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Jonathan McNicol / Connecticut Public Radio

Laura Nyro's most famous compositions -- "Stoned Soul Picnic," "Stoney End," "When I Die," "Wedding Bell Blues," "Eli's Coming" -- are jewels of mainstream music, and her covers of songs like "Jimmy Mack" and "Gonna Take a Miracle" are legendary.

But she was uncomfortable under the spotlight and withdrew from it to become the Belle of Danbury.

Trinity College

Ugandan-American musician Samite Mulondo combines music and storytelling in his performances. This hour, Samite returns to our studios to talk about his newest piece, The Story Of Mutoto, which he performs at the University of Saint Joseph this weekend.

And  Hartford’s art house theater Cinestudio celebrates fifty years of showing films this week. We talk with Cinestudio’s founders, James Hanley and Peter McMorris.

On December 13, 2019, the House Judiciary Committee voted to recommend two articles of impeachment against President Trump, and the full House of Representatives adopted them on December 18. On February 5, 2020, the Senate acquitted the president on both articles.

Going by those dates, the full, official impeachment saga lasted 54 days.

Our side-project, Saturday-show chronicling of the impeachment, Pardon Me (Another Damn Impeachment Show?), launched on December 6, 2019. 11 episodes and 12 hours of radio later, Pardon Me has come to its close.

This hour, in lieu of a proper Colin McEnroe Show, and continuing the Presidents' Day weekend festivities, we present the final installment of Pardon Me.

Ballake Sissoko kora instrument
B. Peverelli

Sherif Sissoko says it would have been one thing if his brother Ballaké’s car had been vandalized. But his musical instrument?

“He was traveling to India, to Israel, to China with this kora,” said Sissoko, who lives in Hartford and is also a musician. “It’s personal. It’s like a piece of yourself.”

Four Department of Justice prosecutors working on the case of Roger Stone, a close friend of President Trump, withdrew from legal proceedings Tuesday after Attorney General William Barr overruled their sentencing recommendations. The president had complained about the long sentence.

Barr denied that President Trump asked him to intervene and claimed he wouldn't be "bullied or influenced by anybody." He said Thursday that the president should stop tweeting about DOJ criminal cases. The president took to Twitter Friday to say he has the "legal right." Shortly therafter, the DOJ dropped their probe into former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe.

Before you think this is more than theater, keep in mind that Barr also set up a process to vet information that Rudy Giuliani is gathering in Ukraine. And he tasked prosecutors to review the case of former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn.

Chief Justice John Roberts scolded House managers and the President's counsel early Wednesday for using language beneath the dignity of the world's "greatest deliberative body." This, after Senator Susan Collins complained about "unsettling comments" she felt went against Senate rules of decorum.

Speaking of decorum, senators played with fidget spinners and did crossword puzzles while House managers made their case for impeachment. Enough of this pettifoggery!

Rob Mead Photography

Actor John O’Hurley is probably best known for his guest-starring role on Seinfeld as Elaine’s boss, J. Peterman, the pompous and often clueless catalog guru. In real life, the West Hartford native is a busy performer and an accomplished singer and dancer. He brings his one-man show to the Ridgefield Playhouse this Sunday.

Nestled in the Irving S. Gilmore Music Library at Yale University is an audio and video collection featuring many of the major musical figures of our time. 

The Oral History of American Music includes interviews with a wide range of musical figures, from Charles Ives to Laurie Anderson.

President Trump fretted this week that White House lawyer Pat Cippolone and personal lawyer Jay Sekulow lacked experience on television. So he added a few TV-ready lawyers to the mix, each with scripted roles to play.

This week, Lawfare's Benjamin Wittes and Susan Hennessey argue that President Trump has changed the presidency from one of public service to one that serves his personal interests. Will we ratify his vision or reject it? It may be up to voters to decide.

Also this hour: Slate's Stephen Metcalf thinks Trump is a hostage to 1979. Why else would he be obsessed with U.S. embassies and Jimmy Carter?

And singer/songwriter Lara Herscovitch proves music is the antidote to our troubled times.

Linda Marklund / Flickr Creative Commons

Since 2014, we've gathered some of our heaviest hitters in the jazz world to talk about the year in jazz. From concept albums to masked musicians to tunes unlike anything you've ever heard, enjoy some great songs from this last crazy trip around the sun!

Universal Pictures

Cats -- the new feature film based on the musical by Andrew Lloyd Webber and starring James Cordon, Judi Dench, Jennifer Hudson, Taylor Swift, and others -- opened last weekend and grossed $6.6 million in the U.S. It is the 19th-worst opening for any movie in very wide release in history. The 18 movies that opened to less money on a similar number of screens are mostly a bunch of stuff that you don't remember ever existed: Hoot, The Seeker: Dark Rising, Fun Size, Hardcore Henry, Keeping Up with the Joneses, The Wild Thornberrys Movie, etc.

Oh, and I forgot to say: In addition to being a financial disaster, Cats is also... terrible. It earned a C+ CinemaScore from audiences (which is really bad). And it's at 18% on the Tomatometer (which is really rotten). It's so bad that Universal released an updated version to theaters early this week that has hopefully slightly less bad special effects.

Chion Wolf (file photo) / Connecticut Public Radio

Don't miss -- for what might just be the seventh year we've done this (though it might also be some other number too) -- a very badly planned Christmas Eve special featuring chaos muppet and music legend , the great Jim Chapdelaine, and State Troubadour Nekita Waller!

There's actually some question whether President Trump has officially been impeached, it turns out.

In any case, on Wednesday, December 18, the U.S. House of Representatives passed two Articles of Impeachment charging the president with abuse of power and obstruction of congress.

On our third full episode, we talk to the founder of Politico about the huge difference a tiny bit of self-control would make to the Trump presidency and a Yale historian about what those crazy founders were thinking when they put impeachment in the Constitution in the first place.

Plus: Our first AccuFrankie report from the Target parking lot in New Britain, Conn., and a song performed live in our studios by Nekita Waller, "Big Al" Anderson, Jim Chapdelaine, and The Shinolas.

Chion Wolf photo / Connecticut Public Radio

The holidays are traditionally a time of celebration and good cheer. But for many, this season of joy compounds feelings of sadness, stress, and loneliness. Many places of worship respond to those who are hurting during the holidays with what’s called a “Blue Christmas” worship service.

Why Are We So Fascinated By Scams?

Dec 17, 2019
Rusty Clark / Flickr Creative Commons

Fyre Festival, Theranos, Anna Delvey, the college admissions scandal... the list goes on. And whether explored on the news or as a book, podcast, documentary or feature film, consumers can't seem to get enough of this 'scamtent.'

 

This hour, we'll talk about scams and scammers, and discuss why we as a culture can't seem to look away.

Denise Gordon / Cuatro Puntos

The Music Moves Hartford Street Choir is a musical group with a difference. The choir members are all part of the downtown homeless community.

The project is a collaboration between Hartford’s Christ Church Cathedral and arts organization Cuatro Puntos.

Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public Radio

The grief and sadness of Dec. 14, 2012, has been expressed through countless poems, songs and other works of art, including the choral work “Solace,” a simple, solemn remembrance of the victims of Newtown, written by one of America’s leading poets and set to music by a Pulitzer Prize-winning composer.

Yale University

For a brief time during World War II, big-band leader Glenn Miller was stationed at the Army Air Force Technical Training Command at Yale University. During his stint in the Elm City, Capt. Miller and his Army Air Force Band made six live radio broadcasts at Woolsey Hall. 

Historians still debate when groups of Africans were first taken by Europeans and brought against their will to the Americas. Many say 2019 is the 400th anniversary of the start of slavery in the U.S. 

Yuichi Kosio / Creative Commons

Ralph Nader's niece died when Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 max 8 jet crashed in Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia, in March 2019.  Since that day, her family has been trying to prove that Boeing put profits before public safety when they failed to ground the plane when they recognized the danger it posed. 

Errin Duane Brooks / Facebook

African-American tenor Errin Duane Brooks performs the title role in Richard Wagner's Tristan und Isolde with Connecticut Lyric Opera this weekend. The Detroit native is on tear recently. This year alone he made his Metropolitan Opera, Carnegie Hall, and Lincoln Center debuts.

Chion Wolf

Are there countries where harmonica players are BIG stars? Why don't more women play it? How many different musical styles can you squeeze out of one of these things? Guests include a lot of the pros: Howard Levy, Don DeStefano and Chris DePino whose odd career arc has taken him from railroad conductor to chairman of the Connecticut Republican Party to professional harmonica player.

Also, Wolfie gets an on-air harmonica lesson from these gods of the harp.

Kishi Bashi playing violin outdoors
Max Ritter

Violinist and singer Kishi Bashi is Japanese American. His most recent musical project, Omoiyari, takes a look at the history of Japanese internment, when 120,000 Japanese Americans were incarcerated, fueled by xenophobia during World War II.

This hour, we sit down with Kishi Bashi to talk about why he’s turning to history to better understand our present, and we ask him about his unique musical style.

A24

Every year around this time, we like to take a look at just what's frightening us in the present moment. This year, we start with our present take on a past horror classic, Ridley Scott's Alien, which has its 40th anniversary this year.

Plus: Ari Aster's Hereditary follow-up, Midsommar, is set at a pagan retreat in rural Sweden. As such, it's seen as a bit of a reinvigoration of the folk horror genre, which includes classics like The Wicker Man and more contemporary titles like The VVitch.

Bartek Buczkowski / Facebook

NPR Tiny Desk Contest winner Gaelynn Lea was a fiddle teacher and performer in Duluth, Minnesota when she was encouraged by a friend to submit her song " Someday We'll Linger in the Sun" to the second ever NPR Tiny Desk contest in 2016. All Songs Considered Host Bob Boilen told NPR that when the judges of the competition heard Lea’s song they were completely floored.

McFadden Publications / Wikimedia Commons

A hard-boiled private eye, a glamorous blond, and a hapless drifter all sit at a bar on the seamy side of town. It's night, the streets are wet, the shadows are long. They each nurse a drink to the notes of a mournful saxophone and a lonely piano.  Smoke from the cigarettes swirls in the darkness. 

Netflix

Martin Scorsese is a grump. He doesn't like Marvel movies. He says they aren't "cinema." He says they aren't even narrative films, and "we shouldn't be invaded by it." The internet, as you can imagine, has takes.

And: The Eddie Murphy comeback is on. He appeared on Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee this summer. He's hosting Saturday Night Live in December. He's got multiple standup comedy specials in the works. And right now he's starring in the briefly-in-theaters-but-hitting-Netflix-next-weekend biopic Dolemite Is My Name.

Sasa Tkalcan / Jimmy Webb

.Jimmy Webb was possibly the most successful songwriter of the 1960's and 1970's. Classics like "Galveston," "Wichita Lineman," "Up, Up, and Away," and "MacArthur Park," were recorded by hundreds of artists from Glen Campbell to Donna Summer. Webb wrote the songs that others made famous.

HarshLight / Dapper Dans

We’re exploring the world of Barbershop Harmony; from its roots in the African American community to its influence in other genres, Barbershop is an important piece of the puzzle in the American music scene.

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