Finding Authentic Music behind Bars

John Taylor’s “Stormy Monday” needs no accompaniment. The seasoned gospel singer’s bellowing voice can command a room with ease. It’s only after Taylor finishes singing that he’s introduced to audiences as an inmate in the Louisiana State Penitentiary. He’s one of many artists featured in the documentary Follow Me Down: Portraits … Continue reading Finding Authentic Music behind Bars

Remembering E.O. 9066: San Jose Taiko on Musical and Historical Resonances

February 19, 2017, marked the 75th anniversary of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s signing of Executive Order 9066, which authorized the exclusion of Japanese Americans from the West Coast during World War II. Starting in February 1942, in the aftermath of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and without due process, … Continue reading Remembering E.O. 9066: San Jose Taiko on Musical and Historical Resonances

Sounding the Mother Tongue: Tibetan Hip-Hop on the Roof of the World

Beginning on International Mother Language Day, the Smithsonian’s Mother Tongue Film Festival will take place in Washington, D.C., February 21 to 25. With an overall focus on music, the presence of hip-hop stands out in the film selection, including two Tibetan rap videos. One is the above video, Dekyi Tsering’s … Continue reading Sounding the Mother Tongue: Tibetan Hip-Hop on the Roof of the World

Keeping Up with the Karas:
The Makings of a Modern Renaissance

This is the second article in a two-part series. Read part one. After a bit of searching, my driver and I arrive at our destination: Rind, a remote village on Armenia’s western border. Modest residences are strung together along its bumpy, dirt roads. The little community seemingly in the middle of … Continue reading Keeping Up with the Karas:
The Makings of a Modern Renaissance

Keeping Up with the Karas:
Unearthing Armenia’s Ancient Earthenware

This is the first article in a two-part series. Read part two. The enormous 240-gallon clay vessel, or karas, was nestled snugly in the corner of Asli Saghatelyan’s maran (storage cellar) in Chiva, a modest village in the Vayots Dzor region of Armenia. Asli and her son Mushegh watched with curious … Continue reading Keeping Up with the Karas:
Unearthing Armenia’s Ancient Earthenware

“Calligraphy Isn’t a Dead Art”: A Conversation with Artist Josh Berer

For Josh Berer, a D.C.-based professional calligrapher currently co-leading a calligraphy and bookmaking workshop at the Smithsonian’s Sackler Gallery, there’s much to see in the museum’s new exhibition, The Art of the Qur’an: Treasures from the Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts. Berer, who specializes in traditional and contemporary Arabic … Continue reading “Calligraphy Isn’t a Dead Art”: A Conversation with Artist Josh Berer

Back to Top
Search
Talk Story
Festival Blog
Festival Radio
Sign up for updates