I just finished listening to an incredibly vivid first chapter of a story on Wisconsin Public Radio‘s Chapter a Day. It was Susan Sweeney reading from “Blood, Bones and Butter: The Inadvertent Education of a Reluctant Chef” by Gabrielle Hamilton. It painted pictures of a childhood spent with an artist father and french mother and four siblings. Their father had more friends than money but he was a master at entertaining. The centerpiece of these elaborate parties was the roasting of the lambs which I could practically taste on my computer as I listened. Hamilton was treated as the same as her brothers in helping to prepare and serve the meals.
The reading served as a kind of time machine transporting me into her life and away from mine in New York State. Such is the power of radio. Last night I was in Africa with Jonathan Overby whose Higher Ground features an eclectic mix of African based music. I had gone onto the website and pulled up last week’s program while checking Overby’s facebook page where he posted the following message
Greetings All…the date has been set for Cuba II, February 7-16, 2014. Join me as 30 others did for the 2013 adventure to Havana,
Cuba (legally set) with an educational framework and sponsored by UW-Waukesha. The trip includes several musical pieces, as well as lots of opportunity to explore the city, the culture, the people and historic sites. If you’d like updates on the trip, along with registration details as they develop, send me your e-mail and I’ll keep you posted. Your info will remain private. I hope you’ll join me for Cuba II – Bridging Diverse Cultures Through World Music –
I immediately sent him my email address. My co-workers talk about taking trips to different places like Las Vegas and I need to begin my travels. On the NPR station WUWM I heard about a musical based on Motown the black record label that featured The Supremes, The Temptations, The Jackson 5, Smokey Robinson and the Miracles and many more. The first draft of the play featured 100 songs. I went into work talking about “heard it through the grapevine”, “stop in the name of love” and “ball of confusion”. If I could sing, it would have been on. I mean, you could listen to other people pretend to do black music or you could go see the story of one of the great powerhouses of black music.
There is life, art, laughter, Cuba, Africa and a life of roasting lamb on public radio. And there was nothing commercial about it.