July 23, 2014 11:53 UTC

Entertainment

New Orleans Jazz Fest and Presidential Libraries

Billy Joel, Jill Scott and others play at Jazz Fest and a look at presidential libraries.

Billy Joel performing in 2009
Billy Joel performing in 2009

Multimedia

Play or download an MP3 of this story
American Mosaic
American Mosaici
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X

Welcome to AMERICAN MOSAIC in VOA Special English.
 
I’m June Simms.
 
On today’s program, we tell all about the famed New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, which opens a few hours from now. Then we play music from some the artists performing at the event this year.
 
But first we tell about the newest presidential library in America.
 
President Obama and the four living former presidents were in Dallas, Texas this week for the opening of the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum. Every president who served over the past 80 years has a library in his name. These buildings hold presidential records and other documents for researchers to study. They also educate people about the presidents and the issues they faced. Kelly Jean Kelly has more.
 
A life-like robot of former President Lyndon Johnson welcomes visitors to his library in Austin, Texas.
 
“It’s pretty cool, a little disconcerting, but pretty cool. It’s very life-like.”
 
The Lyndon Baines Johnson Presidential Library has spent ten million dollars to make the library more interactive. Visitors can listen to some of the more than 640 hours of telephone calls that President Johnson recorded -- like this one with Senator Everett Dirksen.
Lyndon Johnson is sworn in as president with Jacqueline Kennedy at his side hours after her husband's murder in DallasLyndon Johnson is sworn in as president with Jacqueline Kennedy at his side hours after her husband's murder in Dallas
x
Lyndon Johnson is sworn in as president with Jacqueline Kennedy at his side hours after her husband's murder in Dallas
Lyndon Johnson is sworn in as president with Jacqueline Kennedy at his side hours after her husband's murder in Dallas

“Then I'll call you back in a little bit on this."
 
“You never talked that way when you were sitting in that front seat.”
 
“Well I did, I did if my country is involved -- I voted for Ike one time...”                                       
 
Mark Updegrove is director of the Johnson library. It, like other presidential libraries, is under the control of the National Archives, not the former presidents. Mr. Updegrove says that means the libraries do not tell only good things about presidents. He says they instead tell the full story of their time in office.
 
“It is not up to us to direct history and tell people what to think, but we do want them to know what he did and how it impacts your life.  What you think about that is your own decision.”
 
Presidential libraries make available documents for historical research. Some of the documents were once secret. Mr. Updegrove says this shows the openness of a democratic society.
 
“Those records belong to the people, they don’t belong to that president.”
 
A short drive from Austin, the Texas capital, is the presidential library of George Herbert Walker Bush. Warren Finch is the library’s director.
 
“We feel like that’s one of our key missions in our museums and our education programs is to talk about civics -- how the US constitution works, how the government works in practice.”
 
Because of improving technology, libraries now have large collections of images and audio recordings. Mr. Finch says organizing all of that information is not easy. He says the library has about a million photographs and tens of thousands of videos.
 
Now we head to New Orleans, Louisiana, the city many consider the birthplace of jazz. It also holds one of the most famous cultural celebrations in America: The New Orleans Music and Heritage Festival.
 
The ten-day event opens April 26th this year. It is the 44th festival. New Orleans city officials and business leaders talked about organizing such an event for several years. They reached out to George Wein. He is a music lover as well as a musician, himself.  At the time, Mr. Wein was also the producer of the Newport Jazz Fest, in Rhode Island.
Audience members dance at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival last yearAudience members dance at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival last year
x
Audience members dance at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival last year
Audience members dance at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival last year

The first New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival took place in the spring of 1970. About 350 people attended the five day celebration. When George Wein announced the festival he said it “could only be held in New Orleans, because here and here alone is the richest musical tradition in America.”  Acts at the first festival included singing great Mahalia Jackson and Duke Ellington.
 
Five years later, an estimated 80,000 people attended the festival. Now attendance is measured in hundreds of thousands.
 
Music is performed on twelve different stages at the Fair Grounds Race Course. And jazz is just one of the many musical styles included. The New Orleans festival also celebrates rock, blues, soul, zydeco, Cajun, and world music.
 
So what artists are appearing at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival this year? Jim Tedder tells us about a few of them, and plays some of their music.
 
One of the many stars performing at the festival is the “piano man,” Billy Joel. He also appeared at the event five years ago, when some people in the crowd danced in the rain.
 
Fleetwood Mac will be performing at the jazz fest for the first time. The group just launched an international concert series. Fleetwood Mac was at the height of its popularity in the 1970s. Here is “The Chain” from the band’s 1977 record album “Rumours.”
Jill Scott performing in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, last yearJill Scott performing in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, last year
x
Jill Scott performing in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, last year
Jill Scott performing in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, last year

Grammy-winning singer and actress Jill Scott is set to perform during the first weekend of the jazz fest. Her most recent album was released in 2011. Here is “So In Love.”
 
New Orleans native Frank Ocean will appear at the jazz fest. He remembers attending the event when he was growing up. His first studio album, “Channel Orange,” came out less than a year ago. Critics praised it wildly. The album has now sold than more a half million copies.
 
Blues veteran B.B. King and his guitar Lucille will play the jazz fest once again.
 
We leave you with music from the Preservation Hall Jazz Band. This New Orleans-based band performs around the world in an effort to teach about the art of jazz. It is always among the performers at the Jazz and Heritage Festival.



This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Ryu from: South Korea
04/28/2013 6:52 AM
It's really useful source for English learner! With topic that I interested in, I could have enjoyable time even though It's for studying. I've tried to find the better material for English study, but I think I found that on VOA Learning English. All that reminds of me now are my efforts...


by: BIJU.P.Y. from: SOUTH INDIA
04/27/2013 4:31 PM
The presidential libraries in America are national assets- so much the better. The jazz music in America has uplifted the national spirit of America. The music has far reaching ecstatic impact on the growing population there, I think. Thank you.

Learn with The News

  • Obama LGBT

    Audio Obama’s Weak Poll Ratings Worry Democrats

    This is a congressional election year in the United States. Some Democratic Party candidates are concerned about President Obama’s unpopularity could hurt the Democrats’ chances to keep control of the Senate. More

  • Immigration Obama

    Audio Former Agent Blames Politics for US Immigration Crisis

    A former U.S. immigration officer says actions being taken by Border Patrol agents at the U.S.-Mexico border may be causing people to believe differently. The Obama administration says as many as 90,000 children might try to enter the United States illegally from Mexico this year. More

  • Kepler

    Audio NASA: Close to Discovering Life in Outer Space

    NASA scientists say they are closer than ever to finding life beyond Earth. That search is centered mostly on Mars and the icy moons of Jupiter and Saturn. But the scientists are looking for life outside the solar system. More

  • U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Egypt's Foreign Minister Sameh Shukri talk at the presidential palace in Cairo July 22, 2014.

    Audio Kerry: Hamas Can End Crisis with Ceasefire

    United States Secretary of State John Kerry says the humanitarian crisis in Gaza is growing worse by the day. But, he says Hamas can end the suffering by agreeing to an Egyptian-led ceasefire. More

  • Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen, right, shakes hands with opposition leader Sam Rainsy before a meeting at the National Assembly in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Sept. 17, 2013.

    Audio Cambodian Rivals to Meet on Political Crisis

    Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen and opposition leader Sam Rainsy are scheduled to meet on Tuesday, July 22. They hope to settle the year-long political crisis that led to violent protests and arrests. More

Featured Stories

  • Retired clinical therapist Doug Oliver discusses old times with Geneva McElroy at a senior center in Nashville, Tennessee. (M. Osborne/VOA)

    Conversations Finds Lost Memories

    Conversations about the past are proving to help senior citizens remember the present. These conversations are also helping them fight depression and feel better about themselves. | Health Report More

  • Heat Wave-Las Vegas

    Audio How to Survive the Heat

    Floods, storms and other natural events kill thousands of people every year. So does extreme heat. In fact, heat may be nature’s deadliest killer. | Science in the News More

  • minuteman

    Audio Nuclear Missile Site Turns Tourist Site

    The Cold War is long over. What do you do with a missile launch when a war is over? Turn it into a tourist site, of course. More

  • Pharsalia

    Audio Pharsalia Plantation Celebrates 200th Anniversary

    That’s old time American music to celebrate an anniversary -- for a house. Pharsalia Plantation is on a beautiful mountain country road in Virginia. You can understand why Thomas Massie decided to build the house there in 1814. More

  • Audio James Buchanan Wins Election of 1856

    The Democratic Party denies President Franklin Pierce the nomination and defeats two new opposition parties. More

Practice Your Writing

Confessions of an English Learner BlogConfessions of an English Learner Blog

Tell us About Our Programs