Culture

Culture
9:50 am
Thu January 9, 2014

The Drummer Who Invented Jazz's Basic Beat

Originally published on Thu January 9, 2014 9:25 am

It doesn't take an expert to identify this sound as a jazz rhythm:

Musicians call it "spang-a-lang," for obvious phonetic reasons, and it's so synonymous with jazz, it no longer occurs to us that someone had to invent it. But someone did: a drummer named Kenny Clarke, who would have turned 100 today.

Read more
Culture
6:08 pm
Wed January 8, 2014

In An Age Of Slavery, Two Women Fight For Their 'Wings'

iStockphoto

Originally published on Wed January 8, 2014 9:29 pm

Sue Monk Kidd's new novel is a story told by two women whose lives are wrapped together — beginning, against their wills, when they're young girls. One is a slave; the other, her reluctant owner. One strives her whole life to be free; the other rebels against her slave-owning family and becomes a prominent abolitionist and early advocate for women's rights.

The book, The Invention of Wings, takes on both slavery and feminism — and it's inspired by the life of a real historical figure.

Read more
Culture
1:57 am
Tue January 7, 2014

Sunday Assembly: A Church For The Godless Picks Up Steam

Ian Dodd (center), co-founder of the Los Angeles chapter of Sunday Assembly, sings with other attendees. Chapters of the godless church, founded by British comedians Sanderson Jones and Pippa Evans, have been spreading since launching in London in January 2013.
Jae C. Hong AP

Originally published on Wed January 8, 2014 2:41 pm

It sometimes feels like church in the auditorium of the Professional Musicians union in Hollywood. It's a Sunday morning, and hundreds of people are gathered to meditate, sing and listen to inspirational poetry and stories.

But then the live band starts up — performing songs by the Beatles, the Rolling Stones and Jerry Lee Lewis. And instead of a sermon, there's a lecture by experimental psychologist and neuroscientist Jessica Cail about the biology of gender identification and sexual orientation.

Read more
Culture
11:47 am
Sat January 4, 2014

'Our Soul Music Is Mariachi Music': Houston's Mexican Mass

Jess Escalante (right), the 70-year-old founder of Mariachi Norteno, plays his guitarrón in a recent Mass for Our Lady of Guadalupe inside St. Joseph Catholic Church in Houston. He's joined by Jose Martinez.
John Burnett NPR

Originally published on Sat January 4, 2014 7:50 pm

Read more
Culture
1:38 am
Thu January 2, 2014

Blues Musician Tabby Thomas Dies At 84

Chris Thomas King plays on the House of Blues stage with his father, Tabby Thomas, in 2001, at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival.
Douglas Mason AP

Originally published on Thu January 2, 2014 7:33 am

Legendary bluesman Tabby Thomas died Wednesday at the age of 84.

He would have celebrated his 85 birthday on Sunday.

NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune reports that Thomas was probably best known for opening Tabby's Blue Box in Baton Rouge, La. He opened the club in the late 1970s, giving Louisiana blues musicians, who had lost opportunities because of the disco craze, a place to play.

Blues-lovers from around the globe flocked to Tabby's.

Read more
Culture
2:21 am
Mon December 30, 2013

Films With Black Actors, Directors Go To 11 In 2013

Monica Calhoun (left), Melissa De Sousa and Nia Long star in The Best Man Holiday, one of this year's eleven top-grossing films starring black actors and by black directors.
Michael Gibson Universal Pictures

Originally published on Mon December 30, 2013 10:33 am

As we near the end of 2013, NPR is taking a look at the numbers that tell the story of this year — numbers that, if you really understand them, give insight into the world we're living in, right now. You'll hear the stories behind numbers ranging from zero to 1 trillion.

When it comes to race and film, the number of the year is 11.

Read more
Culture
12:57 pm
Fri December 27, 2013

Stories Merge As 'Duck Dynasty' Fans Plan 'Chick-Phil-A' Day

One of Chick-Phil-A-Day's promotional images.
Facebook.com/chickphiladay

Originally published on Fri December 27, 2013 4:43 pm

Update at 5:40 p.m. ET. A&E Lifts Phil Robertson's Suspension:

A&E announced Friday afternoon that it was reversing its decision to suspend Duck Dynasty patriarch Phil Robertson from the show.

A statement from the cable channel says the decision was made after discussions with the Robertson family and "numerous advocacy groups."

Here's our original post ...

Read more
Culture
9:02 am
Wed December 25, 2013

Harold Bradley: The Guitarist Of Nashville Past

Guitarist Harold Bradley attends the Special Merit Awards and Nominee Reception on Jan. 30, 2010, in Los Angeles.
Rick Diamond WireImage

Originally published on Wed December 25, 2013 6:04 pm

Some of Nashville's most classic songs — Roy Orbison's "Only the Lonely," Loretta Lynn's "Coal Miner's Daughter," Tammy Wynette's "Stand by Your Man" and

Read more
Culture
7:52 am
Tue December 24, 2013

Hey Hey Hey! Historian Draws Attention To '70s Black Animation Art

An original production cel from Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids. The show was among a burst of 1970s-era Saturday morning cartoons that featured positive African-American characters.
Courtesy of Pamela Thomas/Museum of UnCut Funk!

Originally published on Tue December 24, 2013 12:34 pm

Read more
Culture
2:42 am
Tue December 24, 2013

Pastor Leads A New Brand Of Church For 'Sinners And Saints'

Pastor Nadia Bolz-Weber, shown here officiating civil union ceremonies in Denver in May, wrote a book on faith that recently landed on the New York Times best-seller list.
Anna Hanel Colorado Public Radio

Originally published on Wed December 25, 2013 6:24 am

It's Sunday evening, and services are just getting underway at the House for All Sinners and Saints in Denver. Nearly 200 worshipers sit in circles of plastic chairs around a simple altar table. Together they follow traditional Christian rites. They sit. They stand. They sing.

Read more

Pages