to AMERICAN MOSAIC in VOA Special English.
we play some music by a very famous composer in honor of America's Independence
visit the Smithsonian Folklife Festival on the National Mall in Washington,
Smithsonian Folklife Festival
summer since nineteen sixty-seven, the Smithsonian Institution in Washington,
D.C. organizes a special outdoor event. The Smithsonian Folklife Festival
celebrates American and international cultures and traditions. This year, the
festival is highlighting the cultures of Bhutan, Texas and outer space. Bob
Doughty has more.
walk through the area about Bhutan at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival, it is
easy to forget you are in Washington. There are Bhutanese people walking around
in traditional costumes and tall prayer flags waving in the wind. There is even
a Bhutanese religious center where you can watch dances and performances. Some
of the traditional dances date back to the sixteenth century. Bhutan's rich
culture has been carefully protected because it is generally removed from
There are many tented areas where you can learn more
about this small Buddhist country in the Himalayan mountains. You might learn
that Bhutan's national sport is archery. Or that the Bhutanese government has a
policy of measuring the Gross Domestic Happiness in the country.
One area teaches visitors about Bhutan's postage stamps.
Since the nineteen sixties, the country has developed unusual stamps including
metal stamps and stamps that smell.
Many booths teach visitors about Bhutanese artistic
traditions like wood-carving, painting and cloth-making. At one booth, you can
listen to a demonstration about the culture of drinking.
SPEAKER: The name
for Bhutan in Bhutanese is druk…D-R-U-K. And Druk is a thunder dragon. This
session is on how the dragon drinks. What do we drink? We drink alcohol. Then
we drink tea!
speaker gave a careful explanation of the respectful way to drink tea when you
are invited to visit a Bhutanese home. If listening to this makes you thirsty,
you can try Bhutanese drinks -- or food.
the national dish of Bhutan, Ema Datsi. It is made from chilies and cheese and
served with red rice. It was very spicy hot, but very delicious.
steps away, festival visitors enter a whole other world, the culture of the
southwestern American state of Texas. Known as the "Lone Star State,"
Texas has a rich culture and history. The festival has two performance stages
for Texas music. You can hear the fast playing of Fiddlin' Frenchie Burke. He can play his fiddle backwards, forwards
and upside down.
can hear cowboy songs performed by the Gillette Brothers from Crockett, Texas.
are also bands playing Tejano, Creole, mariachi, and polka music.
Texas area of the Folklife Festival also has a booth where you can learn about
wine made in the state. And, there is a
stage where experts talk about the state's many food traditions. For example,
you can learn about the influences of cowboy, Mexican and Vietnamese cooking.
Then you can taste examples at one of the festival's three Texas food sellers.
festival's third subject is not one you might expect at a folklife event. Faith
Lapidus tells us about it.
United States space agency is also represented at the Folklife Festival. NASA is celebrating its fiftieth anniversary
this year. Space exploration may not
seem to fit with the themes of folklife in Bhutan or Texas. NASA says the people who work at the agency
usually discover new things rather than preserve old traditions. But the culture of engineers and scientists
represents a community with special work skills that are an important part of
two hundred scientists, educators, engineers and astronauts are taking part in
the NASA exhibit at the festival. They
give talks, answer visitors' questions, demonstrate current space technology
and suggest future developments.
discussion at the main tent called Exploration Stage, experts talk about the
reasons we explore space. Steven Dick
is chief historian for NASA. He was
joined by chief NASA scientist, James Garvin, and curator of the National Air
and Space Museum, Roger Launius. They discuss how space science has taught us
about events in the distant past like the formation of the moon's surface. They offer reasons why it is important to
return to the moon. And they make some
predictions about the next fifty years.
popular talk is about the space shuttle, the only reusable spaceship ever
made. Former astronaut Carl Walz describes what it was like to experience a shuttle launch. He says nothing prepares first time
astronauts for the sudden, shaking force of the powerful rocket engines.
are also many demonstrations of space technology at the NASA exhibit -- from
rocket engines to spacesuits. A team
from the California Institute of Technology and NASA's Jet Propulsion
Laboratory show a robot. It is designed
to be lowered from a lander, like the Mars rover, into craters to gather soil
and take pictures.
so much at the NASA exhibit that it is impossible to describe it all here. But the NASA employees who have come to the
Folklife Festival are showing their special culture of discovery and
John Philip Sousa
listener question this week comes from Brazil.
Tino Therezo likes the music of American composer John Philip Sousa and
asks if he was of Portuguese ancestry.
he was. John Philip Sousa was born in
Washington, D.C., in eighteen fifty-four. His father was born in Spain of
Portuguese parents. His mother was Bavarian.
six when he began learning to play the violin and write music. His father was a musician in the United
States Marine Band. John joined him in
the Marine Corps as a special "apprentice" or learning musician when he was
just thirteen. He remained in the band until he was twenty.
eighteen eighty, Sousa became leader of the Marine Band. He wrote this song,
"Semper Fidelis," a few years later in honor of the officers and men of the
Marine Corps. It is the official march of the Marine Corps.
eighteen eighty-nine, the Washington Post newspaper asked Sousa to write a
march for a contest the paper was having.
"The Washington Post March" is still popular today. The song led to Sousa's nickname as the
"March King." He wrote more than one
hundred thirty marches in all.
is a special day in the United States. On July fourth Americans celebrate
Independence Day. People around the
country celebrate the holiday with picnics, fireworks, parades and music. We leave you with "The Stars and Stripes
Forever," the official march of the United States, written by John Philip
Johnson. I hope you enjoyed our program
written by Caty Weaver, Mario Ritter and Dana Demange, who was also our
producer. To read the text of this program and download audio, go to our Web
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