American Routes celebrates the 2013 National Heritage Fellows live in concert from George Washington University’s Lisner Auditorium in Washington, DC. Nick hosts the evening of music and stories, honoring the nation’s finest practitioners of traditional arts. This year’s fellows include singer-pianist Carol Fran, traditional Irish musician Seamus Connolly, Sacred Harp singer David Ivey, Chicano musician-activist Ramon “Chunky” Sachez, Gypsy traditional musician Nicolae Feraru.
It’s an exploration of the funk universe on American Routes. New York City’s pioneer of Afro-Latin Soul, Joe Bataan, tells us about his boogaloo beginnings, melding Latin beats with soulful sounds and his move toward “salsoul” and rap. And a conversation with Stanton Moore and Ben Ellman from New Orleans’ Galactic about their love of all things funky from the Crescent City and beyond.
The singer-songwriter Ben Harper has been on the scene since the early ’90s, but now he’s digging deeper into the blues with the legendary harpman Charlie Musselwhite. We’ll talk with Ben about the musical journey from his family’s music store to his recent recording that he calls his “graduation” album. Then an in-studio conversation with a guitarist who has played with Sun Ra and now plays banjo with Preservation Hall, New Orleans’ own Carl LeBlanc.
In this special program, American Routes’ host Nick Spitzer uncovers the music and cultural traditions of Los Angeles: from Hollywood to neighborhood. Join Nick as he travels across the City of Angels to hear from L.A. legends — including Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys and songwriter Randy Newman — and explores musical cultures with Cambodian-born rapper PraCh Ly in Long Beach, Louisiana Creole zydeco accordionist T-Lou in South Central, and East L.A.‘s Ersi Arvizu. Plus conversations and music from Mexican-American rock band Los Lobos, R & B saxophonist Big Jay McNeely, and rockabilly guitarist Glen Glenn. Along the way we visit L.A. musical landmarks – including the famed Capitol Records recording studios.