Integrating Carnegie Hall

Benny Goodman blew the lid off Carnegie Hall on this date in 1938, in a legendary jazz concert — tickets had sold out weeks in advance — that made the “uptown” (i.e., Black) music respectable among the midtown set. The “King of Swing” was joined onstage by Lionel Hampton, Lester Young, Johnny Hodges, Teddy Wilson, and other […]

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Singing Songs of Resistance

AN INTERVIEW WITH DAN KAUFMAN ON THE NEW ALBUM, FOR THOSE WHO CAME AFTER: SONGS OF RESISTANCE FROM THE SPANISH CIVIL WAR by Jacob L. Perl   JUST BEFORE ROSH HASHANAH in Madison, Wisconsin, someone spray-painted swastikas on a monument to the Wisconsin volunteers of of the Abraham Lincoln Battalion. The battalion was one of the international […]

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Arlo

Arlo Guthrie, son of Woody Guthrie and Marjorie Mazia, a Jewish dancer in Martha Graham’s company, was born in Brooklyn on this date in 1947. His maternal grandmother was the well-known Yiddish poet Aliza Greenblatt. Guthrie studied for his bar mitsve with the rightwing rabbi Meir Kahane (“[S]hortly after he started giving me my lessons, he started […]

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It Could Be a Wonderful World

Tin Pan Alley songwriter Hy Zaret (Zaritsky), whose output included “Unchained Melody,” “One Meatball,” “The Song of the French Partisan,” and “It Could Be a Wonderful World,” died at 99 on this date in 2007. His collaborators included Sammy Cahn, Lou Singer, Joan Whitney, and Alex North, among others. “Unchained Melody” (with Alex North) was […]

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The Folk Music Manager

Harold Leventhal, music manager for The Weavers, Pete Seeger, Woody Guthrie, Theodore Bikel, Judy Collins, Joan Baez, Phil Ochs, Neil Young, Johnny Cash, Peter, Paul & Mary, Tom Paxton, Arlo Guthrie (shown with Leventhal above), and numerous other folk musicians, was born in Ellenville, New York on this date in 1919. Leventhal joined the American Communist movement as […]

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September 8: Irwin Silber and Sing-Out!

Marxist writer, editor, and mostly pro-communist theoretician Irwin Silber, long-time editor and co-founder (with Pete Seeger, shown with Silber at right) of Sing-Out! magazine, died at 84 on this date in 2010. As founder of Paredon Records (with his wife, folksinger Barbara Dane) and (with Moses Asch) of Oak Publications, as well as through Sing-Out!, […]

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May 31: Pete Yarrow

Folksinger Peter Yarrow, part of the trio of Peter, Paul and Mary, was born in New York on this date in 1938, to Ukrainian Jewish immigrants. He joined the New York City folk revival scene after graduating from Cornell University (as a psych major), and joined up with Mary Travers and Noel Paul Stookey, under […]

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Singing and Listening for Change

Michael Kline and Carrie Nobel Kline Talk Across the Lines by Helen Engelhardt “The recorded voice is an auditory window into the soul. The way we speak is the most integral detail of who we are.” —Michael Nobel Kline FOR MORE than 60 years, Michael Kline has been a documentarian dedicated to recording the songs, […]

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