About US

written by members of WTJU Charlottesville's folk department with stuff maybe of interest to listeners to the station. This blog is not an official WTJU or UVA website. Want to leave a message about any of our programs (or us in general) that we can broadcast over the air? Call 434-218-3655, and leave a voice mail.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Janet Muse & Mike Dunn on Sunset Road

Friday, December 30 ● 6 pm
WTJU 91.1 FM/Streaming at wtju.net

In advance of their performance at this year's First Night Virginia, Janet Muse and Mike Dunn will stop by Sunset Road this Friday for conversation and live performance.  They are bound to play a few off their 2011 release, Sunday in Greenwood.

Mike Dunn and Janet Muse are equally comfortable in the worlds of folk and classical music. Mike and Janet have performed together for the past several years, and each has extensive experience playing for contra, English and Scottish dances. They have also played for weddings and other special events.

Mike began playing violin at the age of nine, studying for many years with Ilse Mann in Raleigh, NC, He attended Duke University on an AJ Fletcher music scholarship, studying viola with George Taylor. For the past several years, his focus has been on Celtic and dance music.

He has been on staff at the Charlottesville Fall Dance Festival (VA), and at Scottish Weekend (WV).

He has also performed several times at First Night Virginia, and Monticello. In addition, he played viola for many years with the Sugar Ridge Quartet.

Janet began studying classical piano at the age of five.

She has played in contra dance bands over the past 25 years, including the nationally known group, Caledonia. As part of Caledonia, she headlined Feet Retreat, Spring Dance Romance, Charlotte Dance Gypsies Weekend (NC), and Chesapeake Dance Weekend (MD). She has also been on staff at Augusta Heritage Arts Irish Week (WV), Charlottesville Fall Dance Festival (VA), and several all-night dances.

Janet has also performed at the Prism Coffeehouse (VA) and First Night Virginia.  She has been a choir and solo accompanist, church organist, orchestra violinist, and accordionist for Morris teams.

First Night began in Boston in 1976 as a way to bring neighboring communities together in celebration, while providing an alternative way of ushering in the New Year. Charlottesville’s First Night Virginia was only second in the nation to begin the tradition of First Night in 1983, and has since served as a model for the more than 130 First Night celebrations worldwide.  Over the years, hundreds of thousands of people have attended this fun-filled celebration of the arts on Charlottesville’s Downtown Mall.  From fire dancers to rock n’ roll, ballet to jugglers, there’s something for everybody.

Submitted by Peter Jones, WTJU Folk

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Chanukah Celebration on Atlantic Weekly I

Kassia Arbabi
Saturday, December 24 ● 9-10 am (est)
WTJU 91.1 FM/Streaming at wtju.net

Fiddler Kassia Arbabi will stop by during the second hour of Atlantic Weekly, Part I, to celebrate Chanukah, the Jewish Festival of Lights.  A founding member of the Vulgar Bulgars, Kassia has traversed the US playing klezmer and more.  These days, she blends her love of music with owning and operating the Alexander House; a business whose driving passion is to contribute positively to our local and global community.

Submitted by Peter Jones, WTJU Folk

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Crys Matthews LIVE on the Eclectic Woman Show

Thursday, December 22 ● 7-9 pm (est)
WTJU 91.1 FM/Streaming at wtju.net

Singer/songwriter Crys Matthews will stop by the Eclectic Woman Show this Thursday for a visit with Rebecca.  Along with a live performance, Crys will also talk about her latest release, Backroads And Driveways.

Although she is constantly referred to as 'the next Tracy Chapman,' Crys Matthews describes herself and her music as: "Imagine Jill Scott and Otis Redding had a daughter and Tracy Chapman was her god-mother... now imagine she spent summers teaching herself piano in Chicago and guitar in the mountains of North Carolina... that would probably sound something like the music I am fortunate enough to call my own." The music is an infusion of Americana/Blues/Bluegrass/Folk/Funk/Jazz, which, as eclectic as it sounds, is reaching people all around the world and causing them to stop and take notice.

Submitted by Peter Jones, WTJU Folk

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Cape Breton Celebration on Atlantic Weekly I

Saturday, December 17 ● 8-10 am (est)
WTJU 91.1 FM/Streaming at wtju.net

Thom Pease is the host of the WTJU classical program "The Listening Room," which focuses on contemporary classical music. He's also an avid fan of Celtic music, particularly from the Cape Breton tradition in Canada. Thom attended the week-long 15th annual Celtic Colours International Festival in October.

Thom will join Atlantic Weekly host Sandy Goodson to talk about the island, its musical culture, and the festival. He will bring along some recordings to play, and review some of the highlights of the festival.  Thom and Sandy first joined forces to do a program on the music of Cape Breton this past spring, as part of this year's WTJU Folk Fundraiser.

What is Cape Breton Music?
Cape Breton music is usually described as traditional Scottish music. However, it is Scottish music and dance as it was played in the late 1700s and early 1800s when the forefathers of Cape Bretoners emigrated from Scotland. The most common tune types heard in Cape Breton are strathspeys, reels, jigs, with a lesser number of airs, marches, and clogs. Typically the tunes are played in medleys; the number of times a tune is repeated is left to the discretion of the performer, though frequently each tune is heard only once. Each medley tends to center around a single key or tonal area while spanning a variety of tempos, for instance a strathspey accelerating into a reel for a solo step-dance exhibition. -- Reprinted from The Amazing Music of Cape Breton     

Sumbitted by Peter Jones, WTJU Folk 
All photos are posted with the permission of Thom Pease.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Richie Stearns and Rosie Newton live on Sunset Road fri 12/16 at 5pm

Clawhammer banjo player Richie Stearns and fiddler Rosie Newton will be special live guests on Sunset Road friday Dec 16th at 5pm. Later that same evening, Richie and Rosie will be performing at a house concert in Gordonsville, Virginia. Email Alex Caton at ACatonA@aol.com for concert details.

Richie Stearns and Rosie Newton have been performing together in various bands over the past four years. The Duo was conceived after many hours of jamming in Stearns´ kitchen, experimenting with traditional and original songs. Stearns is a legendary banjo player and singer, and has led numerous bands including the Horse Flies and Donna the Buffalo. He has played with countless others, and tours with Natalie Merchant. He is steeped in the traditions of American old-time music, Appalachian folk, blues, African, rock, and country music. This, as well as Newton´s love for Celtic music, is the inspiration for the duo. Rosie Newton is a talented fiddler and singer at the beginning of her music career. She recently graduated  from Ithaca College with a degree in viola performance, and has become an integral part of the Ithaca Old Time music community. She has performed in various bands including her own duo, the Pearly Snaps. Richie Stearns and Rosie Newton take the original fiddle, banjo combination to new levels as they continue to expand the boundaries of this tradition.

Listen to Richie's 'Baghdad Children'  here
Listen to Rosie with The Pearly Snaps here

Listen to the interview live on Dec 16th at wtju.net , or on the tape vault (look for Sunset Road for dec 16th) for two weeks after original airdate.

Posted by Pete Marshall, WTJU Folk

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Radio Tropicale Celebrates Our Lady of Guadalupe

Wednesday, December 14 ● 12-2 pm (est)
WTJU 91.1 FM/Streaming at wtju.net

For Mexicans everywhere, a source of strength is a brown-skinned woman cloaked in blue: Our Lady of Guadalupe, the patron saint of Mexico and symbol of Mexican nationality.  In a country where four out of five people are baptized Catholics, her image is everywhere, watching over all.  She represents many ideas, perhaps the most central to Mexicans being that the Spanish conquistadors and the Indians they conquered became one nation.

The Festival of Our Lady will be on Monday, December 12.  On Wednesday noon, December 14, please join Bruce of Radio Tropicale as he marks this year’s celebration with guests Alma Garcia of the Church of the Incarnation, Rev. James Richardson of St. Paul’s Episcopal, who blogs on ideas surrounding Our Lady and Martha Trujillo of Creciendo Juntos.

More information on Our Lady and some of the many ways she continues to speak to Mexicans and, more broadly, all people of the Americas can be found at these sources:
Submitted By Bruce Penner, WTJU Folk

Sunday, December 4, 2011

New (old) videos of Mando Mafia emerge

These videos of my band Mando Mafia (with sadly departed lead mandolin player Kelly Perdue, & Joey Damiano subbing for regular bass player Vaughan Mairs) at Watermelon Park Festival in 2004 were recently posted to youtube:


Pete from Sunset Road

Friday, December 2, 2011

Andy Falco & Chris Pandolfi (Infamous Stringdusters) LIVE on WTJU

 Friday, December 2 ● 5-7 pm (est)
Andy Falco and Chris Pandolfi, members of The Infamous Stringdusters, will stop by WTJU this Friday for a live performance on Sunset Road.  Performing as The Founding Fathers, they will be part of the premiere Festy Presents Series Saturday night at The Southern in Charlottesville, opening for Larry Keel & Natural Bridge.

In 2011, The Infamous Stringdusters transferred their homebase from Nashville, TN to Charlottesville, VA.   The Founding Fathers is the stage name for the members of The Stringdusters who live permanently in Charlottesville.  While the lineup may evolve, it currently consists of Andy Falco (guitar) and Chris Pandolfi (banjo).  Expect special guests, instrumentals, and vocal performances that may not otherwise be heard from on stage from The Stringdusters.

Submitted by Peter Jones, WTJU Folk

Downbeat Project LIVE on Reggae Vibrations

Friday, December 2 ● 2-4 pm (est)

The Downbeat Project will stop by WTJU's Reggae Vibrations this Friday for a LIVE performance.  The band will be celebrating its new EP, Day By Day, which will be released at their concert the following Friday at the Southern in Charlottesville.

The Downbeat Project consists of five musicians who put their heart and soul, their sweat and tears, their laughs and joys into the music they play. Every beat and word holds a constant strength and unwavering groove that listeners can’t stray away from.  This summer, they have been busy in the studio, continuing to twist and turn their ideas in order to create the natural and essential groove that has become what folks know very well as the Downbeat sound. As monthly, musical residents at Maya on Main St, and having played at venues such as the Southern, the Jefferson and festivals around the area, the Downbeat Project has been hitting it hard, capturing their fans and not letting them go, every time seeing more new faces along with old ones coming back for more.

Clarence Green, the sole songwriter and lyricist for the band, garners attention from many a audience member and critic with his heartfelt and deeply personal songs about love, life and the community that we exist within. Then add a layer of harmony singers and the unique instrumentation of mandocello with Zack Blatter, upright bass with Gerald Soriano, lead guitar with Landon Fishburne, and Rob Hubbard on drums, and you have one sweet bed for Green’s soulful voice and imaginative guitar hooks to lie upon. Lest you forget, all the while, each of their songs making you dance and move yourself around the room.

Guests artists on "Day by Day" include Bobby Read of Bruce Hornsby's Noisemakers, John D'earth on trumpet, Baaba Seth's Mark Maynard on trombone, Billy Cardine on electric resophonic guitar, Robert Jospe on percussion and Jay Starling on keys and pedal steel.

Submitted by Peter Jones, WTJU Folk

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Stephen Jacques LIVE on Walk Right In

Tuesday, December 13 ● 12-2 pm (est)

Local singer/songwriter Stephen Jacques will stop by Walk Right In for a visit this December with host Rebecca Foster.  Jacques and his band, Box of Moxie, recently released their debut album, Intrepid Souls.

Proceeds from this CD will also go to the Resources for Inner City Children (RICH), founded by teacher and tutor Paul Penniman of Washington, D.C. Mr. Penniman has been one of the leading forces on the eastern seabord of the U.S. as far as assistance for those living below the poverty line, and the struggles of inner city students.

Submitted by Rebecca Foster, WTJU Folk

Saturday, November 26, 2011

WTJU Marks World AIDS Day with Special Programming

November 28 through December 3

Please join your favorite WTJU Program Hosts as they mark World AIDS Day starting on Monday, November 28 with special programming, including several short audio stories from a number of the Charlottesville and UVa people who lead, and are witness to, the fight against HIV/AIDS and the attendent problem of violence against women.

As part of this week of special programming, Bruce of Radio Tropicale will host a panel discussion on Wednesday November 28 at noon that will include Claire Kaplan of UVa's Women's Center and Peter deMartino of Charlottesville's AIDS Support Group.

Also, please tune in at 4pm on December 1st, our regular hour of public affairs broadcast, which will feature testimony on the fight against AIDS in rural South Africa as witnessed by a team from the UVa Nursing School, and a discussion with UVa Law Professor Deena Hurwitz about her published reports on the crisis of violence against women and American law.  You can listen to this program at wtju.net, or download it here.

Suggested Resources:
Stories from local sources:
  • FOCUS was started in 1972 to empower women, starting a tradition of professionalism and volunteerism that continues to this day. FOCUS continues to plant the seeds for girls and women to grow and succeed in life and in their careers.
  • AIDS Support Group (ASG) shares offices with FOCUS.  Four ASG staff members contributed stories to WTJU’s coverage of HIV/AIDS issues.
  • Brendan Jamieson spent time with children suffering the effects of AIDS in Nairobi Kenya.   pambatoto.com is the business that supports the Sanctuary of Hope orphanages there.  Brendan spoke with WTJU about what he saw in Nairobi.
UVa sources:

Bill T. Jones reflects on Still/Here, a film produced in 1997 and dealing with mortality and the spirit of survival expressed by people suffering terminal illnesses. How does its spirit infuse his work? What does it show us about healing and resilience?

Submitted by Bruce Penner, WTJU Folk

Friday, November 25, 2011

Folk and Beyond Thanksgiving

Submitted by David Soyka, WTJU Folk

  • "Thanksgiving" - George Winston - December [Windham Hill: 1982]

  • "Thanksgiving Moon" - Danya Kurtz/DM Stith - Thanksgiving Moon [Asthmatic Kitty Records: 2004]

  • "Thanksgiving" - Mary Gauthier - Between Daylight and Dark [Lost Highway: 2007]

  • "The Day Before Thanksgiving" - Darrell Scott - A Crooked Road [Full Light: 2010]

  • "The Day John Kennedy Died" - Lou Reed - The Blue Mask [BMG: 1982]

  • "Pocahontas" - Neil Young - Unplugged [Reprise]

  • "Thanksgiving" - Loudon Wainwright III - Career Moves [Virgin: 1993]

  • "The Thanksgiving Story" - Stan Freberg - Stan Freberg Presents the USA Vol: 1 [Capitol: 2008]

  • "Suddenly It's Christmas" - Loudon Wainwright III - Career Moves [Virgin: 1993]

  • "Here Comes Santa Claus" - Bob Dylan - Christmas in the Heart [Sony: 2009]

  • "Getting Ready for Christmas Day" - Paul Simon - So Beautiful or So What [Concord: 2011]

  • "Step Right Up" - Tom Waits - Small Change [Asylum: 1976]

  • "Thank You" - Led Zeppelin - Led Zeppelin II [Atlantic: 1969]

  • "Thanks to You" - The Deep Vibration - Vera Cruz [Dualtone: 2008]

  • "Now Be Thankful" - Lisa Moscatiello - Innocent When You Dream [Happy Cactus: 2004]

  • "Thank You" - Tori Amos - Winter [EastWest: 1992]

  • "Thankyou, Stars" - Kate Melua - Piece by Piece [Dramatico: 2006]

  • "Thank You Too!" - My Morning Jacket - Evil Urges [Ato: 2008]

  • "Thank You Girl" - John Hiatt - Bring the Family [A&M: 1987]

  • "Thanks a Lot" - Eilen Jewell - Letters from Sinners & Strangers [Signature Sounds: 2007]

  • "Thanks for the Dance" - Anjani - Blue Alert [Sony BMG: 2006]

  • "Thanks for the Information" - Van Morrison - No Guru, No Method, No Teacher [Mercury: 1998]

  • "November" - Tom Waits - The Black Rider [Island: 1993]

  • "November" - Portico Quartet - Black and White Sessions [B&W: 2010]

  • "Banquet" - Joni Mitchell - For the Roses [Asylum: 1972]
  • Tuesday, November 22, 2011

    WTJU Folk's Podcast Page

    Life's too short for ordinary music...

    WTJU Folk is delighted to announce we now have a podcast page, where we will be putting up some of our special programs.  We have started with:

    Americana singer/songwriter Rita Hosking's interview with Lonesome George last Thursday on The Cosmic American Jamboree 
    Signature Sounds recording artists Joy Kills Sorrow's live visit with the Monster of Happiness last Saturday on Jumpin' on the Bed
    Todd Sheaffer, lead singer for Railroad Earth, Interview with Brian Keena in advance of the band's concert at The Festy Experience

    Signature Sounds recording artists Lake Street Dive's live visit with Bill Tetzeli on Sunshine Daydream before their appearance at last month's Festy Experience.

    A special tribute to Mike Seeger we originally aired on WTJU in the spring of 2010 with Mike's widow, Alexia Smith.  Included in the segments are archived segments from the legendary Prism Coffeehouse, and testimonials from musician and historian Joe Ayers, Virginia State Folklorist and Director of the Virginia Folklife Program Jon Lohman, and ballad singer Molly Andrews.

    These particular segments are only available for streaming, and not download.

    Irish supergroup Lúnasa dropped by WTJU's Sunset Road for a visit on September 12th, 2008 and squeezed in a few tunes right before their double header at Charlottesville's Paramount Theater with Mali's Vieux Farka Toure; a benefit concert for Darfur. This podcast includes an exclusive radio world premiere of Lunasa's "Burning Snowball" set.

    We're just getting started with our podcast, so keep checking it out.  Most of our podcast programs are now available at iTunes.

    As always, thanks for listening to WTJU Folk.

    Submitted by Peter Jones, WTJU Folk

    Saturday, November 12, 2011

    Joy Kills Sorrow is Jumpin' on the Bed...

     Saturday, November 12, 2011 ● 4 pm (edt)
    WTJU 91.1 FM/Streaming at WTJU.net

    Before heading over the mountain for their performance at the Mockingbird Music Hall in Staunton, Signature Sounds recording artists Joy Kills Sorrow will stop by Jumpin' on the Bed for some great live music and conversation.

    With its bold new brand of acoustic music, Joy Kills Sorrow pushes right through the envelope and out the other side. The Boston-based stringband brings a decidedly modern sensibility to an old-world sound, channeling the prodigious talents of its individual members into elegant arrangements and well-crafted songs. While the group pays due homage to its Bluegrass roots—its name refers to one of the first radio stations to broadcast the music of Bill Monroe—the band truly excels in its rich and textured treatment of more contemporary material. Boasting a full arsenal of original songs, Joy Kills Sorrow plumbs the entire spectrum of its spare instrumentation, effortlessly merging influences as diverse as folk, rock, pop, and jazz. The songs that emerge are dark and often funny, ruminating on modern life and love with eloquence and wit. The result is a radical new strain of folk music, one that bravely breaks with tradition even as it salutes the past.

    Since its inception, Joy Kills Sorrow has performed at theaters, listening rooms, and festivals across the continent and has been featured on nationally syndicated radio programs. In 2007, the group won first prize in the Podunk Bluegrass Festival Band Contest; that same year, they were deemed the “‘poster children’ for the burgeoning Americana format” by Sing Out! magazine. The band has evolved considerably in the years since then, and their sophomore effort promises to deliver. Slated for release in 2010, the new album, entitled Darkness Sure Becomes This City, was produced by Eric Merrill and features a wealth of original material from members of Joy Kills Sorrow as well as some fine new songs from other composers. Darkness Sure Becomes This City is an accomplished piece of work, laced throughout with polished arrangements and pop-inflected melodies. With it, Joy Kills Sorrow gracefully combines the old and the new, and the outcome, however surprising, is sublime.

    Submitted by Peter Jones, WTJU Folk

    Thursday, November 10, 2011

    Rita Hosking on The Cosmic American Jamboree

    Thursday, November 10, 2011 ● 12-2 pm (edt)
    WTJU 91.1 FM/Streaming at WTJU.net

    Americana artist Rita Hosking will sit down for an interview with The Cosmic American Jamboree's Lonesome George.  She will be in the area for a performance with friends, The Steel Wheels, at the Mockingbird Music Hall in Staunton Friday, November 11th.

    Rita Hosking, a country folk artist from California, has just released her fourth album, Burn. Her third, Come Sunrise, won best country album in the 2010 Independent Music Awards, and this one should be received as well as Come Sunrise was.

    California isn’t noted for music inspired by rural traditions, but Rita grew up in rural Shasta County in the north, which is surrounded by mountains, and absorbed mountain music from her life there. Her songwriting is tight; spare verses and a few well chosen words suggesting more than she says. She has a knack for projecting herself into her characters and writing from those varied points of view (e.g. the child of a miner who loves her father or an 80 year old woman looking back on what she has learned). In Dishes, the everyday task of washing them becomes a meditation on life: the tasks done to sustain it, what gives it meaning and its fragility. She also writes of broader themes – the lost way of life of Native Americans in Indian Giver, and her perspective on the difference between Abraham and Jesus in My Golden Bull, with Gaia noted in the chorus. While she can infuse small details with larger meaning, she can also make what seems large personal. For example, in Ballad for the Gulf of Mexico, the Gulf was not polluted, it was murdered.

    Rita’s vocal style is also informed by rural musical traditions. Those who enjoy Appalachian mountain music won’t find western mountain music all that different. Her vocals move from soft to intense, often in the same verse, building and receding, which holds listener interest. She sings her lyrics as though she means it, and she does. The band includes veteran bassist Glenn Fukunaga and guitarist Rich Brotherton, who has worked with Robert Earl Keen and Caroline Herring. Brotherton, also produced this album and wisely chose for the music to  complement Rita’s vocals rather than overshadow them.

    Bottom line: This is a fine release from an exceptional songwriter, and she will be in our area on November 11 to perform at The Mockingbird in Staunton. She is worth the trip.
    --George Dayton, WTJU September 2011 Newsletter
    Submitted by Peter Jones, WTJU Folk

    Sunday, November 6, 2011

    Seth Swingle now blogging from Mali

      Back in August, Fulbright scholar Seth Swingle was a guest on WTJU's Sunset Road, playing his banjo and ngoni, and talking about his upcoming nine month stay in Mali studying, primarily, ngoni playing, but also kora.

      Seth is now in Mali, and is blogging (hopefully) weekly, and it promises to be a fascinating window on Malian music from someone who already knows a fair amount about the culture, the players and the music. In one of our conversations, Seth told me that one time he had been talking to Bassekou Kouyate about a performance he had witnessed of Bassekou's band Ngoni Ba playing during one of his previous trips to Mali, and Bassekou revealed that that just happened to be the inaugural performance by the band! (Bassekou Kouyate & Ngoni Ba are now the darlings of the world music scene, and were, in many of the 200,000 attendees' opinions, THE stand out performers at the recent Richmond Folk Festival.)

      To check out Seth's blog, go HERE. (His latest post has this field recording of his kora teacher Toumani Kouyaté, playing "Salimu," a traditional Malian song about the dangers of alcohol. )

    Posted by Pete, WTJU Folk

    Elizabeth Mitchell LIVE Concert Radio Broadcast on WTJU

    Sunday, November 6, 2011 ● 12-1 pm (edt)
    WTJU 91.1 FM/Streaming at WTJU.net

    Smithsonian Folkways recording artist Elizabeth Mitchell will be performing at the Southern Cafe & Music Hall the first Sunday in November, and WTJU will be broadcasting the concert LIVE during the first hour of Tell Us A Tale.

    Elizabeth Mitchell has been recording and performing music for children and families since 1998. At the suggestion of friend Dan Zanes, Elizabeth was the first new children’s music artist signed to Smithsonian Folkways in the 21st century.  She has performed on NBC's The Tonight Show, the National Folk Festival, and most recently in concert with Natalie Merchant, to name just a few of her accomplishments.

    Elizabeth discovered her passion for making music with children in the early 1990s during her time as an assistant teacher at the Roosevelt Island Day Nursery School in New York City. There was a large international population in the school, with many different languages spoken among the children in her class and Elizabeth found that music was a common language that they could all share. At the same time she was discovering traditional American music, immersing herself in the songs of The Carter Family and other music of the Southern Appalachian Mountains, and the recordings of Elizabeth Cotten. A trip to Stereo Jacks Record store in Cambridge MA provided a turning point for Elizabeth, when she found a vinyl ten inch copy of Woody Guthrie’s “Songs to Grow on for Mother and Child.” As Elizabeth states in the liner notes of her album You Are My Little Bird, ”The songs that jumped off the vinyl of the Woody Guthrie record were the first songs I heard that accessed the poetry of the emerging language of children. One of my jobs as an assistant teacher was to write down the children’s descriptions of their artwork. Woody’s songs sounded like the stories I would hear from my students as they explained their drawings to me. I cherished these windows into their imaginations; as a songwriter it was inspiring, their minds were so free. I heard that same freedom in Woody’s lyrics.”

    Elizabeth’s first album, You Are My Flower, was recorded in one afternoon in 1998, at the home studio of Warren Defever of His Name is Alive. It was not intended for commercial release, but after much word of mouth demand, she released the album on her own label, Last Affair records. Her next album You Are My Sunshine was released in 2002, following the birth of her daughter Storey in 2001. She signed with Folkways in 2006 and released her first album with them, You Are My Little Bird, later that year.

    That fall Elizabeth appeared on All Things Considered with Melissa Block,where she talked about the importance of singing to your children and sang a song live with her husband Daniel and daughter Storey who was five years old at the time. The album was voted Best Children’s Album that year by the critics of Amazon.com and garnered generous critical praise.

    Her newest release, Sunny Day, features collaborations with Levon and Amy Helm, Dan Zanes, Jon Langford of the Mekons and the Children of Agape Choir from South Africa. Elizabeth has also recently collaborated with Ziggy Marley, singing the duet “Wings of an Eagle” with him on Ziggy’s 2009 release Family Time.

    Submitted by Peter Jones, WTJU Folk

    Monday, October 24, 2011

    Jonny Corndawg LIVE on The Cosmic American Jamboree

     Thursday, October 27, 2011 ● 12-2 pm (edt)
    WTJU 91.1 FM/Streaming at WTJU.net

    In town for a gig later in the evening at Al Hamraa, Country singer Jonny Corndawg will pay a visit this Thursday to Lonesome George on The Cosmic American Jamboree.  Knowing George as we do, there will be just a dash of conversation in between some great live music.

    Jonny Corndawg is a country singer, not a singer-songwriter. Born in Montana, raised in rural Virginia, Corndawg has been touring on his motorcycle since he dropped out of school in 2001. He's played shows in every U.S. state, Canada and eleven European countries, Australia, Argentina and India. But you won't find him on CMT. His music is more in the vein of that obscure '70s gay country that housewives would discover on a Bear Family reissue in twenty years. In addition to pursuing the lost art of the Real Deal, Corndawg is an airbrushing, leather-working, marathon-running, truck-driving American. Born and Bred.

    Submitted by Peter Jones, WTJU Folk

    Radio Tropicale Celebrates Diwali

    Credit mar00ned
     Wednesday, October 26, 2011 ● 12 pm (edt)
    WTJU 91.1 FM/Streaming at WTJU.net

    Diwali is a major holiday in India, known as the "festival of lights." Diwali is a contraction of the Sanskrit Deepavali, which means "row of lamps." It is principally a Hindu festival, is celebrated by some other Indian faiths, and is a public holiday coinciding with breaks from school throughout all of India.

    Diwali falls on October 26 this year, and so Radio Tropicale will celebrate Diwali during the noon hour this coming Wednesday with Indian music and guests.

    Bruce of Radio Tropicale has asked for recollections of Diwali from Indian friends and UVa students to be posted here to better acquaint WTJU listeners with this major Indian holiday. Enjoy reading!

    Diwali in the city of Bombay (west India) makes me think of my dog, Canny, quivering violently through the evenings as explosions shook the air. He was a black-and-white short-haired mutt we adopted from the streets, and his sensitive system never did get used to the annual assault on his eardrums. The fireworks started earlier and earlier every year. When I was a child they were just on Diwali night, and by the time I was 23, they began two or 3 weeks before Diwali and continued relentlessly until the actual day. They also continued later into the night each year. So, the ordeal for Canny began weeks before Diwali and ended only when the blessed festival got done and celebrated.

    For me, knowledge made the fireworks endurable. I knew what Diwali was, I knew how it was celebrated in Bombay, and I myself partook of fireworks until around my preteens, when we moved to a building whose compound was too small for fireworks, and there were no neighborhood kids my age that I knew of. By the time we moved to a more spacious suburb, I was out of the fireworks habit.

    Diwali fireworks seemed too crowded and busy, noisy and dangerous. Every year the newspapers carried stories of mishaps--fires, accidents, deaths. But the news never deterred anyone. Young children with shining eyes burst forth excitedly, year after year with sparklers and firecrackers, fire fountains and fire-spinners, with friends and family, for the night-time play. I must say that I, too, had fun in the building compound and on the terrace of my childhood building, completely unsupervised, with just my friends, playing with fireworks. But they were a phase. I think fireworks are like smoking: you don't mind the smell of smoking, and the sound of fireworks, when you're in the thick of it and doing it yourself, but as soon as you quit, it's just too smelly to smell the clothes and second-hand smoke of others, and too noisy to hear firecrackers set off by other people that go on and on. When I was older and living in the Bombay suburbs, the noise was so intrusive in our second-storey flat, which we normally kept open and breezy, that we had to shut the doors and windows, and busy ourselves with our evening, tuning out the din as much as possible.

    On Diwali day itself, though, we observed all the more pleasant aspects of the festival. Every year, I helped my mother trace a six-pointed star with corn flour, in front of our door, to mark the occasion. She made delicious treats, like appam, a kind of cup-shaped solid doughnut with flecks of dried coconut in it, to be had with home-made white butter; and murukku, a spiral-shaped savory which was, like appam, deep-fried. There were laddus, of course, those balls of sweetened lentils or sesame that doubled as both sustenance and dessert, and payasam or as it's more commonly known here, kheer.

    Neighbors and friends, dressed to the nines, showed up with gifts of nuts and dried fruit, or, sometimes, more expensive things like clothes and jewelry. We had our own gifts to give them in exchange. My father did special prayers at the kitchen shrine at home, with vibhuti (ash) stripes on his upper arms and forehead as is customary, before we feasted on homemade treats.

    Diwali is the day when Rama, of the Indian epic the Ramayana, is supposed to have returned triumphant after 14 years of exile from his own kingdom, with his wife Sita and brother Laxmana in tow, having just defeated Sita's abductor, Ravana, and rescued his wife from the demon's clutches. In honor of his return the town was lit up with lights and the tradition has continued in India ever since.

    Since coming to the US, my continuity with Diwali has lapsed. I cannot recall celebrating it in the US, in part because I was not deeply involved in Diwali shopping or preparations at home to begin with, and in part because I was eager to adapt to America and its own festivals of July 4th and Christmas, Halloween and Thanksgiving. However now that I am settled in the US, with two small children who will not have the luxury of being immersed in India, I want THEM to have some sense of their mother's roots. So, I have come full circle. This year we celebrated both Navratri, a 9-day festival that precedes Diwali, and we'll be celebrating Diwali itself, with a hundred Indian families in my town (Boston). There will be lights, Indian clothes and jewelry, music, and, perhaps, fireworks.

    And the next day, I will celebrate Halloween.

    I grew up in Mumbai, (western) India. The cosmopolitan nature of the city meant that festivals were celebrated generally in a big way in the large community of your neighborhood.

    As a child, Diwali was synonymous with lanterns, sweets and firecrackers. School semesters in India end a few weeks before Diwali and so the mid-year break was popularly called ‘Diwali Vacation’.

    All the kids in my neighborhood would be busy making paper lanterns in the run up to Diwali. There used to be unofficial competitions as to who makes the biggest or the most colorful lantern.

    During this period, my mother used to be occupied too, making various sweets and other preparations that are specific to Diwali. The traditional custom was that during Diwali, we would have guests coming over to our place, or we used to go to visit friends and relatives and partake of the special foodstuffs prepared at each of our homes.

    Around this time, roadside stalls selling firecrackers would be seen all over the place. We as children would go over and admire them and then go home and pester our parents to buy us the best ones

    About a day prior to Diwali, there is a custom of drawing a colored mosaic outside your door, to sort of serve as a welcome to guests. This mosaic, called ‘Rangoli’ was another aspect that used to lead to fierce competition during childhood days. Kids would gather at the playground and brag about the Rangolis at their places.

    Nighttime in Diwali is a breathtaking experience. All around, the houses would have earthen oil lamps lighting up their porches. Paper lanterns would be hanging out the windows. The sky would be covered with fireworks. Noisy firecrackers would be going off all around. It is a great time to be a kid!

    One of the religious significances of Diwali is that it is the night that the Goddess of wealth, Laxmi ,is worshipped. And so the merchants in India who still follow the traditional Indian calendar start the new financial year this day. The adults gather to play cards overnight. It was the most amazing thing to be a part of as a kid.

    As I got older, my fascination with firecrackers got lesser. I started to look forward to Diwali more as perhaps the only time during the year that I will really get to have a conversation with old friends and cousins whom I get to see only during the festivals.

    The Indian student community at Darden Business School in my class is pretty close-knit, and we have planned some celebrations in our own small way for Diwali (one that does not include the fireworks, the sweets and the decorations, however, just a night of playing cards).The thing that I miss the most about Diwali is probably the people back in India that I enjoy spending Diwali with.

    I have lived out of India for 18 years now. The first 8 years were wonderful and I did not feel too homesick because we lived among a large and vibrant Indian community in Wisconsin which celebrated most every festival of India and we very happily participated in these festivities. Every weekend we got an occasion to cook for a potluck, wear our saris and lehengas, feel the motivation and enthusiasm to be a part of all the fun. For the last almost 10 years, we have lived in a small town called Charlottesville, an hour and half away from DC and an hour from Richmond – Does not seem like a very big commute, but on a weekly basis with 3 kids, wearing the several hats that most moms in the US do, it is next to impossible to consider commuting back and forth to a big city – thus we settled to a quiet and sober life with everyday being the same, a sad apology for an Indian association, fragmented by divisions which I always believed every Indian shed when they moved to another country – Not south Indian or North Indian, but just Indian – There is also a big difference in the mindset and attitude of Indians in the mid-west – who are warm, welcoming, and inclusive – Whereas in central Virginia, nobody could give a fig! Given this situation, the best thing that happened to me was blogging – I get my cultural fix thanks to my food blogging – I am enjoying the virtual treats and visual eye candy J But I have learned to safeguard our traditions and culture for the sake of my children and also for my pleasure and that of my husband. If we don’t we may just as well give it all up and forget about our roots. I cannot allow that to happen—We are approaching Deepavali and it is as always a weekday and business as usual for my hubby and kids –but like we’ve learned to do over the many years we await the weekend to celebrate at least with family – On the day of, it’s usually it’s me & my baby and the walls that surround us!!! I am planning countdown for Deepavali, much like I used to starting a month ahead of the date when I was growing up in Pondicherry, east India – we could not sleep for the excitement of the morn – The loud burst of crackers, the garland crackers (oosi sarams) the oil baths, the sambrani, the new clothes, the bakshanams (food, sweets & savories), the Lakshmi pooja, the wonderful smells of food all the way down the street, the visits to the neighbors for sweets and savory exchanges, the matinee shows, the evening gala with flowerpots and rockets – Ah those were some memories – I still can see my parents sitting in their chairs in the Verandah as they watched us go gingerly to light the sparklers over the flower pots! I want to leave behind a legacy of our rich culture and traditions for my children so that they may pass it on either in entirety or at least in a somewhat diluted form. I hope that sooner than later, I will be back in India for good to reclaim those wonderful occasions and relive them with my husband, children and my brothers and sisters families. So I end on a more positive note - Festivals are what we make of them and I want to make this one my kids will remember long enough to share with their kids... Happy Deepavali to all!

    Submitted by Bruce Penner, WTJU Folk