Composer Dameun Strange has loved opera ever since he was a little kid. For over 25 years, he struggled to compose an opera of his own. Now Strange has teamed up with other black artists to create a new opera about Martin Luther King, Jr.’s mother — Alberta. But writing the music wasn’t easy. I reported this story for KFAI’s Minneculture.
Every year, the Minnesota chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists hosts an awards banquet honoring the best in Minnesota television, newspaper, magazine, and yes, radio journalism. Last week, I received a first place Page One award for “How Black Lives Matter Got an Anthem,” which I reported and produced for KFAI’s Minneculture series and then later adapted for the BBC’s Cultural Frontline.
KFAI producers Will Wright and Melissa Olson (featured above), also received awards for their work here and here. Producing a radio story is hard. Many thanks to our editor Todd Melby for leading us through the swamp of unwieldy raw tape to produce something that sings. A special thanks to musician Jayanthi Kyle for sharing her story with me and KFAI’s listeners.
(Photo from left to right: Will Wright, Melissa Olson, and me. Photo credit: Reem El-Radi)
Fifteen years ago, American musician Doug Little traveled Cuba to study Latin jazz. In Havana, he met a flute teacher who introduced him to a traditional Cuban musical style called “charanga.” Today, Little is the bandleader of Charanga Tropical, which is one of a just a handful of charanga ensembles in the United States. I reported this story for KFAI’s Minneculture. (Photo courtesy of Walter Horishnyk)
In the early 1980s, a Romanian ballet star named Carlos Stroia visited Little Falls, Minnesota to teach a few ballet classes. Surprisingly, he never left. (Photo by Nancy Rosenbaum)
For 25 years, Arnellia’s Bar and Restaurant in St. Paul is where generations of African Americans have gathered for live music, birthday celebrations, and even a weekly game of cards. Many local musicians started their careers here. Arnellia’s will be closing on April 30, 2017. I spoke to longtime customers and performers about the club’s legacy. (De’Monica Flye [left] and Kendra Glenn [right] perform at Arnellia’s. Photo by Nancy Rosenbaum)