It’s Halloween night, then Toussaint (All Saints Day) and All Souls Day, also Dia de los Muertos. We mark the season with songs and stories of hauntings, voodoo, and the afterlife in a devout and disruptive mix that honors and humours the dead, past and present. Hear from native New Orleanians Dr. John and Charles Neville about their encounters with the spirit world, and a trip to the local botanica in search of potions and charms to conjure good luck. Then California ofrenda maker Ofelia Esparza reveals the meanings behind her altar work for remembering loved ones on the Day of the Dead. Plus holiday and holy day sounds from Cassandra Wilson, Muddy Waters, Ana Tijoux, Gene Vincent and Santana.
MUSIC OF HEALING & ELIXIRS: LITTLE FREDDIE KING, ANDERS OSBORNE, DR. MICHAEL WHITE & MUSIC MAKER RELIEF FOUNDATION
From healing songs and expressions of pain to hoodoo cure-alls and feel-good elixirs, we explore the musical world of sickness and health. We talk with Mississippi-born guitarist Little Freddie King about how the blues saved many of his nine lives. New Orleans songwriter and rocker Anders Osborne tells of a journey that led to self-medicating with pain relievers that do more harm than good, and his eventual recovery. Tim Duffy of the Music Maker Relief Foundation in North Carolina explains the curative properties of music on society and his work with Taj Mahal to help deep-roots musicians in need. And clarinetist Dr. Michael White talks of jazz and its role in his and New Orleans’ recovery after Katrina. Plus, medicine show troubadours hawk their tonics, Dr. John prescribes Mama Roux’s healing potions, and Huey “Piano” Smith gives us a serious case of “Rockin’ Pneumonia and the Boogie Woogie Flu.”
We celebrate epic moments in American music from the Newport Jazz and Folk Festivals-from Duke Ellington’s 1956 comeback to Bob Dylan’s 1965 electric revolution. First, an hour tribute to the Newport Jazz Festival with performances by Ray Charles, Mahalia Jackson, Louis Armstrong, and a visit from trumpet legend Clark Terry, who played with Ellington in ’56. Then, the late festival founder George Wein shares his memories, such as the founding of the Folk Festival in 1959 that featured blues, gospel, country, Cajun and more; and folk singer Joan Baez recalls her Newport experiences. Plus Newport performances from Doc Watson, John Lee Hooker and others.
Ladies, Gentlemen, children of all ages, it’s a musical circus from the Big Top. Time to bring in the clowns and marvel at the dancing bears and parading elephants. Say yes to the organ grinder. Also to Bruce Springsteen, Victoria Spivey, Los Lobos and Ella Fitzgerald, plus visit with trapeze artist Dolly Jacobs and one time circus worker and glass eater, singer Meschiya Lake. Then a trip to Coney Island, where we’ll ride the Wonder Wheel and meet up with a carnival barker and Little Miss FireFly.