camden called The Queen of Sheba, settling down to eat a vast platter of injera with accompanying stews and sauces and talk about Emeli’s new album, Real Life. After a complimentary glass of Ethiopian honey wine, we settle straight in.

This album comes three years after her last outing, Long Live the Angels and seven years after her debut album catapulted the 32-year-old singer to fame. “This time it was really different. Like I built a studio in my house,” she says. “I finally had the freedom of ‘a room of one’s own’.”…

Read the entire article here.

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The Tale of Hollywood’s Most Curious Career Imposter

Posted in Articles, Arts, Biography, History, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2019-09-01 02:44Z by Steven

The Tale of Hollywood’s Most Curious Career Imposter

Messy Nessy: Cabinet of Chic Curiosities
2019-07-11

Francky Knapp

Korla Pandit (John Roland Redd)

Sex sells, and it sells even better with a dash of mystery. For every housewife in mid-century America, the enigmatic charm of Indian performer Korla Pandit was the ticket to getting weak in the knees before the kids came home from school. In the 15 minutes allotted to The Korla Pandit Program, the performer brought a scintillating new rhythm to suburbia’s ho-hum beat. Every week, he’d grace the small screen and play the sultry sounds of Miserlou with a coy smile, wearing a bejewelled turban, and flashing those soul-searching bedroom eyes. It was all part of his schtick, of course, and one of the most strangest in Hollywood history, given that Pandit wasn’t Indian, but African American. Today, the persona he created opens up a dialogue about race, fame, and surprising flexibility of truth…

Korla Pandit (John Roland Redd) as a child

Read the entire article here.

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