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The Flying Legs Crew

Video Series: The Flying Legs Crew
The US Department of State and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts offer professional development opportunities to energize the work of emerging international artists in their own countries by bringing them to the United States and providing them with instructive and informative experiences in their arts discipline, exposure to the creation and performance of world-class art, and opportunities to develop relationships with U.S. arts professionals. This video series captures the sights and sounds of performing artists from Venezuela, Turkey, Bolivia, Palestine, Morocco, and Indonesia.
Dance, Geography, Hip-Hop, Latin America, Music, Popular Culture, World Cultures, Young Artists

hands on a djembe

Video Series: Haiti: Music & Culture
This video series brings you a glimpse of the music of Haiti
Geography, Musical Instruments, Music, World Cultures

indian wind musician

Audio Series: Maximum India: The Music of India
The music of India is as diverse as its many cultures. India has over a billion people and hundreds of dialects and languages spread across the seventh largest country in the world, but there is still an undeniable “sound” that makes Indian music unmistakable. This 3-part audio series, hosted by PBS journalist Hari Sreenivasan, explores different aspects of Indian music: Indian musical instruments; the styles of music across India; and what makes Indian music unique—and where it is going
Geography, History, Musical Instruments, Music, World Cultures, India

A World of Music

Audio Series: A World of Music
We’re off on a Musical Tour of Europe! The invention of the orchestra hundreds of years ago meant bigger musical possibilities, and composers all across Europe were inspired to try their hand at pushing classical music to new limits
Composers, Controversial, Europe, Folklore, Geography, History, Musical Instruments, Music, Orchestra

Arabesque Podcast cover

Audio Series: Arabesque: Music of the Arab World
A 3-part audio series that explores different aspects of Arab music: the musical instruments of the Arab World; what makes Arab music unique; and the styles of music in the Arab World
Africa, Geography, History, Musical Instruments, Music, World Cultures

Jazz In DC

Audio Series: Jazz in DC
Take a tour through jazz history in Washington, DC! Pianist Billy Taylor and saxophonist and flutist Frank Wess lead listeners through their hometown's music scene in this six-part audio series.
America, History, Jazz, Music, Geography, Art Venues, Music Legends

Blues Journey

Audio Series: Blues Journey
Out of the hardships of Black Americans at the turn of the 20th century came the blues, a music that helped ease their suffering.
Rock & Roll, America, Blues, Geography, Music, Popular Culture

Gulf Coast Highway

Audio Series: Gulf Coast Highway
The music of the Gulf Coast provides a microcosm of the cultural diversity and richness of the United States. Hear the music and the experience of the musicians as Artsedge takes you from Houston, Texas to Jacksonville, Florida, on a musical road trip across US-90.
Music, America, Blues, Jazz, Geography, Rock & Roll

Grupo Fantasma

Audio: Border Music: Grupo Fantasma
Along the Texas-Mexican border in the 19th century, Mexicans, Native Americans, and Anglo-Americans living in the region intermingled with European immigrants looking for new opportunities. The clash and fusion of multiple languages and traditions resulted in a distinct "Tejano" culture.
Music, America, Latin America, Geography

John Steinbeck

Arts Days: October 25, 1962: Voice of the Common Man
The Nobel Prize Committee was clear in its reasons for honoring American author John Steinbeck: “…for his realistic and imaginative writings, combining as they do sympathetic humor and keen social perception.” When asked by a reporter whether he believed he deserved the Nobel Prize, Steinbeck said he did not.

His modesty notwithstanding, Steinbeck’s contributions to American literature is considerable. In works like The Grapes of Wrath, Of Mice and Men, and East of Eden, he captures in plainspoken language the trials and triumphs of his characters. The writer imagined men and women who sought to make better lives for themselves and their families; they struggled in demeaning, demanding jobs, and they coped with events like the Great Depression.
Literature, America, Folklore, Geography, History

Cave Painting of a Horse

Arts Days: September 12, 1940: The Writing on the Wall
Estimated to be about 16,000 years old, the paintings in a network of caves found by four teenage boys are rare examples of art from the Upper Paleolithic era. Here in a region called Lascaux, hundreds of painted animals are visible on the caves’ walls, ranging from bison to stags to horses.

There are also geometric figures and patterns of dots that some say correlate with constellations. Some of the paintings show a sophisticated grasp of concepts like perspective and depth, too. Art historians say that the paintings indicate some of our oldest ancestors’ ability to express themselves in art.
Folklore, Geography, History, Europe, Visual Arts, World Cultures

Loch Ness Monster

Arts Days: August 22, 565 C.E.: Telling Tales
Decade after decade, century after century, sightings of the Loch Ness Monster continue to be shared by word of mouth.

It’s originally told that Ireland’s St. Columba spotted a beast moving toward a swimmer in the lake. When the saint made the sign of the cross, the monster quickly retreated. Ever since, tales of a dinosaur-like creature prowling the lake’s murky depths have surfaced, even as some have used cameras, sonar, and other technologies to debunk the myth.

In this fashion, the art of storytelling carries a tale down through the centuries, regardless of whether the teller can read or write. Sometimes stories may be embellished by a speaker; other times they are surprisingly consistent from one age to the next.
Animals, Geography, Folklore, Science Fiction & Fantasy

Hollywoodland

Arts Days: July 13, 1923: A Sign of the Times
It’s a lot more than just a series of letters stuck on a hill in Los Angeles. The Hollywood sign has come to embody glamour, success, and drama since it was dedicated on this day in 1923.

When it was first put in place, it was a marketing tool for a real estate project Los Angeles Times publisher Harry Chandler had invested in. At this time, the sign actually said “Hollywoodland,” the name of the housing development. At night, the letters’ 4,000 light bulbs blinked on and off, spelling out the words “Holly,” “wood” and “land.”

While the development didn’t survive the Great Depression with the “H” falling off due to neglect, the city of Los Angeles bought the sign, fixed the “H” and removed the “land.” The resulting sign represents magic and movies.
Movies & Movie Stars, Art Venues, Geography

Masks

Arts Days: March 05, 984 B.C.E.: Party Hearty
If you ever go back in time, ask the ancient Greeks to throw you a crazy party.  For example, the Greeks spent every spring celebrating their god of fertility, Dionysus, in a festival called—you guessed it—the Dionysia, which was especially big in Athens. Entire towns would drop everything to dance, tell stories, and drink lots of wine.

Somewhere along the way, a man named Thespis thought it would interesting to act out the stories that were always told at these gatherings; he is thought to be the first person to ever appear on a stage pretending to be someone else and speaking lines of a play. In other words, he may well have been history’s first actor, though we will never know for sure. In time, the Dionysia was a place where both sad plays (tragedies) and funny ones (comedies) were performed for and enjoyed by a crowd of thousands.
Greece, Theater, Tragedy, History, Geography

King David Kalakaua

Arts Days: February 12, 1874: The King of Aloha
Before Hawaii became America’s 50th state, it was a monarchy ruled by King David Kalakaua I. Kalakaua is credited with helping to revive and support Hawaiian art forms like hula dancing; instruments like the ukelele; and martial arts, like Lua.

You see, some religious missionaries on the Islands thought these activities were improper. They had spent years before Kalakaua was elected to the throne trying to suppress various elements of Hawaiian culture, including its languages and art customs—even surfing!

But Kalakaua believed that these traditions and activities were important for native Hawaiians to learn, enjoy, and share with others to help keep Hawaii’s unique cultural history alive.  For his efforts, he was nicknamed “the Merrie Monarch.”
Dance, America, Geography, History, Musical Instruments, Music, Folklore, World Cultures

Roots

Arts Days: January 23, 1977: Rooted in Front of the TV
Nearly 100 million television viewers tuned in to ABC's Roots, a miniseries based on the autobiographical novel Roots: The Saga of an American Family by Alex Haley.

Roots traces four generations of Haley's African American family, beginning in 1767 with the character Kunta Kinte, who is captured by slave traders in Gambia, Africa, to the author himself in 20th century America.

The show ran for eight consecutive days and became the most watched program in American television history, captivating audiences across all racial, gender, and ethnic lines. This landmark television event has been called "the single most spectacular educational experience in race relations in America."
Innovators & Pioneers, Television, Popular Culture, Africa, Geography, History, Literature

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