We’re hearing a lot about diversity and inclusion these days (which is great!) but as we’ll learn in this episode, those two words and what they stand for are at the very core of what guided the earliest days of Newport Folk and Jazz over sixty years ago, continuing to this day. And as we know, there is still much work to be done to make our world a just and equal place. Listen in as the women of Our Native Daughters share their experience of their powerful performance at Newport in 2019, their mission of amplifying the perspectives of Black American women from the time of slavery through the present, and discussing the ongoing need for better representation across genres – in particular Americana and Country – that have their roots in the black community, and at events like Newport Folk.
Amplifying women’s voices, and women of color, is an important part of this conversation, too, and Yola speaks on the importance of The Highwomen’s debut at Newport Folk and Brandi Carlile’s all female headlining set, and her own sense of purpose in occupying and owning space in a currently overwhelmingly white genre. We dive into the history of Newport and why the insistence on racial equality and diversity of its lineups was an especially personal mission of George Wein’s – one that he carried to New Orleans when creating Jazzfest with Preservation Hall’s Ben Jaffe’s parents, and how that festival in turn helped to integrate New Orleans. And Colin Meloy and Judy Collins join us to talk about folk music’s history as a tool for organizing and empowering the disenfranchised, especially through the voice of Pete Seeger. The fight continues to surround hate and force it to surrender.
Festival Circuit: Newport Folk is presented by Osiris Media, and hosted by Carmel Holt. It is co-written, co-produced and edited by Carmel and Julian Booker, who is also the series’ audio engineer. Production assistance from Zach Brogan. Executive producers are RJ Bee and Christina Collins. Show Logo and art by Mark Dowd.
The series theme music is “Ruminations Pt. 3 (Afternoon Haze)” by Steven Warwick. Thanks to Billy Glassner of the Newport Festivals Foundation for providing archival audio. Additional archival audio provided by the Alan Lomax Collection at the American Folklife Center, Library of Congress, courtesy of the Association for Cultural Equity. And many thanks to our folk family guests Amythyst Kiah, George Wein, Ben Jaffe, Bob Boilen, Leyla McCalla, Rhiannon Giddens, Allison Russell, Yola, Colin Meloy, Judy Collins, Martin Anderson, Phil and Brad Cook, Jay Sweet, Holly Laessig, Jess Wolfe, Brittany Howard, Brian Lima and Allison Pangakis.
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