Leyla McCalla: Vari-Colored Songs – A Tribute to Langston Hughes

Leyla McCalla: Vari-Colored Songs – A Tribute to Langston Hughes

Virtuous Circle Listening Post 298. Leyla McCalla stands enigmatically on the cover of Vari-Colored Songs, her dress pattern suggesting the solution to a puzzle: Connect the dots. On the album she sings eight Langston Hughes poems that she set to music, five...
Long Time Passing: Kronos Quartet & Friends Celebrate Pete Seeger

Long Time Passing: Kronos Quartet & Friends Celebrate Pete Seeger

A Man for All Seasons Listening Post 287. Just as we remember Bach and Beethoven, future generations will surely know Pete Seeger (1919-2014). From McCarthy-era blacklisting to performing at President Barack Obama’s inauguration, with an ebullient tenor and wielding a...
Wu Fei & Abigail Washburn

Wu Fei & Abigail Washburn

Two Cultures, 26 Strings Listening Post 252. “Pity the nation,” wrote Lawrence Ferlinghetti, “that knows no language but its own.” Far more satisfying than pity is listening to Wu Fei and Abigail Washburn, who know one another’s languages and express their familiarity...
Mariachi Los Camperos: De Ayer Para Siempre

Mariachi Los Camperos: De Ayer Para Siempre

United States of Music Listening Post 234. The U.S.-Mexican border looms large in American discourse these days, but when it comes to the mariachi landscape the frontier barely exists. From Guadalajara to Hollywood to the facing shores of the Rio Grande/Rio Bravo, one...
Songs of Our Native Daughters

Songs of Our Native Daughters

Learning to Fly Listening Post 213. Sitting in a New York theater, Rhiannon Giddens was angered by a movie scene of a slave being raped. As the victim emerged into a group of onlookers, the camera focused not on her but on her husband, impelled by the assault to join...