Solidarity Forever, Brother Pete Seeger

The world lost a dear person today. Pete Seeger entered his final rest. I grew up on his music, if not his purpose. In the late 60s, my parents were redefining themselves. We listened hardcore Christian revival like Bob Harrington (Chaplain of Bourbon St.), Mamas and Papas, New Christie Minstrels and Sister Rosetta. Pete Seeger fit that style by default. Then I grew up and started working in the labor movement and Pete was an icon. So it with deep sorrow that I bid him farewell. Solidarity Forever, Pete Seeger

Bobby Watson says MLK Jr Day is "Check Cashing Day" and He's Right

 I forgot it was MLK Jr. Day until I tried to go to the bank to cash a check. Ironically, a good object lesson for me, remembering Dr. King's "check marked insufficient funds" metaphor. MLK alluded to a 100-year-old "moral check" written by the founding fathers in the Declaration of Independence. It was payable to ALL "Americans" but only some could collect on it.

My son referenced these owed funds today, too. Coming home from work, he caught a song called "Check Cashing Day" on WYCE (our favorite alternative public radio from Grand Rapids). Jazz saxophonist Bobby Watson's wrote it as tribute to the I Have a Dream speech's 50th anniversary. The song says 50 years later, the check is still in some ways overdue.

 Bobby Watson is Right MLK Jr Day is "Check Cashing Day" - News - Bubblews

Kwanzaa in Congo Square Treme New Orleans Jazz and Roots at It's Best

On our recent trip to New Orleans, we explored Treme. If you're not familiar with NOLA, you might recognize this neighborhood from the TV show. Exotic, colorful, music-infused Treme was home base for many jazz icons--Alphonse Picou, Shannon Walker, Kermit Ruffins, Trombone Shorty, Tuba Fats. That's only the ones I recognize. There are many more bands and players.

Louis Armstrong Park on Rampart, honors legends Sidney Bechet, Mahalia Jackson, Wynton Marsalis, and its namesake Armstrong. Famed Basin Street, of Basin Street Blues, runs through the Treme.

Treme was particularly hard hit by Hurricane Katrina. All around are reminders. Foliage sprouted from flood water still grows on some buildings, like modern Hanging Gardens of Babylon. The original Mahalia Jackson Theater for Performing Arts was drowned in 14 feet of water. A new theater opened in 2009. Some areas still await clean up. Others are gone. Blessed Kwanzaa Ceremony, Congo Square New Orleans Treme Neighborhood