Podcasts

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Photo courtesy of Radio Bilingüe

2020 National Heritage Fellow and founder and executive director of Radio Bilingüe

Poet Jose Marti wrote “With the poor people of the earth I want to cast my lot.” 2020 National Heritage Fellow and Founder and Executive Director of Radio Bilingüe Hugo Morales could well write the same. A Mixtec, born in Oaxaca, he came to California with his mother and siblings when he was nine and joined his father working in the fields in the central valley. Growing up in a farm labor camp, Hugo quickly became aware of the dignity and poverty of the workers and of the sustenance provided by their traditional cultures, especially their music. Hugo’s musician father would often talk about the pride he had in Mixtec traditions and frequently played with other indigenous musicians for farmworkers’ fund-raisers, funerals or dances. Against most odds, Hugo went to Harvard College and Harvard Law School; but, he returned every summer to work in the fields and graduated with a determination to work for farmworkers and give voice to their culture. And so, in 1980, Radio Bilingüe was born. Based on “honest” culture by and for the people, Radio Bilingüe was the first Latino-controlled full-power FM radio station in the San Joaquín Valley. Now, 30 years later, Radio Bilingue is the leading Latino public radio network and content producer for the nation’s public broadcasting system with 24 stations and over 75 affiliates. Listen to the podcast to learn about Hugo’s and Radio Bilingüe’s extraordinary journey.

2020 National Heritage Fellow, Singer, Songwriter

2020 National Heritage Fellow Singer/Songwriter William Bell was the first male solo artist signed by the legendary Stax record label in the early 1960s. With his great sense of melody, rhythm, and lyrics as well as one of the best voices in the business, Bell played a pivotal role in creating a new genre of music known as Southern soul or the Memphis sound. In this podcast, William Bell discusses the pivotal role Stax played in his life and the lives of so many kids in Memphis. We talk and listen to some of his biggest hits like “Born Under a Bad Sign,” and “I Forgot to be Your Lover”, his collaboration with Booker T. Jones and his 2016 Grammy-Award winning album “This Is Where I Live” which he recorded under the newly revived Stax label. He is a born story-teller with a voice like velvet and a lifetime in music.

2020 National Heritage Fellow and Iroquois Raised Beadworker

2020 NEA National Heritage Fellow and Iroquois Raised Beadworker, Karen Ann Hoffman (Oneida Nation of Wisconsin) creates contemporary art that is deeply rooted in the past. Iroquois raised beadwork is unique to the six nations of the Iroquois confederacy, which includes the Oneida. Its hallmark is beads sewn in a such a way that they arch above the fabric creating stunning dimensionality. Hoffman has taken this art to new literal and figurative heights—creating large beaded urns for example. But while her work is deeply connected to the traditions and culture of the Iroquois, her interest is in taking the form and “exploring, expanding and reimagining it against contemporary life.” Hoffman is not just an extraordinarily talented artist, she’s also, as you’ll hear, a passionate advocate for the art form and a fabulous storyteller.

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Photo courtesy of Edwin Remsberg

NEA Director of Folk and Traditional Arts

In this podcast, Clifford Murphy, National Endowment for the Arts Director of Folk and Traditional Arts, introduces the recently announced 2020 NEA National Heritage Fellows. This is the country’s highest honor—a lifetime achievement award—for folk and traditional artists whose life’s work includes both artistic excellence and efforts to sustain cultural traditions for future generations. As Murphy says in the podcast, folk art has been described as “something learned knee-to-knee.” All nine recipients of the Heritage Award serve as exemplary mentors as well as inspired artists. Murphy doesn’t just discuss each artist, he also talks about each art form—whether it’s dance, song, beadwork, or canoe-building—and the culture in which it's embedded. We also talk about some of the ways the folk and traditional arts field has been impacted by the pandemic and creative adjustments that folk and traditional artists have made in response to the crisis. Murphy is not only enormously knowledgeable about the folk and traditional arts, but it's clear he holds a deep love for these arts and the people and communities that create them.

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Photo by Adam Jahiel

Leatherworker and 2019 National Heritage Fellow

Leatherworker and 2019 National Heritage Fellow James F. Jackson creates sculpture by carving leather. Go to his website and check out his work—then listen to the podcast. You really have to see the complexity and beauty of his leatherwork to appreciate our conversation about it. With all his projects, James does the work from start to finish: he designs, cuts, carves, glues, sews, sometimes paints and finishes the leather. And while James has certainly created his share of saddles, he also uses leather as the material for unlikely forms like vessels or lamps or wall hangings. Listen to a gentle man from Sheridan, Wyoming discuss his art, his teaching leatherwork around the world, the significance of traditional arts, and the deep impact of the Sheridan style of carving on Japanese leatherworkers.

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Bob Fulcher

Photo by Sarah Terpstra Hanson

2019 National Heritage Fellow, Folklorist, State Park Manager

For more than 40 years, folklorist, state park manager, and 2019 National Heritage Fellow Bobby Fulcher has been seeking out and recording traditional artists, creating programming around these artists to shine a light on their work, and serving as an inspiration and mentor to multiple generations of young folklorists. That Fucher has accomplished all this while working for Tennessee State Parks really gets to the heart of his vision: the deep connection between traditional culture and the natural environment in which it occurs. He began his career as a naturalist and came to love and cherish not just the environment but also the traditional arts that were created in the Cumberlands of Tennessee. When he first heard traditional banjo music in college, he thought, “If I could learn that, I’d be happy every day there on out.” He did learn the banjo and would bring it with him when he went on his search for little-known traditional musicians because he believed that if you arrive with “a banjo or fiddle in your hand, you’ll make yourself welcome wherever you go.” He is a soft-spoken philosopher who has brought to his work an insatiable curiosity and a deep sense of wonder. You’ll hear it in this podcast—and you’ll also hear some of the old-time music Fucher has shone a light on.

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Photo by Gregg Mizuta

2019 National Heritage Fellow Basque musician and tradition bearer

2019 National Heritage Fellow Basque musician, teacher and restauranteur Dan Ansotegui brings his passion for the Basque culture into everything he does. But he also sees culture as a breathing entity—not something set in amber. The roots of the tree may come from the Basque Region, but those leaves are growing in Boise, Idaho. Ansotegui is a great talker. In this podcast, ­learn about Basque music, dancing, and food (he does it all!) and the deep social connections these traditions give a community.

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Headshot of a man.

Photo by Edwin Remsberg

 

2019 National Heritage Fellow and decoy carver

2019 National Heritage Fellow Rich Smoker has been carving decoys for half a century. He is one of the people who elevated this utilitarian craft to an art form. Rich is a self-described river rat: he grew up along the Susquehanna River in rural Pennsylvania and now lives alongside the Annemessex River in the lower Eastern Shore of Maryland—an area with long and strong tradition of decoy carving. Rich spends hours on the river observing wildlife and pouring through his massive collection of books and images. He’s able to bring those observations and research to his art and realize his vision. Rich is a master of both utilitarian and decorative carving—winning over 500 hundred ribbons, 100 best-in-show awards and a best-in-the world award. But he is also committed to passing this art form to others, particularly younger people and has taught upwards of 2000 students. Rich Smoker is a natural-born storyteller who frequently turns his humor on himself. In this podcast, we learn about his passions: for nature, for carving and for telling a good yarn.

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Linda Goss

Photo by Edwin Remsberg

2019 NEA National Heritage Fellow and Storyteller

Storyteller Linda Goss, one of the pioneers of the Black Storytelling Movement, has just been named a 2019 NEA National Heritage Fellow. Goss is known as “Mama Linda” because of her pathbreaking work, which includes co-founding (with Mother Mary Carter Smith) the National Association of Black Storytellers, unearthing and documenting nearly forgotten stories, serving as a mentor to younger storytellers, and her own exuberant way of telling stories. From the beginning, Mama Linda has recognized the transformative power of storytelling and the importance of bearing witness. She’s a mesmerizing speaker—beginning each storytelling session with her trademark bells and a call to the community to come and listen. She draws listeners into the heart of the story she’s telling; she’ll draw you into the podcast as well! The NEA National Heritage Award is the nation’s highest honor in folk and traditional arts. Have a listen—you’ll see why Mama Linda is a national treasure.

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Eddie Bond

Photo by Pat Jarrett

In Part 1 of my conversation with 2018 National Heritage Fellow and old-time fiddler Eddie Bond, we learned about his deep musical roots and the family and friends that nurtured them. Eddie said that the music has taken him to so many places, and in part 2, we follow him on these travels as Eddie brings his old-time fiddling across the country and around the world—beginning in an unlikely spot: Iraq during the Gulf War where Eddie served as a young soldier.

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