Boston Globe, July 8, 2012 NEW YORK— Let’s say you formed your first band as a Trenton, N.J., teen in the ’50s. You helped invent funk in a trio, LaBelle, that found cult status in the ’70s. You pioneered sci-fi themes before George Clinton. Later, you forged ahead as a solo artist and in collaborations […]
For singer-songwriter Morley, it’s all about connections
Boston Globe, May 11, 2012 NEW YORK — There are lots of birds in the lyrics of Morley, the singer-songwriter who’s found an original place for herself at the intersection of the jazz, folk, funk, and world-music scenes here, and who flits between these worlds with the grace and ease of the winged creatures that […]
Nimbaya! beats the odds — and the drums
Boston Globe, February 10, 2012 The tremendous swirl of color and rhythm; the rich layering of djembe drums with the kora lute and marimba-like balafon; storytelling theater that starts as gentle conversation and escalates into a dance party that pulls the audience out of their seats: Nimbaya!, the dance and drumming troupe from Guinea, delivers […]
MC Ras Ceylon: One love from Sri Lanka to Jamaica
MTV Desi, June 6, 2011 “The Gideon Force was the regiment that kicked the fascists out of Ethiopia,” explains Oakland-based MC Ras Ceylon. The force, he says, resisted the Italian incursion against the Ethiopia of Haile Selassie, the emperor sacred to Rastafarians. It inspired the title of the latest mixtape from the reggae and hip hop […]
Activist/MC Delhi Sultanate: “The new rich kids are ignorant, selfish and crude”
MTV Desi, June 3, 2011 Not long ago we featured a remarkable collaboration called the Bant Singh Project. Bant Singh is the Punjabi Dalit singer and political activist who lost several limbs after a vicious beating by upper-caste neighbors after he dared confront them for raping his daughter. After Bant Singh refused to be silenced and continued […]
DJ Rekha: from the basement to the White House
MTV Desi, April 27, 2011 Ah, Easter in America. Chocolate bunnies and Easter eggs, kids running around the lawn — and bhangra? Yes! At the White House, no less. New York’s own indispensable Desi producer and all-around culture maven DJ Rekha has been seen at the White House a few times since Barack Obama’s election. Fresh back […]
Festival showcases Africa in all its diversity
Boston Globe, May 23, 2010 With the World Cup kicking off in three weeks in Johannesburg, the eyes of the world are about to be trained on Africa. But how many people know that 2010 marks 50 years of independence for more than half the nations on the continent? And how aware are we of […]
WNYC News, April 13, 2009 In a few weeks wild flowers will sprout up all over Bedford-Stuyvesant. That’s the hope of activists who sowed the flowers over the weekend on untended land in the Brooklyn neighborhood. But the environmental project also raised questions — about how to organize community action in a changing neighborhood.
What the Left thinks of “socialism”
WNYC News, October 31, 2008 The last few weeks of turmoil on the financial markets and all the talk of bailouts and rescue plans has brought government intervention in the economy to the forefront of debate in a way it hasn’t been in a long time. But there are some who have been advocating alternatives to […]
On Brooklyn’s black heritage
WNYC News, June 18, 2008 When gentrification comes to a neighborhood it isn’t just the residents who can feel like like they’re being pushed away. It’s also the local history. So how can a community’s past contribute to its future? WNYC’s Siddhartha Mitter reports from Bedford-Stuvesant.
A gang’s-eye view of the Bronx streets
WNYC News, January 9, 2008 Street gangs have always been a part of life in New York City; in some neighborhoods they’re a constant fact of life. WNYC’s Siddhartha Mitter spent time in the Bronx with a teenager to get a street level view.
Singing for life: HIV/AIDS and music in Uganda
Afropop Worldwide, November 15, 2007 Produced by Siddhartha Mitter. Follow link for audio. In just fifteen years, Uganda lowered its HIV/AIDS infection rate from 30% to just 5%. The life-saving information was best channeled by grassroots theater groups, and especially, women’s choirs who turned health advice, sometimes blended with religion, into entertainment that could move […]
Corona Plaza, center of everywhere
WNYC News, September 14, 2007 There’s been a multi-media art project going on all summer in Corona Plaza, off Roosevelt Avenue in Queens. But walking by, you might not even know it was there. Siddhartha Mitter caught up with some artists working to connect their art with their communities.