Arts & Culture

Arts and culture

The smuggler

Mar 9, 2017

In 2015, French radio reporter Raphael Krafft was covering the refugee crisis. On the border with Italy, he met desperate families turned away by his country. Then one family asked Krafft for his help crossing the border. As a journalist, he was supposed to be objective, but that was getting harder to do. So he followed his moral compass, which led him on the journey of a lifetime.

Sound Opinions: One and Done

Mar 9, 2017

Some artists deliver a fantastic debut album, yet never make another LP again. Hosts Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot select some of their favorite “one and done” bands and explore what makes these one-album wonders so great. Plus, a review of the new record from multi-genre bassist Thundercat.

United Nations Photo

“Seven” is a documentary-style stage production that tells the stories of seven women who have made positive change in their countries.

The show features the true stories ranging from a woman in Pakistan who champions education for girls in disadvantaged areas to a woman in Russia who created the first domestic violence hotline in her country.

‘Stained-Glass Millennials:’ Keeping The Faith In A New Era

Mar 7, 2017
Jessi Lancaster

Millennials are the least likely to go to church and less religiously oriented than generations before them. It’s a statistic that has been repeated often in recent years to explain the drop in attendance at Christian churches across the country.

But Rob Lee, a Methodist millennial, says that the faithful in his generation have been lost in that narrative.

Ben Vereen
Courtesy of Isak Tiner

Ben Vereen made a name for himself on Broadway in the late 1960s with performances in hit productions like “Sweet Charity” and “Hair.” He later won a Tony award in 1973 for his role in “Pippin.” Since then, he has also acted in more than a dozen television shows, including the 1977 hit miniseries “Roots.”
 

In his one-man show “Steppin’ Out with Ben Vereen,” Vereen performs hit songs from Broadway and pays tribute to iconic performers Sammy Davis Jr. and Frank Sinatra.

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Lopez, Kristina

Viet Thanh Nguyen‘s first novel “The Sympathizer” won a raft of awards — including the Pulitzer Prize. He’s just published his second book to great acclaim. It’s a collection of short stories called, “The Refugees.”

People, Problems, Places

Mar 6, 2017
Ray Christian
Dare Kumolu-Johnson

Ray Christian struggles to realize his dream of graduating from law school.

Alyssa Ladd is embarrassed to run into familiar faces while working at a Michaels craft store.

Nestor Gomez is stuck driving an unruly Uber passenger during rush hour.

Steven Carr is given a photo collage from his mother of he and his "friend."

Melanie Kostrezwa learns her daughter must undergo a craniotomy.  

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Lopez, Kristina

We’re taking our show on the road to South by Southwest!

An image of the gospel singer Mary D. Williams
Charlie Shelton-Ormond / WUNC

When Mary D. Williams was a kid growing up in Garner, North Carolina, she often visited her grandparents in Johnston County. She remembers passing a sign that said, “You are in the heart of Klan country” along the way. The sign was a visible example of the racism her grandparents endured in rural North Carolina.

Kaia Kater
Polina Mourzina

The birth of the Carolina Chocolate Drops at the 2005 Black Banjo Gathering at Appalachian State University has become the stuff of folk music legend. “Of course it was an academic event,” Dom Flemons notes of the conference, “but it was also based on the idea of confirming that you weren’t the only one out there.” Once launched, the Drops’ music spread like wildfire. With it emerged a new public appreciation of the African American roots of old-time, bluegrass, and country music.

A picture of Sarah Shook
disarmers.com

Songs We Love is a series and a podcast that looks at the stories behind some of the songs we're playing on our new music discovery stream, WUNC Music.

On this episode, Eric Hodge chats with Sarah Shook of Sarah Shook & The Disarmers about her song 'Dwight Yoakam' from the album Sidelong.

Shook says 'Dwight Yoakam' is a song of irony. It tells the tale of a person being left behind not for a famous person, but for someone who can sing like a famous person.

Up against the wall

Mar 4, 2017

President Donald Trump wants to build a wall between America and Mexico. Hundreds of miles of border fence are already in place, but most of the nearly 2,000-mile stretch is uncovered. The next episode of Reveal explores the political, logistical and geographic barriers that may get in the way of the president's plans.

Chris Charles / Creative Silence

Triangle-based jazz singer Yolanda Rabun wears many hats. She is a musician, actor and corporate lawyer. She says that each role allows her to channel her creativity in different ways.

[Ed Note: The audio above is from our extended interview with Jordan.]

You may know Jordan as half of the comedy duo behind “Key & Peele.” The Comedy Central show produced some of the funniest and most incisive satire of the last many years, often centering around issues of race.

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Lopez, Kristina

Memphis singer and guitarist Valerie June‘s last album “Pushin’ Against a Stone” was produced by the Black Keys’ Dan Auerbach.

A drawing of people crossing the border.
Julienne Alexander / Criminal

You might recognize the name Wildin Acosta from WUNC News coverage.  The Durham teen came to the United States illegally from Honduras in 2014 to escape gang violence. He spent months in immigration detention before being released on bond.  

In this week's Criminal podcast, host Phoebe Judge spoke to Wildin Acosta about his experience, and what's at stake under the Trump Administration's renewed resolve to ramp up deportations. 

Criminal is recorded here at WUNC.

Sound Opinions: Gene Chandler

Mar 2, 2017

From 1962 to 1970, Chicago soul singer Gene Chandler recorded nineteen top forty hits, but he'll forever be known as the "Duke of Earl." As a young artist, he performed across the country, including the Jim Crow South, later transitioning from performer to award-winning producer. Gene Chandler joins hosts Greg Kot and Jim DeRogatis for a conversation. Plus, Jim and Greg review the new album by New Jersey rock band The Feelies.

A promotional still with John Wayne and Claire Trevor from the 1939 American Western film 'Stagecoach'.
Wikimedia Commons

A gun-slinging cowboy on a mission of revenge takes down the enemy in a quick-draw duel.  He then rides off on his trusted steed with the setting sun casting long shadows on the rugged landscape. This is one of the iconic narratives in Western film, a genre which has gone through a massive evolution since its “good versus evil” and “cowboys versus Indians” days.

Here's a look at the top songs WUNC Music is playing in March.

Mondo Cozmo - Shine

Band Of Horses - In A Drawer

An image of a poster for the symposium 'Jewish Food in the Global South'
Carolina Center for Jewish Studies

The American South has influenced Jewish culinary traditions for more than 100 years. From combinations like pastrami biscuits to matzoh ball gumbo, the South is creatively reinterpreting centuries of Jewish foodways. 

'Lovie: The Story of a Southern Midwife and an Unlikely Friendship' (UNC Press/2016) explores the legacy of North Carolina's first nurse-midwife.
UNC Press

Lovie Beard Shelton was a pioneer in her field. As the first registered nurse-midwife in North Carolina, she helped birth more than 4,000 babies born to mothers from diverse backgrounds.
 

Folklorist Lisa Yarger first met Beard Shelton in 1996 and spent the following 20 years documenting her life. “Lovie: The Story of a Southern Midwife and an Unlikely Friendship” (UNC Press/2016) is the culmination of that journey.

Ryan Knighton
Jessica Taves

Ryan Knighton visits a small town with his brother for a rattlesnake roundup.

Amy Biancolli deals with the aftermath of her husband's suicide.

Sasha Chanoff must make difficult choices while on a rescue mission.

When offensive or FCC-prohibited words appear, they are bleeped and listed in the Content Advisory. Sensitive content will be given an on-air caution and will be noted here in the description. 

The religious freedom loophole

Feb 24, 2017

America was built on the idea of protecting religious liberty. But what happens when religious groups take advantage of these special freedoms to make money, skirt rules or hurt children? We revisit an hour of Reveal that explores the tricky territory of religious freedom and how different groups have exploited this loophole.

Two dancers Fana Fraser and Beatrice Capote strike a youthful pose in a photo for the dance piece 'Black Girl: Linguistic Play' choreographed by Camille A. Brown.
Christopher Duggan / Courtesy Camille A. Brown

A new dance piece by choreographer and educator Camille A. Brown digs into the nuanced way black girls play and communicate. “Black Girl: Linguistic Play” documents the historical roots of street games like double-dutch, stepping, and tap. It also examines how they’ve been used to connect and communicate for centuries. 

Eric Kelley

Daniel and Lauren Goans have had a busy five years. They got married, formed the band “Lowland Hum,” and recorded three full-length albums and an EP.

Sound Opinions: Buried Treaures

Feb 23, 2017

Many great albums are released each year, but only a handful get the attention they deserve. Hosts Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot share some recent Buried Treasures – the best albums that flew under the radar. Plus, they give the drummer some with a tribute to Clyde Stubblefield, James Brown's legendary sideman. And Jason Narducy joins us for a new segment called Hooked on Sonics.

Matt Sayles / Associated Press

Earlier this month, pop singer Adele took home the Grammy for album of the year for her album “25.” Many people, including Adele, believed the award should have gone to Beyonce for the album “Lemonade.” But Adele’s accolade is in line with how Grammys have been doled out in recent years; a black artist has not won album of the year since Herbie Hancock in 2008.

Dom Flemons, the host of WUNC’s American Songster Radio Podcast, has a role in the new CMT TV series Sun Records, which premieres tonight (Thursday 2/23) at 10 PM on CMT.  

Courtesy of Frank Stephenson Jr.

Moonshine has shaped the culture and economy of North Carolina for hundreds of years. In the 19th century, sales from moonshine helped fund Civil War efforts, while in the 20th century, moonshine jump started the careers of prominent NASCAR drivers. North Carolina writer Frank Stephenson Jr. considers himself a lifelong student of moonshine. As a youth, he joined his father, a part-time deputy, on moonshine busting raids.  As an adult, he set out on a quest to explore the legacy of moonshine throughout the state. 


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Douglas, Emerald

Comedians John Early and Kate Berlant are frequent collaborators and have performed together across the country. The duo also has a new Vimeo series, “555,” produced by Tim and Eric’s Abso Lutely, It tells five different tales of Hollywood desperation.

In the audio extra above, John and Kate talk about their favorite moments from “Waiting For Guffman,” how a teenage Kate got rejected by an agent for child actors, and how John threw his back out working at an ice cream shop in high school.

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