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Monday
Jan262015

Eric Whitacre's Water Night

NOTE: This blog entry originally appeared in June 2012

by Cristy Meiners, producer

Classical composer Eric Whitacre must be a publicist’s dream: talented, well-spoken, pop star good looks (check out that hair), married to another talented musician, soprano Hila Plitmann (what is the art world’s equivalent of power couple?), and absolutely dedicated to his craft.  His interview with Bob was thoughtful and surprisingly playful for a man who has a Grammy and three chart topping albums under his belt, including his most recent, Water Night.  

Learn more about Whitacre at his website

and below are Whitacre’s three virtual choirs:

Friday
Jan232015

Bob Edwards Weekend (January 23-24, 2015)

 

HOUR ONE:

Melissa Fay Greene was on this program in 2006 to talk about a middle-class Ethiopian widow whose home became a refuge for hundreds of AIDS-orphaned children.  She told that story in her book There Is No Me Without You. In the years since then, Greene and her husband have adopted four children from Ethiopia. Those kids joined another son adopted from Bulgaria as well as Greene’s four other children by birth. When the number of children hit nine, Greene turned her reporter’s eye to events at home and she wrote No Biking in the House Without a Helmet. Today, we present this interview as an act of remembrance. One of Greene’s adopted sons died tragically in October at the age of 20.

 

HOUR TWO:   

Bob talks to Marion Jacobson, an ethnomusicologist and accordionist, about her book Squeeze This!: A Cultural History of the Accordion in America.  It’s the first history of the piano accordion to trace the evolution of the instrument from its invention in 19th century Vienna to its inclusion in nearly every style of American music today - from polka, Cajun and klezmer to Tejano, classical and rock n’ roll.

Bob speaks with psychology professor, cognitive scientist, music fan and musician Daniel Levitin about exactly what happens to us when we listen to the radio.  Levitin is the author of This is Your Brain on Music: The Science of a Human Obsession.

Friday
Jan232015

The Bob Edwards Show Schedule (January 26-30, 2015)

 

The Bob Edwards Show Highlights are subject to change, for up-to-date highlights go to http://www.bobedwardsradio.com.

                        

The Bob Edwards Show airs on Sirius XM Insight – Channel 121

M-F 6-7 AM ET

Encore presentations:

             M- F 7-8 AM

             M-F 8-9 AM

 

Monday, January 26, 2015: Grammy award-winning composer and conductor Eric Whitacre is one of the few living composers who has topped the classical charts.  Best-known for his “Virtual Choir” projects on YouTube, Whitacre is a musician who pushes the boundaries of music and still finds popular acclaim.  He talks with Bob about his career and his 2012 album titled Water Night. Then, guitarist and singer Chuck Prophet, discusses recording his in Mexico City – amid petty corruption, through an earthquake and frequent power outages and during the height of the Swine Flu hysteria of 2009. The CD is called Let Freedom Ring and Prophet will perform a few tracks in our studio.

 

Tuesday, January 27, 2015: Today is International Holocaust Remembrance Day and also the anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz concentration camp. To mark the occasion, Bob visits with Nobel Peace Prize winner, author, activist and Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel. Then, we’ll get a guided tour of the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam from director Hans Westra. The Jewish girl and her family hid in the building for two years until they were discovered and sent to their deaths in concentration camps. Her story has lived on thanks to her book The Diary of a Young Girl.

 

Wednesday, January 28, 2015: Environmentalist John Francis went 17 years without saying a word. He was tired of having to explain to people why he gave up using motorized transportation – a boycott which lasted 22 years. Francis shares with Bob what he learned about listening and about the kindness of strangers.  He wrote about his experiences in the books, Planetwalker and more recently The Ragged Edge of Silence.

 

Thursday, January 29, 2015: Bob speaks with Pulitzer Prize winning cartoonist Jules Feiffer in front of a live audience at The Smithsonian Institution. Feiffer is a member of the Comic Book Hall of Fame and has written respected screenplays, books and plays.  In 2006, Feiffer received the Benjamin Franklin Creativity Award. And today is Feiffer’s 86th birthday. Mike Luckovich has won two Pulitzer Prizes for his editorial cartoons.  He calls the Pulitzer “the ultimate coloring contest.” Luckovich is the staff editorial cartoonist for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution but his work is also syndicated to hundreds of papers nationwide and regularly appears in Time, Newsweek, The Washington Post, and The New York Times.

 

Friday, January 30, 2015: In July 2005, Scott Hicks began filming a documentary about Philip Glass. Hicks had unprecedented access to the composer, following him across three continents – from his annual ride on the Coney Island “Cyclone” to the world premiere of his new opera in Germany to a didgeridoo concert in Australia.  Now Glass: A Portrait of Philip in Twelve Parts is available on DVD. Then, another documentary. Long before pay-per-view, the WWE and Hulk Hogan, the world of professional wrestling was like the Wild West. And Memphis was its Dodge City. Director Chad Schaffler tells the story of Memphis wrestling, from the carnival days of Sputnik Monroe, to integration, female wrestlers, and Jerry “The King” Lawler, who famously wrestled Andy Kauffman. The film is titled, Memphis Heat: The True Story of Memphis Wrasslin’.

 

Friday
Jan232015

Playing for Change

NOTE: THIS BLOG ORIGINALLY APPEARED IN MARCH 2012

by Chad Campbell, senior producer

I can remember Bob talking about this video and showing it to me in his office about two or three years ago. It features many different artists around the world adding their own instruments and styles to a street musician’s performance of Ben E. King’s 1960’s hit “Stand By Me.” I thought it was pretty cool, but nothing really came of it until I got an email pitch about talking with the founder of the project and a few of the musicians. Before we go much farther, maybe you should watch the original video now.

This was all thanks to the concept and the hard work of audio engineer Mark Johnson, the founder of Playing for Change. Stand By Me was their first “song around the world” -  Johnson and his team have assembled several songs and videos in this manner - starting with a simple solo performance and layering for example, harmonica from New Orleans, drums from the Congo, saxophone from Italy and another vocalist from the Netherlands. Johnson gathered the musicians into a band which just wrapped up a leg of touring. And they have also released two CDs, the latest is called PFC 2: Songs Around the World. In addition to the music making and selling side, there’s also a non-profit organization called Playing for Change. The foundation side wants to “connect the world through music” and has helped build community-run music schools so far in Rwanda, Mali, Nepal, South Africa and Ghana. Click here to learn more about their mission and for ideas of how to donate your time or money.

The Stand By Me video featured three vocalists - the original street performance of Roger Ridley in California, “Grandpa” Elliott Small in New Orleans and Clarence Bekker in the Netherlands. Sadly, Ridley died not long after he was able to see the finished product, but Bekker and Grandpa Elliott, along with band member Jason Tamba on guitar joined us in our performance studio to sing a few songs. They performed A Change is Gonna Come, I’d Rather Go Blind and Stand By Me. In addition to being a member of the Playing for Change band, Bekker also has a solo CD that has just come out. It’s called Old Soul and features covers of Sam and Dave, Al Green, Otis Redding and many others.

Finally, here are a few more videos of songs that Playing for Change took around the world.

 

Friday
Jan162015

The Bob Edwards Show Schedule (January 19-23, 2015)

 

Monday, January 19, 2015: In honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s birthday we bring back Bob’s conversation with Clarence Jones.  Jones served as Dr. King’s attorney and advisor for eight years and helped craft some of King’s most beloved speeches. Jones is the author of What Would Martin Say and of Behind the Dream: The Making of a Speech that Transformed a Nation. Then, Bob talks with Rolling Stone contributing editor Anthony DeCurtis about a collection of CDs titled Let Freedom Sing: The Music of the Civil Rights Movement

Tuesday, January 20, 2015: Following World War II, the United States secretly brought over a number of former Nazi scientists, ignoring and hiding their crimes against humanity.  Best-selling author Annie Jacobsen details this covert plan in her book Operation Paperclip: The Secret Intelligence Program That Brought Nazi Scientists to America. Then, in the last few decades, there have been hundreds of changes to the experience of parenting.  Jennifer Senior writes about them in her book titled All Joy and No Fun: The Paradox of Modern Parenthood. Both books are out in paperback today.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015: Bob speaks with Eugene Jarecki, director of the documentary Why We Fight.  Inspired by the U.S. government-funded propaganda films of Frank Capra during World War Two, Jarecki updates the reasons why the United States goes to war and strips away the pro-government biases of Capra’s work.

Thursday, January 22, 2015: Melissa Fay Greene was on this program in 2006 to talk about a middle-class Ethiopian widow whose home became a refuge for hundreds of AIDS-orphaned children.  She told that story in her book There Is No Me Without You. In the years since then, Greene and her husband have adopted four children from Ethiopia. Those kids joined another son adopted from Bulgaria as well as Greene’s four other children by birth. When the number of children hit nine, Greene turned her reporter’s eye to events at home and she wrote No Biking in the House Without a Helmet. Greene says she titled the book after one of the dumbest things she ever said to her children.

Friday, January 23, 2015: Bob talks with Mark Johnson, the founder of Playing for Change and the producer of two albums recorded by the street musicians Johnson has met since he started the organization in 2004. The group’s breakout hit was a cover of “Stand by Me” recorded by many different musicians around the world and in their own style. That video mixed them all together and has more than 40 million views on YouTube. Then, Bob talks with Clarence Bekker, Grandpa Elliott and Jason Tamba, just a few of the international musicians affiliated with the band.  The members of Playing for Change were here in 2012 to talk about their album titled PFC 2: Songs Around the World.