From Musicians in their own words, an NPR series produced by David Schulman: The French singer Camille Dalmais, better known as Camille, has many voices inside her. She makes her music by overlaying everything from a sniffle to a growl to an operatic F-sharp. She speaks about the intimacy of the French language, spirituality and finding a natural music in the sound of everyday speech.
From Hidden Kitchens, an NPR series by the The Kitchen Sisters (Davia Nelson & NIkki Silva): Imagine a Mozart Festival without a note of Mozart. Instead, more than 60 artists from around the world were invited to Vienna by director Peter Sellars and asked to pick up where the musical and social visionary left off, to create new works of art. Called “New Crowned Hope,” for the free-thinking Masonic Lodge in Vienna of which Mozart was a member, it was a month-long, genre-spanning event linking agriculture and culture, with food at its heart. It featured a Maori dance troupe; a Venezuelan street chorus singing a new opera by John Adams; new films from Chad, Iran and Paraguay; Mark Morris’ dance company; Chez Panisse founder and culinary activist Alice Waters; lunch ladies from across Europe; and farmers, chefs and seed-savers from throughout Austria. Aired on NPR Morning Edition. Mixed by Jim McKee of Earwax Productions. Music: John Adams, David Williamson, Frances Nelson, Sarah Folger & harmonia mundi, and Wieslaw Pogorzelski.
From Musicians in their own words: Beyond-Brazilian musician Cyro Baptista is fluent in the musical languages of samba, cabela, and yoyoma. Also, squirrel. He proves it in this piece, and demonstrates how he narrowly averted disaster during a recording session with the fearsome-to-some-people soprano Kathleen Battle. Cyro’s secret weapon? A vacuum cleaner hose. (More at PRX).
Sam is a talented and articulate young jazz musician, brought to the United States at age 5 by his Mexican parents. He stayed out of trouble, was drum major of his high school’s marching band, fell in love with playing jazz on the tenor sax, and got his diploma with honors — only to find that for an “illegal,” graduation marks a dead end. Though Sam dreams of attending college to study jazz performance, he hides his status from even his closest friends. He can’t legally work, drive, get financial aid, or even gain admission to some colleges. “American Dreamer” follows him from his high school graduation, through the following summer, as he struggles to raise money to continue his education and weighs the risks of working and driving illegally against his own desire to achieve his American dream. Aired on NPR Latino USA and All Things Considered.. A one-hour version is at PRX and Long Haul Productions (Dan Collison & Elizabeth Meister). Produced with help from the Paul Robeson Fund for Independent Media and the National Endowment for the Arts.
From Morning Edition, June 2001 “Unfinished Business— Daughters of Destiny:”
Sez the Sisters:
On Monday, Joe Frazier, the great heavyweight boxing champion, died. We had the honor of interviewing Smokin’ Joe at his gym in Philadelphia in 2001. A sweet man, a tough man, a man with eleven children, a man who was caught square in the racial politics of the 1960s. Joe was in the ring that day with his son, Marvis, training his 39-year-old daughter, Jacqui as she prepared to fight Muhammed Ali’s daughter, Laila, and avenge her father’s lost title.The fight was billed “Ali vs. Frazier IV” and fought at a casino on the Oneida Nation in upstate New York. Jacqui and Laila’s match was a continuation of the blood feud that fueled their fathers’ three title fights in the 1970s. We were there to record that story.
We came and went from the gym in Philly, chronicling the saga of the Frazier family, seeing Joe add two cents here, a jab there, struggling with his words and his stories. He was gracious and kind to us. We honor him today.
We called our story “Unfinished Business: Daughters of Destiny.” It aired on Morning Edition a decade ago. Sportswriter Burt Sugar’s description of Frazier’s “bodacious, pluperfect punch” in the 15th round that dropped Ali at Madison Square Garden is mesmerizing.
Pasquale Spensieri spends his days driving around Brooklyn looking for dull blades. When he rings the bell on his truck, the owners of upholstery shops, restaurants and pizza parlors come out with knives and scissors to sharpen. Pasquale’s father first started sharpening knives during the Depression, with a pedal-operated grinding machine strapped to his back. At that time, there were hundreds of door-to-door grinders in New York. Today, at the age of 71, Pasquale is one of the last. Produced by Joe Richman and Emily Botein (WNYC) for their series New York Works.
Since the 1880s, Mohawk Indian ironworkers have been known for their ability to work high steel. From the Empire State Building to the the World Trade Center, generations of Mohawks have helped shape New York City’s skyline. Each week, they commute to Manhattan from their reservation in Canada, framing the city’s skyscrapers and bridges. In September 2001, after the fall of the Trade Center Towers, the sons and nephews of these men returned to the site to dismantle what their elders had helped to build.
The first all-girl radio station in the nation, WHER-Memphis, went on-air in 1955. It was the brainchild of sound legend Sam Phillips, who created the groundbreaking format with money he raised from selling Elvis Presley’s Sun Studios contract. Women almost exclusively ran the station. They read the news, interviewed local celebrities, and spun popular records. They sold and produced commercials, directed and engineered programming, and sat at the station’s control boards.
NPR’s Susan Stamberg hosts this one hour special on WHER, produced for the Kitchen Sisters’ series Lost and Found Sound. Mixed by Jim McKee of Earwax.
The Kitchen Sisters are looking for stories and images and videos and writings.
We’re launching a new multimedia series on NPR this January, a listener collaboration in the tradition of Hidden Kitchens, Lost & Found Sound, and The Sonic Memorial Project. This one’s about girls. Girls and the women they become. Stories of coming of age, rituals and rites of passage, secret identities. Of women who crossed a line, broke a trail, changed the tide.
Small everyday stories, dramatic life and death stories. Stories from the middle of the city, to the middle of nowhere.
What women should we know about? What girl’s story should we tell? The famous, the infamous, the unknown, the untold. Women with public lives. Women with secret lives.
Call our NPR Storyline at 202-408-9576 and tell us your story, or the story of someone we need to chronicle. Or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
And here’s The Contest. We want you to help us name this new NPR series. We’ve called it The Secret Life of Girls Around the World, The Scheherazade Project, 1001 Stories, all names we like but can’t go with for one reason or another. So, we turn to you to join our brainstorming sessions. You can call or email us with your suggestions. Whoever picks the title will be featured on our website, get the full line of Kitchen Sisters products and productions, a wild boar dinner with forager, Angelo Garro, and the deep satisfaction of hearing the title you came up with on NPR throughout the year.
This soon-to-be-titled project will be full of richly layered sound and striking images, created by people around the world who help capture these stories of eccentric, trailblazing women and ground-breaking girls.
Join The Kitchen Sisterhood and help launch this new multimedia collaboration.