Welcome to AMERICAN MOSAIC in VOA Special English.
I'm Doug Johnson. This week on our program:
We have new music
from Anya Marina …
a question from Russia about VOA's former jazz host Willis Conover …
But first, a report on that hero
pilot Chesley Sullenberger and his crew.
"The Ballad of Casey Jones" is a folk song
about a train engineer who saved the lives of his passengers in a wreck. The
only one who died – and this is a real story from nineteen hundred -- was Casey
Jones. Future generations may sing about the "hero on the Hudson" --
the pilot who saved his passengers when he crash-landed on a river. Except this
hero lived to tell about it. Katherine Cole has more.
Call it a crash-landing, a ditching, a splash-down, or
a nicer name. Flight attendants tell what to do "in the event of a water
landing." Passengers often pay no attention to those safety directions
before a flight. They might see little reason to. But more of them must be
listening now, after a water landing that will surely be remembered in the
history books of flight.
January fifteenth, the engines of a US Airways plane lost power shortly after
takeoff from LaGuardia Airport in New York City. The pilot reported a double
bird strike -- a rare event where birds enter both engines.
happened so early in the flight, at a level of about nine hundred meters, that
the crew had little time to decide what to do. Captain Chesley Sullenberger
decided against landing at a small airport nearby or returning to LaGuardia.
Instead, he and co-pilot Jeffrey Skiles and their three
flight attendants prepared for a water landing. Captain Sullenberger carefully
and smoothly guided the Airbus jet into the Hudson River. People watched from
skyscrapers overlooking the near-freezing water.
passengers and crew got onto the wings as water entered the plane and the
aircraft floated downriver. Boats quickly came to the rescue of all one hundred
fifty-five people on the flight. Captain Sullenberger walked through the plane
twice to make sure everyone was off.
January twenty-fourth, the pilot known as "Sully" was honored in his
hometown of Danville, California. He told a crowd of thousands that he and his
fellow crew members were just doing the job they were trained to do.
former Air Force pilot had his fifty-eighth birthday a week ago. He has been flying for more than half his
life and was unusually well prepared for the events that day in New York. For
one thing, he is good at handling a powerless aircraft. He is a glider pilot in
addition to flying big jets. But Chesley Sullenberger is also an expert on air
safety, including accident investigations, and even has his own consulting
This Sunday, the National Football League will honor the flight fifteen forty-nine crew -- including flight attendants Doreen Welsh, Sheila Dail and Donna Dent -- before the Super Bowl. This year's championship game is between the Arizona Cardinals and the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Our VOA listener question this week comes from Russia.
Alexander Kuzin wants to know about Willis Conover's jazz programs that were
heard for forty years on VOA. Willis Conover was not a musician. But his expert
knowledge of the music and its performers helped make jazz an international language.
WILLIS CONOVER: "Time for jazz. Willis Conover in Washington, D.C with the Voice of America Jazz Hour."
Willis Conover considered jazz the music of freedom. He
thought it could help people express their lives, and help them stand a little
the period of the Cold War, an estimated thirty million people in Eastern
Europe and the Soviet Union listened to him on the radio.
that time many communist governments banned jazz. One jazz writer said Willis
Conover and his radio programs did more to end the Cold War than all the
presidents put together.
He began working for small radio stations in the state of
Maryland. He heard many kinds of jazz performed during the nineteen forties in
Washington D.C. He wanted to be able to play the jazz he loved on his radio show
without any of the restrictions of commercial radio.
he learned that the Voice of America wanted to start a jazz program. It was the
perfect job. His "Music USA" program went on the air in January of
nineteen fifty-five. He continued to broadcast on VOA until not long before his
death in nineteen ninety-six, at the age of seventy-five.
Here is a nineteen sixty-eight recording of Willis
Conover and the jazz great Louis Armstrong.
WILLIS CONOVER: "Louis?"
LOUIS ARMSTRONG: "Yeah, daddy, what you say there?"
WILLIS CONOVER: "Happy when you're here."
LOUIS ARMSTRONG: "Well you know, it's always a good chat when we meet. You
know, we dig so much in music. And you know so much about all these cats that
plays good music, you know."
WILLIS CONOVER: "I learned it all from you like everybody else."
Willis Conover once said Louis Armstrong was the heart
of jazz and Duke Ellington was its soul. Here he is with the Duke in nineteen
WILLIS CONOVER: "Well, Duke, will you trust my
taste to select records by you?"
DUKE ELLINGTON: "I certainly would because that's what they told me in the
Soviet Union. They said, you know, your friend Willis Conover, he really plays
your best things. I said, well, I was very happy to hear it."
Today, people who want to listen to tapes of Willis
Conover have to go to College Park, Maryland. That is where they are stored as
part of the National Archives. Many of the old tapes are in poor condition; workers
are making digital copies.
To learn more
about Willis Conover, listen at this time Sunday for the program PEOPLE IN
(MUSIC: "All The Same to Me")
Turn on the radio and you can find the music of Anya
Marina. Turn on the TV and you can find the music of Anya Marina. Her songs
have been used on shows like "Grey's Anatomy" and "Gossip
Girl." Shirley Griffith tells us
about this singer and songwriter with a voice that is child-like, yet
mysterious and forceful.
Marina's latest album is called "Slow And Steady Seduction: Phase
II." This is her second full-length recording. The story of the record is
that she was having trouble writing new songs. She told one of her producers
that she wanted to work with different, more driving rhythms.
producer sent her a CD of some beats he had created. These led to several of
the twelve songs on the record, including this one, "Move You."
Anya Marina did not write all the songs on the album.
Brazilian great Antonio Carlos Jobim wrote this famous tune. Anya Marina sings
it in Portuguese and English.
(MUSIC: "Waters of March")
Marina was born in the state of Michigan but raised in Silicon Valley in
California. After college, she moved to San Diego and took a job in radio.
MySpace page says her doctor once told her she had the larynx of a "very
young adolescent." That would explain her unusual voice. We leave you with
Anya Marina and a song called "Not a Through Street."
I'm Doug Johnson. I hope you enjoyed our program today. It was written by Dana Demange and Caty Weaver, who was
also our producer. Join
us again next week for AMERICAN MOSAIC, VOA's radio magazine in Special