Texas Singer-Songwriter Walker Dies at 78

Jerry Jeff Walker, a Texas country singer and songwriter who wrote the pop song “Mr. Bojangles,” has died at age 78.Walker died Friday of cancer, family spokesman John T. Davis told The Associated Press.”He had battled throat cancer for many years, and some other health issues,” Davis said Saturday.Walker emerged from New York’s Greenwich Village folk scene in the 1960s, and he was a founding member of the band Circus Maximus. He moved to Texas in the 1970s and in 1972 scored a hit with his version of the Guy Clark song “L.A. Freeway.”Walker and the Lost Gonzo Band in 1973 recorded an album live in Texas called “Viva Terlingua” that became a classic of the country-rock scene. Walker had since released more than 30 albums.In 1986, he formed independent music label Tried & True Music and released albums under it.Walker was diagnosed with throat cancer in 2017, undergoing chemotherapy and radiation, he told the Austin American Statesman in 2018.”I guess I took my singing for granted, and now I don’t,” he told the newspaper.In 2017, it was announced that Walker had donated more than 100 boxes of his music archives to The Wittliff Collections at Texas State University, including tapes, photographs, handwritten lyrics and artifacts.Walker’s survivors include his wife, Susan; son, Django; and daughter, Jessie Jane. 
 

your ad here

Bilingual Virtual Festival Features American, Russian Playwrights

A bilingual virtual festival featuring American and Russian playwrights is taking place as tensions between the two countries are high and serving as a reminder of how art can bridge differences. Maxim Moskalkov has the story.
Camera: David Gogokhia     

your ad here

White House Halloween Event Tweaked for Coronavirus

Ghosts, goblins and other costumed kids are welcome to trick or treat at the White House on Sunday during a Halloween event that has been rejiggered to include coronavirus precautions.
The gates to the South Lawn will be opened to children from military families, frontline workers and others, from 3:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., Melania Trump announced Friday.
Extra precautions have been added to the spooky celebration.
President Donald Trump and the first lady — both recently recovered from COVID-19, the disease brought on by the coronavirus — will welcome guests at some point during the event.
Guests older than 2 are required to wear face coverings and practice social distancing. The same goes for all White House personnel working the event, while any staff handing out candy will also wear gloves.
Hand sanitizer will be available along the route and social distancing measures will be in place.
Participating federal departments will use a “no-touch” approach.
NASA will display space-related items, including an inflatable rocket. Costumed-clad kids can wave to the Agriculture Department’s Smokey Bear and pick up Junior Ranger badges from the Interior Department’s station.
The Education and Labor departments will offer photo opportunities, and the Transportation department will provide paper airplanes for children to take home.
The South Portico of the White House will be decorated with bright-colored leaves in various shades of autumn, chrysanthemums and pumpkins.

your ad here

American Film Institute Adjusts to Virtual Reality During Pandemic

AFI FEST, one of Hollywood’s most prestigious film festivals and part of the American Film Institute, was held virtually this year because of the coronavirus pandemic.  VOA’s Penelope Poulou spoke to the festival’s organizers and filmmakers about the challenges and advantages of the online platform. 
Camera:  Penelope Poulou   Producer: Penelope Poulou

your ad here

During the Pandemic AFI Fest Adjusts to a Virtual Reality

AFI FEST, one of Hollywood’s most prestigious film festivals and part of the American Film Institute, was held virtually this year because of the coronavirus pandemic.  VOA’s Penelope Poulou spoke to the festival’s organizers and filmmakers about the challenges and advantages of the online platform. 
Camera:  Penelope Poulou   Producer: Penelope Poulou

your ad here

Theater World to Unite for Get-Out-The-Vote Event on Oct. 29

Playwright and “The Walking Dead” star Danai Gurira, Tony Award-winning director Stephen Daldry and two-time Pulitzer Prize winner playwright Lynn Nottage are spearheading a night of music and short monologues as part of a national get-out-the-vote effort.
The hourlong, nonpartisan “Act Out: Vote 2020” will be performed by Yvette Nicole Brown, Ryan J. Haddad, Brian Tyree Henry, Lloyd Knight, Sandra Oh and Ephraim Skyes. The event will be available to stream for free at ActOutVote2020 on Oct. 29 at 9 p.m. ET and then live on YouTube until Nov. 2.
“Voting matters for every election,” said Nottage in a statement, “but this Nov. 3 is even more important. We believe that if the entire theatrical community — a community that has been shut down for 6 months and will be shut down for a year more — voted, we could help make real, necessary change.”
In addition to Nottage and Gurira, the writers include Luis Alfaro, Ngozi Anyanwu, Will Arbery, Jocelyn Bioh, Lady Dane Figueroa Edidi, Ryan J. Haddad, David Henry Hwang, Lisa Kron, Tarell Alvin McCraney, Martha Redbone, Heidi Schreck and Rhiana Yazzie.
Gurira, in a statement, said the effort “is our attempt to amplify American voices in this pivotal moment in history, and we implore everyone to make their voices heard and go out and vote!”
There are dozens of participating theaters, including the Alabama Shakespeare Festival, Alley Theatre, Baltimore Center Stage, Cleveland Playhouse, Dallas Theater Center, Guthrie Theater, La Jolla Playhouse, Long Wharf Theatre, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Pittsburgh Public Theater, The Public Theater, Repertory Theatre of St. Louis and Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company.
Each theater will provide voting information specific to their state, assisted by When We All Vote, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization launched by Michelle Obama to increase participation in every election.

your ad here

Spain’s DJ Padilla, Icon of Chillout Music, Dies

Spanish DJ Jose Padilla, who became famous for pairing relaxed music with sunset views on the holiday island of Ibiza, has died of cancer. He was 64.”It is with great sadness that we bring you the news that Jose passed away peacefully in his sleep on Sunday night here on his beloved island of Ibiza,” said a message published on his Facebook page late on Monday.Born in Barcelona in 1955, he moved to Ibiza when he was 20 and began working as a DJ in a yearslong career which ultimately saw him nominated for a Latin Grammy.He shot to fame in the 1990s when he became the resident DJ at the Cafe del Mar bar in San Antoni de Portmany, which is known for its sweeping sunset views of the Mediterranean.It was there that he made a name for himself with his compilations of “chillout” music, drawing hordes of partygoers to the bar and spawning albums that sold around the world.”Jose Padilla chilled a generation of clubbers, and his art touched the lives of millions. He will always be remembered as the Godfather of Chillout,” the Cafe del Mar tweeted.Padilla went public with his colon cancer diagnosis in a tweet in July and underwent surgery the following month.In his last few messages, he asked fans for help due to the impact of the pandemic, saying he had “no income whatsoever and no way to pay my rent.” 

your ad here

Reggae, Bongo Flava Songs Energize Tanzanian Campaign Rallies

Music has featured prominently in Tanzania’s political campaigns this year ahead of the Oct. 28 general elections.The ruling party, Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM), or Party of the Revolution, has trotted out the biggest number of musicians during rallies by incumbent President John Pombe Magufuli. CCM opened Magufuli’s campaign in late August with a stadium-filled special concert of 200 songs by more than 100 artists from the Afro-pop music genre widely known as Bongo Flava.But it is Tundu Lissu, the presidential candidate of Tanzania’s main opposition Chadema party, speaks to the media at his home in Dar es Salaam, Sept. 9, 2020.Tumaini Makene, Lissu’s campaign manager, says a DJ played “One Love” at a rally in southern Tanzania and the candidate broke into an impromptu reggae dance, stoking a frenzy among the huge crowd. The song, released on the 1977 album “Exodus,” has since become a staple of Lissu’s campaign, often used to open rallies or else to calm the crowd when it seems to go out of control.Tanzania’s electoral campaigns have been particularly music-heavy this year.  The ruling CCM party commands the biggest attractions, pulling large crowds to rallies featuring popular Bongo Flava musicians such as Diamond Platnumz, Ali Kiba and Harmonize.But it is the young female artist Zuchu who has spurred the most popular song for Magufuli’s campaign. “Tanzania Ya Sasa,” which translates as “Today’s Tanzania,” extols the successes of Magufuli during his first five years in power.Chadema has its share of local musicians at its rallies, but Marley’s songs – “One Love” and “Buffalo Soldier” among them – are the crowd favorites. Chadema campaign DJs line up a playlist heavy with his reggae songs.Chadema officials say their presidential candidate did not specifically ask for Marley’s music. He simply responded to the vibes of the songs chosen by the DJs at his public rallies.This report originated in VOA’s Swahili service, where Mwamoyo Hamza serves as its chief.

your ad here

Afghan Artists Fear a Taliban Return to Power

As the Afghan Taliban tries to negotiate a political settlement with the government, many musicians in the country are worried about the impact a deal will have on their ability to work, as VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports from Kabul.Videographer:  Ahmad Javed, Rahim Gul Sarwan  Producer: Marcus Harton

your ad here

World Series to Feature Dodgers, Rays

The Los Angeles Dodgers and Tampa Bay Rays will face off in Major League Baseball’s World Series beginning Tuesday. The Dodgers secured their spot with a dramatic victory Sunday night, defeating the Atlanta Braves 4-3 in the deciding seventh game of the National League Championship Series. Los Angeles at one point trailed in the series three games to one, and Atlanta shot out to an early 2-0 lead in game 7.   But the Dodgers battled back, with centerfielder Cody Bellinger breaking a 3-3 tie with a seventh-inning home run, and pitcher Julio Urias throwing three scoreless innings to close out the win. The American League Championship Series also went to seven games, with Tampa Bay holding off a late rally Saturday to beat the Houston Astros. The Rays led that series three games to none before Houston won three in a row to push the series to seven games. Tampa Bay rookie Randy Arozarena was the star with four total home runs, including a two-run homer in the first inning of Game 7 to give the Rays a lead they would not relinquish. After a season cut to 60 games because of the coronavirus, the playoffs have delivered the teams with the two top records in the league to the World Series. The matchup also includes two teams at opposite ends of the league financially, with the Dodgers maintaining one of the highest payrolls and the Rays one of the lowest. One lingering effect of the coronavirus pandemic is that all World Series games will be played in Arlington, Texas, instead of in Los Angeles and Tampa Bay. A limited number of fans – about 11,500 in a ballpark that seats 40,000 – will be able to attend the games. For the Dodgers, it is their third World Series appearance in the span of four seasons.  The team has been one of the best in baseball during that time but is still chasing its first championship since 1988. Tampa Bay made its only World Series appearance in 2008 when it lost to the Philadelphia Phillies. 

your ad here

Pandemic Inspires NY Philharmonic Pop-Up Concerts  

Live music is slowly coming back to the streets of New York City – in a new, pandemic-inspired way. With the city concert venues still closed, New York Philharmonic decided to put its world-class musicians on a truck to perform on city roads and intersections. Anna Nelson has the story, narrated by Anna Rice.
Camera: Natalia Latukhina, Vladimir Badikov  

your ad here

Eilish Wins Top Album at Billboard Awards, Clarkson Performs

Billie Eilish’s debut album continued its winning streak, picking up the top Billboard 200 album honor at the 2020 Billboard Music Awards. Eilish was at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles on Wednesday night to accept the honor for “When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?” It won the top prize at the Grammy Awards in January. She thanked her fans for “believing in me and caring about me,” adding that when it comes to winning awards, “never ever take these for granted.” Eilish wore a mask as she spoke in front of an empty venue — because of the coronavirus pandemic — and she’s up for more honors throughout the night. Kelly Clarkson, who is hosting, kicked off the show singing Steve Winwood’s “Higher Love,” which became a dance hit last year after Whitney Houston’s cover of the song was remixed by Norwegian DJ-producer Kygo and became an international hit. Clarkson was joined by drummer Sheila E. and a cappella group Pentatonix for the performance of the song, which earned Houston, who died in 2012, a posthumous nomination for top dance/electronic song. Post Malone, who will perform later in the show, is the top nominee with 16, including bids for top artist, top male artist, top rap artist and top streaming songs artist. His competition for the show’s biggest prize, top artist, includes Taylor Swift, Eilish, Khalid and Jonas Brothers.Post Malone appears on stage with his nine awards to include top male artist and top artist at the Billboard Music Awards on Oct. 14, 2020, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles.K-pop all-stars BTS — who currently own the top two positions on the Billboard Hot 100 chart this week with “Dynamite” and the “Savage Love” remix, with Jawsh 685 and Jason Derulo — will also perform. Others set to perform Wednesday include Alicia Keys, Bad Bunny, Sia, Kane Brown, Luke Combs, Doja Cat, En Vogue, Khalid, Brandy, Ty Dolla $ign, Swae Lee, Demi Lovato and SAINt JHN. Country music icon Garth Brooks will be presented the Icon Award from Cher, and rapper-activist Killer Mike will earn the Change Maker Award. Some of the performances will be live, while others were pre-taped due to the coronavirus pandemic. This year’s ceremony was originally supposed to take place in April but was postponed because of the pandemic.  Other nominees include Kanye West, who released two gospel albums last year. He is up for nine prizes, including bids for top gospel artist and top Christian artist, while four of the five songs nominated for top gospel song are from West. Outside of Houston, other deceased nominees include rapper Juice WRLD, who died in December and is currently dominating the charts and streaming services with his first posthumous album “Legends Never Die.” He picked up nominations for top rap artist and top rap album for his 2019 release “Death Race for Love.” And EDM superstar Avicii is nominated for top dance/electronic artist and top dance/electronic album for “Tim,” the album he started working on before he died in 2018 and was later completed by his producers and family. 

your ad here