radio

Girls of Togo on WINGS

some of my students performing traditional dance in Kante, Togo


Girls of Togo,” adapted from my 2010 radio series Radio Réussite (produced in French in Togo), airs on the Women’s International News Gathering Service (WINGS) this week. It features my song “La Belle Vie.” Preparing this segment allowed me to revisit the voices of old friends, as well as refresh my memory and awareness of another way of life.

Documentary on Cherokee Foodways

“Hominy, Frybread, Ramps, and a Casino: Evolving Cherokee Foodways” investigates the recent history of Cherokee foodways and examines lifestyle changes brought to the Eastern Band by the construction of Harrah’s Cherokee Casino.

Harrah’s Cherokee Casino next to KFC billboard


No Taste Like Home

This audio piece I produced on “philosoforager” Alan Muskat, founder of No Taste Like Home, will air on APM’s The Splendid Table this weekend. Muskat connects foraging with regaining a sense of home in this life:

“I would like to communicate through wild foods this feeling that the Garden of Eden is real, and it’s a choice we’ve made, we make every day, to take what’s freely given as a gift, or to struggle to do it ourselves to replace it with what we think is better.”

Muskat’s foraging philosophy has prompted me to connect sense of home with my artistic philosophy of bricolage. Learn more in my Earth Flavors profile of lambsquarters, which features Muskat.

Fairy Food: The Little People’s Potato

On the trail of fairy potatoes, a.k.a. air potatoes, cinnamon vine, shan yao, and Chinese yam, I run into several interesting characters. #EarthFlavor20. Also in Mountain Xpress here as “Fairy food: WNC’s wild air potatoes satisfy appetites, feed imaginations.”

The following audio piece is a fairy potato treasure hunt incorporating elements of Cherokee, Celtic, and Chinese folklore and a bit o’ magic:

 

 

With Flour on Her Hands: Women Grinding Grain

An audio piece I produced mixing a traditional milling song from Cameroon with interview from Carolina Ground aired on APM’s The Splendid Table on May 22nd. See Earth Flavor 13 to read more about the women grinding grain at Carolina Ground.

Here is the original piece:

Or listen to the episode on The Splendid Table here. Milling song is from a compilation album called Nord Cameroun. Musique des Ouldémé (2001).

A Conversation with Peace Corps Legend Brownie Lee

Rebekah Brown “Brownie” Lee talks and reflects on cultural and economic difference, race, colonialism, and the Peace Corps at her home in Ouidah, Benin, February 22, 2012. I am revisiting the interview now in honor of Brownie’s recent passing. As the Francophone African saying goes, “Que la terre lui soit légère.” Friend and mentor, you are missed.

Lee cites materialism and the extended family as two major cultural differences between West Africa and the US. She speaks of her own experience taking in children in the various countries in which she lived and worked, and shares her concern about the practice of psychoanalysis (“I came home from Peace Corps, and people were going to counselors like we used to go the the dentist.”). She concludes the interview with her favorite proverb: “The snake cannot give birth to anything short and fat.”

Brownie Lee joined the Peace Corps as a volunteer in 1962; she was part of the first group to serve in Togo, West Africa. She then served as a volunteer in Guinea (1964-1966) and had a long teaching career that spanned Eastern and Western Africa, the U.S. and Jamaica, before returning to work in varlous supervisory roles and program directorships for the Peace Corps in the 1980s and 90s, and finally serving as Peace Corps Country Director in Togo and Benin (starting in 2007 and 2009, respectively).

Interviewer Carla Seidl served in the Peace Corps in Azerbaijan from 2006 to 2008 and in Peace Corps’ Girls Education and Empowerment program (which Brownie was influential in starting) in Togo from 2009 to 2011. At the time of this interview, she was serving as a Peace Corps Response volunteer at the International Center for Art and Music of Ouidah (CIAMO), Benin.

Background noise during the interview is Lee’s adopted teenage girls doing housework and meal preparation.