Monthly Archives: March 2001

The Music of the Gypsy People

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The Gypsies may be the ultimate outsiders but right now their music is very in.

From American clubs to European world music charts, the raw, raucous and heart-stoppingly fast sounds of the Gypsy or Roma people are taking Western fans by storm. It’s hard to settle on the Roma sound — the Gypsies are sort of Robin Hoods of the music world stealing the rich sounds from the lands that they’ve lived to add to their own musical pot. In Roma music…A Turkish tune could have Hungarian harmony and a Bulgarian backbeat. Franz Liszt felt that European music would be “quite dull” without the influence of the Gypsy and ever since Roma music has peered on the perimeter of popularity from Django Reinhart to the Gypsy kings.

The western world has realized that music of the world’s most disliked people has become the ultimate European blues music. We’re traveling through the sounds or Roma culture with live music.


The Roma musical group Taraf de Haidouks

Michele Winter, Manger and founder of Taraf de Haidouks;

Homer Cates, Lecturer and writer on the Gypsy culture.


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We’re in the middle of the forty days of Lent. For millions of Christians, this is a time to fast, pray, and give up alcohol, chocolate…or something equally important.

Lent used to apply only to Catholics, Greek Orthodox and a smattering of high-Church Protestants. But today, Lent is making a comeback, but it’s spreading and changing, and even some non-traditional believers are getting in to the act. Now that eating meat on Friday doesn’t necessarily mean a one-way ticket to hell, Catholics are reinventing Lent. Meanwhile, Protestants are adopting rituals they once rejected, like lining up for a cinder smear on Ash Wednesday.

Why, in is a society that practices excess more than restraint, where traditional religion is out and feel-good spirituality is in, is Lent suddenly in style? We’re excommunicating indulgence – and tuning into denial.
(Hosted by Judy Swallow)


Tom Groome, Professor of Catholic Theology at Boston College

Robin Jensen, Associate Professor of History of Christianity at Andover Newton Theological School.

Foot-and-Mouth in a Globalized World

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Animals burn, travelers are disinfected – what some call an epidemic and others an economic disaster is sweeping from England into France and onward, also popping up in the Middle East and South America.

It’s a well-known disease, delectably called foot-and-mouth. Here in the United States, the headlines horrify and the pictures perplex. But America is far away…or is it? The twentieth century drew the continents together like a massive tectonic shift – in trade, in information, and some would argue – in culture. When it comes to a quick-spreading disease three thousand miles may not be nearly far enough. Travelers – do you have anything to declare?

As a diseased Britain takes on the identity of both dirty culprit and desperate victim – and the European Union rediscovers its borders – it’s two steps back for one world view. Jumping into foot-and-mouth and globalization…feet first.
(Hosted by Judy Swallow)


Doctor Lee Ann Thomas, USDA

Ben Gill, President of the National Farmer’s Union in Britain;

David Ropeik, director of Risk Communications at the Harvard Center for Risk Analysis.

Donal Fox

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Move over Armstrong, Ellington, and Basie – despite what Ken Burns says It was Beethoven, Bach and Mozart who set the swinging standard.

In fact, keep the notes but change the rhythms of Bach’s “Air on a G String” and you get a foot-tappin’ finger snappin’ Jazz tune. The composer and pianist Donal Fox is an alumnus of the “Third Stream” school started by Gunther Shuller, with a degree in knocking down walls and blurring lines between jazz and classical. He says the two musics can jam together – pointing out that Classical greats like Mozart, Liszt, and Paganini back in their day would swing on themes for thirty minutes behind orchestras and that Beethoven left piano parts blank in many of his pieces for improvisation and reinterpretation.

So are we all ready to live together under one musical tent? From Baroque to Beebop we’re confounding the genre police with Donal Fox.
(Hosted By Judy Swallow)


Pianist and composer Donal Fox

Peace, Poverty and Palestine

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In his first week as Prime Minister of Israel, Ariel Sharon dug up roads and sent in the troops to blockade Palestinian towns on the West Bank and Gaza.

He says he’s done it to keep terrorists out of Israel – Critics say he wants to strangle the economy of the Palestinians until they’re forced to submit. The trenches, tanks, and checkpoints have made life unbearable for ordinary Palestinians, but they’re also fuelling the rage of Arab gunmen. Meanwhile – Israelis live in fear of more suicide bombings – and even peaceniks have lost faith in the process. Only months ago, peace seemed inevitable. Today, it feels impossible. Sharon is telling Yasir Arafat to make the first move.

But he might not be able to deliver, even if he wants to. Oslo’s long gone: Bill Clinton couldn’t cut a deal, and President Bush is less than engaged. Can anyone solve the question of Palestine – and can the US afford not to?
(Hosted by Judy Swallow)


Adli Danan, general secretary of the International Palestinian Youth League, Hebron

Marc Gopin, Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University;

Allegra Pacheco, attorney and Peace Fellow, Bunting Institute at Radcliffe Institute.

Election Deadlock

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When Election Day turned into election month, America got a made-for-TV civics lesson and arguably its first Supreme Court-appointed President.

But after official and now independent recounts, it’s still not clear whether George W. Bush should have won Florida’s crucial twenty-five electoral votes. What is obvious is that our democratic process is flawed – voting technology is out-of-date and inconsistent, dispute resolution is sometimes arbitrary – and many still question a system that doesn’t guarantee the presidency to the winner of the popular vote.

We’re a few months out from The Florida Debacle now – maybe it’s time to find out what really happened – and if it means anything in Washington today. We’re looking beyond the ballot box and behind the scenes of the Florida mess.
(Hosted By John Mcchesney)


David Von Drehle, political reporter for The Washington Post and author of “Deadlock”

Bill Rose, deputy managing editor of The Palm Beach Post.

Economy Blues

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The bears are back on Wall Street and the question on everyone’s mind is: just how low can it go?

Yesterday, the Nasdaq – which has been on a steady slide for months – hit a new low, falling below 2,000 for the first time in two years. Even worse, it dragged the S&P 500 – a broader stock index that includes old economy stocks as well as technology upstarts – with it. Old economy stocks that just months ago were ugly ducklings are today’s beauty queens and the talk on the street is all about bonds.

Is the drop in the technology stocks just a sign that investors have finally started doing their math? Or is this the beginning of the end for the U. S. Economy? The bears take on the bulls just ahead on the Connection.
(Hosted by John Mcchesney)


John Bitner, senior vice president, Eastern Bank in Malden, Massachusetts

Peter Canelo, chief investment strategist at Morgan Stanley

Dean Witter, New York

John Spooner, senior vice president, Saloman Smith Barney, Boston, author of “Do You Want to Make Money, or Do You Want to Fool Around?”

Race, Memory and the Civil War

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They say after a trauma, a person has to find a way to deal with the painful past…and move on.

So does a nation. But what if…in moving on…the underlying problem is set aside, never dealt with, only to rear its head again and again? More than 620-thousand Americans died in the trauma of the Civil War. In the years following, the nation had two tasks: to re-unite a divided country, and to repair the injustices of slavery. Historian David Blight says reunion won, and race lost. Memory ennobled soldiers of both the Blue and Gray, but blacks were painted out of the picture.

Blight says our collective memory was engineered for the sake of harmony, but that the new national anthems were full of sour notes – and a discord still hangs over us. We are re-creating memory and sanitizing the anti-slavery underpinnings of the War Between the States.

(hosted by John McChesney)


David W. Blight, author, “Race and Reunion: The Civil War in American Memory”;
Dwight Pitcaithley, chief historian, National Park Service;
Representative Jesse Jackson, Jr, Congressman, Second Congressional District of Illinois

Bush Plays Hardball

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George W. Bush is tired of Texas two-stepping around.

After weeks of handing out nicknames, showering Democrats with compliments and even inviting the Kennedy family over for a movie – he’s abandoned bipartisan badminton for a good old-fashioned game of political hardball. Democrats who just weeks earlier had been complementing him on his inclusive style – are now saying the era of bipartisanship is over before it began.

Having successfully rolled back the Clinton Administration’s regulations on repetitive stress injuries and jammed President Bush’s tax plan down the throats of the Democrats in the House, Republicans are ready to rumble. Democrats have realized they’re not in Kansas anymore and are steeling themselves for battle with George Bush, the new Wicked Witch of the right.

Guests: Newt Gingrich, former Republican Speaker of the House; Bob Kuttner, editor, The American Prospect; David Sanger, New York Times White House correspondent; Gail Chaddock, Christian Science Monitor Congressional correspondent.

Hosted by John Mcchesney


Newt Gingrich, former Republican Speaker of the House;

Bob Kuttner, editor, The American Prospect

David Sanger, New York Times White House correspondent

Gail Chaddock, Christian Science Monitor Congressional correspondent.

A Journey Through Jazz Piano

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Marcus Roberts is the blind jazz pianist whose mission has been to forge jazz piano’s future by reinventing its past.

He’s part of a new class of post-modern traditionalists who uses the music of piano masters before him as the backbone of his repertoire. Household names: Jellyroll Morton, James P. Johnson, Duke Ellington and Thelonious Monk. Classically trained, Marcus Roberts was a sort of teenage prodigy who impressed many with both his style and a phonographic memory of playing back jazz and pop music after only several listens.

But it was his work as a sideman to the all-powerful Wynton Marsalis and well as his tenure as music director for the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra that indelibly set his style and philosophy as one of jazz’s silver polishers who has little patience for anything that deviates from it.

(Hosted by Christopher Lydon)


Marcus Roberts;