Archive for August, 2011

in the aftermath

August 31, 2011

There is so much to say about the flooding from the last few days here in Vermont. Here are a few good places you can check for the latest updates:

Burlington Free Press

Barre-Montpelier Times-Argus

VT Digger

Vermont Public Radio’s storm damage coverage page

This blog isn’t about hard news, it wasn’t really created to be a forum for that kind of discussion. Not that it can’t be, but for the most part I am usually just focusing on those areas that don’t get attention from mainstream media: unique festivals, cool new recordings, local talent and concerts, international music.

Now that the flood waters are receding I’ve been noticing how the landscape has been transformed in both terrible AND, yes, beautiful ways. Today I discovered an entire area near the Winooski River near Richmond, VT where the water lines from the flood were well into the lower tree branches aroud the wetland: anywhere from 7-10 feet above where they normally are. The entire forest floor was a strangely serene scene of ghostly, wrecked beauty.

This blog is also about beauty, wherever it may be found. Here are some photos I took today as the residual floodwaters from Tropical Storm Irene are subsiding.

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three feet high and rising.

August 30, 2011

This past May you might recall an article here that was devoted to thoughts and photos from the spring flooding, along Lake Champlain…it was called “how high’s the water, mama?” and turned out to be one of my most popular posts. There are just some things that pictures can express better than words. At the time it seemed like that was a sort of final look at flooding in this area, at least for a while.

That all changed two days ago when Tropical Storm Irene swept up the East Coast, leaving devastating floods in its wake.

Vermont has been the hardest hit of the states touched by Irene. As I write this, Tuesday afternoon Aug. 30th, three people are confirmed dead and a fourth is still missing. Thousands of people are out of power, and thousands more are still displaced. Thirteen Vermont towns are isolated, with all of the roads around them being washed out. Three of the state’s historic covered bridges were also swept away in the deluge, along with untold numbers of homes, businesses, and personal property.

Here are some resources if you can volunteer, or if you need help:

#VTResponse – tag for volunteer information & requests

American Red Cross – VT/NH chapter

The Seven Days ‘blurt’ blog: How to Help

The VT Volunteer Resource blog

Road Conditions in Vermont

Vermont Public Radio’s storm coverage and stories

MSNBC Irene photo blog

It was strange and surreal to wake up yesterday morning to brilliant blue skies dotted by perfect puffs of white clouds – one of the prettiest VT days I can recall. The storm had passed, leaving behind a crystalline day with perfect temps in the 70s – and that was the backdrop, against which the shocking videos, photos, and personal stories from the storm began to emerge.  My own photos from the last couple of days are below.

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playlist #170 (8/29/11)-after the storm

August 30, 2011

World of Music
Pgm #170 – Hurricane/Tropical Storm Irene made its way up the East Coast yesterday. Vermont has been the state hardest hit by flooding, with three confirmed dead, thousands out of power, thousands more displaced, and entire towns destroyed and cut off due to washed out roads and bridges. Today’s show is dedicated to the incredible people of my home state as we try to recover from this disaster. (The thumbnails above are all from photos I’ve taken over the last couple of days. There are no words to describe the breadth of this situation.)

I’m also sad to say this my last program, as life is taking me to Boston for a new job. It has been my great pleasure for nearly three years to share Monday afternoons with you and groove to great tunes at The Radiator (community radio 105.9FM in Burlington, VT and online at Check it out.)

And a great many thanks to everyone who makes the station possible: volunteers, staff, underwriters, and…you, the community. Here’s my last “World of Music” playlist.
Nas with Youssou N’Dour & Neneh Cherry: Wake Up (It’s Africa Calling) / Open Remix / (download) – (USA / SENEGAL)
Langston Hughes: Our Souls Have Grown Deep Like The Rivers / Our Souls Have Grown Deep Like The Rivers-Black Poets Read Their Work / Rhino WordBeat 8012 – (USA)
Trombone Shorty: Hurricane Season / Backatown / Verve Forecast 14194 – (N’AWLINS, USA)
Black Kold Madina: Trouble The Water / Trouble The Water / BKM 1 – (N’AWLINS, USA)
Free Agents Brass Band: We Made It Through That Water / Treme HBO Soundtrack / HBO 14910 – (N’AWLINS, USA)
Sister Rosetta: Didn’t It Rain? / This Train / Proper Box 1304 – (USA)
Kermit Ruffins: I Can See Clearly Now / Livin’ a Tremé Life / Basin Street Records 107 – (N’AWLINS, USA)
Stewart Sukuma: Kadivaé Mõnõ / Mozambique Relief / Naxos World 76019 – (MOZAMBIQUE)
Allen Toussaint: Hang Tough / Crescent City Gold / High Street Records 10324 – (N’AWLINS, USA)
Stanton Moore: When The Levees Break / III / Stanton Moore (self-produced) 83648 – (N’AWLINS, USA)
Kronos Quartet & Nihavent Sirto: Tanburi Cemil Bey / Floodplain / Nonesuch 518349 – (TURKEY)
Tom Waits: More Than Rain / Franks Wild Years / Island Records 422-842-357 – (USA)
The Jim Cullum Jazz Band: Deep River / Deep River / Riverwalk Jazz Volume VIII 1998 – (USA)
Rebirth Brass Band: Tornado Special (Ooh Nay Nay) / Ultimate Rebirth Brass Band / MG 1085 – (N’AWLINS, USA)
Stevie Ray Vaughan: Texas Flood / Texas Flood / Epic 38734 – (USA)
Dr. Michael White: Katrina / Blue Crescent / Basin Street Records 504 – (N’AWLINS, USA)
Aaron Neville: Cry Me A River & The Greatest Love / My Greatest Gift / Rounder 2102 – (N’AWLINS, USA)
Gumbo: It’s Raining / Never Tell Me To Quit / Wild Rose Artists 2009 – (USA)
Allen Toussaint: Long, Long Journey / The Bright Mississippi / Nonesuch 480380 – (N’AWLINS, USA)
The Subdudes: It’s So Hard / Annunciation / High Street Records 10323 – (N’AWLINS, USA)
Louis Armstrong: What A Wonderful World / Louis Armstrong-Ken Burns Jazz / Columbia Legacy 61440 – (N’AWLINS, USA)
The Blind Boys of Alabama: I’ll Fly Away / Down in New Orleans / Time Life 19548 – (USA)

wom on vacation today

August 22, 2011

World of Music is taking a little time off this week to enjoy summer – we’ll be back next week with the usual unpredictable mix of blues, jazz, and international grooves.

Have a great week!


August 20, 2011

Summer’s slipping away fast. Here are some of my favorite shots from the season, …. so far.

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playlist #169 (8/15/11)-a world tasting sampler

August 15, 2011

World of Music
Pgm #169 – A little taste of all over
Catch the show on Mondays 3-5pm ET – at 105.9FM in Burlington, VT or online at The Radiator
Nas with Youssou N’Dour & Neneh Cherry: Wake Up (It’s Africa Calling) / Open Remix / (download) – (USA / SENEGAL)
Alemayehu Eshete: Filiklikë / The Best of Alemayehu Eshete – The Ethiopian Legend Series / AIT Records 13 – (ETHIOPIA)
Freshlyground: Waliphalal’igazi / Radio Africa / Freeground Records 11 – (SOUTH AFRICA)
Sara Tavares featuring Ana Moura: De Nua / Balancé / Times Square Records 9054 – (CAPE VERDE)
Roswell Rudd & The Mongolian Buryat Band: Honey on the Moon / Blue Mongol / Soundscape 1147 – (USA / MONGOLIA)
Sabakoe: Vyent Prisiri / The Best of Sabakoe Vol. 1 / Stemra 6 – (SURINAM)
Moussut e Lei Jovents: Comme 2 Mouches / Putan de Cançon / Manivette Records 167 – (FRANCE)
Amadou & Mariam: La Réalité / Dimanche à Bamako / Nonesuch 79912 – (MALI)
Omar Souleyman: Hafer Gabrak Bidi (I Will Dig Your Grave with my Hands) / Jazeera Nights / Sublime Frequencies 55 – (SYRIA)
Maria Bethânia: Águas de Cachoeira / Pirata / DoBrasil 4251 – (BRAZIL)
Baster: Kanal / Kaf Gong Reggae / B.P.R. 702 – (LA RÉUNION)
Papi Brandao y Sus Ejecutivos: Bilongo / Panama! 3 / Soundway 18 – (PANAMA)
Grupo Falso Baiano: Caminhando / Simplicidade: Live at Yoshi’s / Massaroca Records 20111 – (USA) *NEW*
SMOD: Simbala / SMOD / Nacional Records 54272 – (MALI) *NEW*
Ibn Báya Ensemble: Mízán D-dary / Música Andalusí / Sony Classical 62262 – (SPAIN)
Shawna Lenore & Darrell Kastin: O Maior Bem / Mar Português / Vagabundo Music 2011 – (USA) *NEW*
Ernest Ranglin: Ala Walee / In Search of the Lost Riddim / Palmetto 2001 – (JAMAICA)
Los Van Van: Eso Damelo à Mi / Llego Van Van / Havana Caliente 83227 – (CUBA)
Cesaria Evora: Vida Tem Um So Vida / Miss Perfumado / Windham Hill 1934-18103 – (CAPE VERDE)
Oreka Tx: Jai Adivasi / Nömadak tx / World Village 468085 – (SPAIN / INDIA)
The Jolly Boys: Rehab / Great Expectation / EOM Records 2134 – (JAMAICA) *NEW*
Paco Pérez: Luna de Xelajú / Chapinlandia-Music of Guatemala / Smithsonian Folkways 40542 – (GUATEMALA)
Andy Palacio: Nabi / Keimoun / Intuition Oversees 3171 – (BELIZE)
Bombino: Iyat Idounia Ayasahen (Another Life) / Agadez / Cumbancha 20 – (NIGER) *NEW*

panama, mongolia, jamaica…

August 14, 2011

We’re on an international tasting tour for this week’s World of Music.

The musical flavors of Belize, Mongolia, and Cape Verde are on the menu along with some special spices from Brazil and Surinam.

New releases include Simplicidade from the Bay-area’s Grupo Falso Baiano (pictured left); a surprising cover from the classic mento band The Jolly Boys; and Niger’s desert blues guitar nomad Bombino.

World of Music is an international sampler every Monday from 3-5pm ET on the Radiator.  Online, or at 105.9FM if you’re listening in Burlington, VT.

bread & puppet’s man=carrot circus

August 14, 2011

A circus based on the concept of “Man = Carrot”?

Well it’s the cycle of life, you see. Both are ‘born’, both mature and come into their ‘jobs’ in life. And then both die and return to dirt. Man was created in the image of Carrot. It’s that simple.

Except that in the counter-cultural world of Vermont’s beloved Bread & Puppet theatre, the colorful costumes and witty original songs convey real messages of politics, social commentary, and good-natured civil dissent. It doesn’t take long to see their point that nothing in life is very simple.

Today was the first time visiting the theater that I experienced the outdoor show, usually when I go the program is held inside the Paper Maché Cathedral next to the Museum. Nice to be sitting in on the hillside this afternoon in the partial sunshine, taking in the show on the field below. There were carrots on stilts, dancing bananas, and even an infant race where the contestants were several (very) junior audience members. And so much more. The band sounded great too.

You know the phrase: you had to be there. But since you probably weren’t here are a few stills of today’s subversion.

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happy 60th, marlboro!

August 13, 2011

the famous "CAUTION" sign at marlboro

There was a lot of talk about it among my colleagues from other stations over the last year: the Marlboro Music Festival is turning 60! What are we going to do?

Of course we all wanted to ‘help’ celebrate the prestigious Festival’s anniversary, but we soon acknowledged there was a bigger issue here. What does that really mean to radio folks, for a Festival that is completely self-sufficient, tremendously successful, and not in the least dependent on media for our help with publicity?

The Marlboro legend was established in 1951, rooted in the deep musicianship of a core group of recent European émigrés: pianist Rudolf Serkin and co-founders Adolf Busch, Hermann Busch and Marcel, Blanche and Louis Moyse. Its  fine reputation has been sustained the same way; through the dedication and consistent excellence of the musicians who play there. Its sole focus is creating the best possible supportive creative experience for the musicians. A popular Marlboro phrase is, “It’s about the music.”

So how could we media outsiders possibly hope to participate in some way in the famously sequestered Festival’s 60th anniversary plans?

Pretty easily, it turns out.

It began with a phone call, then an email – and then a lot of phone calls and emails as I worked to start up a relationship with folks at the Festival. To my delight they were very receptive to the idea of establishing a partnership and cooking up some kind of celebration for their special season. I purchased and sent them a 120 gig hard drive; they returned it filled with music performances from the last dozen seasons. Fantastic. Then my two fellow classical hosts and I planned our “Marlboro Month” celebration, mirroring the Festival’s performance season from July 16th  through August 14th. And I worked with the station’s online team (thanks Tim, Dan and Jonathan!) to create a special page and make a nice selection of performances available for online listening.

A highlight of the summer came with a visit to the Festival on Sunday, July 24th. It was a hot, sunny afternoon and the wooden beams of Persons Auditorium resonated with the sounds of Ravel, Brahms, and Shostakovich. At one moment during the Brahms (the monumental g minor Piano Quintet) a mocking bird outside the auditorium in a nearby tree could be heard echoing a rhythmic figure in the first movement of the piece. It’s just that kind of place.

One of my VPR Classical co-workers stayed over that night and returned to the Festival the next day to record interviews with many of the performers who were there at the time. I’ve been spending time over the last couple of weeks editing those interviews into clips we’ve been airing with our daily Marlboro Month selections. And those clips are now archived online on the “Marlboro Conversations” page. (I have around 1/4 of the interviews edited now – check back for more conversations to be added to the page later!)

Tomorrow marks the final performance of the 60th anniversary season. Around 4pmET the final chords of Beethoven’s Choral Fantasy (the traditional closing piece) will resound on the Marlboro campus and another summer of practice, comraderie, partnership, sharing and learning will come to an end for the year’s talented participants.

In the words of veteran violinist Bella Hristova (now concluding her third and final year at Marlboro), “…I think this place is like home for a lot of people because we’re just here for so long, without a break, in the middle of nowhere. So it becomes like a family.”

I’m working on producing a video now that will incorporate the photos, some video footage and many of the Marlboro voices we recorded this summer. It’ll be done soon. Update coming soon here.

Further reading:

Alex Ross’ Marlboro tribute from his blog, The Rest is Noise

NPR’s “Deceptive Cadence” blog: New recordings from Marlboro

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after the rain

August 8, 2011

This five minutes of musical bliss brought to you by…Coltrane, of course.

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