Welcome to AMERICAN MOSAIC in VOA Special English.
I'm Doug Johnson.
On today's program, we
explore the power of words in African-American culture …
to the many rhythms of Latin American music …
experience Wales and its people, all in on the National Mall in
Washington. Welcome back to the yearly Smithsonian
For forty-three years, the Smithsonian Folklife
Festival has been bringing cultures from the United States and from around the
world to Washington, D.C. Visitors to this year's outdoor festival can explore
the music, history, art and food of Wales. This small country in the United
Kingdom is known for its music, sports, beautiful natural areas and ancient
history. Visitors to the festival can also learn about the country's language
and industry. Shirley Griffith has more.
Visitors to the Smithsonian Folklife Festival can start
their exploration of Wales by learning about its native language, Welsh. Welsh
is one of the oldest languages in the world. The first lesson to learn is the
Welsh word for Wales: Cymru.
visitors can learn more from Iona Hughes, a Welsh teacher in the country's
capital, Cardiff. Welsh and English are now the official languages of Wales.
But the English people did not always support the use of Welsh. Today, about
twenty percent of the population of Wales speaks the language fluently.
IONA HUGHES: "It's quite wonderful to see how the
language has developed and how the language has grown especially in the last
thirty years. I remember as a child actually saying that Welsh was a dying
language, and now I'm proud to say that actually it isn't, it's a thriving
Welsh people are serious about language and the spoken word. They hold
competitions to celebrate their language in literature and music. At the
Smithsonian festival, there is an area for story tellers to perform. Here, a
writer reads a poem he wrote in Welsh about his grandfather.
is also known for its natural beauty. It has hundreds of lakes and over one
thousand kilometers of coastline. The government and organizations work hard to
protect this environment.
festival events also tell about Welsh industries. You can see an expert make
thread out of wool from a sheep. Or you might learn about traditional Welsh building
materials like slate. There is also a stage where Welsh musicians perform.
And, no visit to Wales would be complete without a pub
where people can sit down and drink a beer.
Paull has been volunteering for the Smithsonian Folklife Festival for
thirty-four years. We asked her what she likes about this event.
JOAN PAULL: "It gives me an opportunity to either visit
states or countries that I either hadn't thought about or didn't realize what
wonderful things they had to offer. And then once I have been there, it's just
so exciting, and so I can hardly wait for the next year."
Mizz Paull says she has never been to Wales. But now
that she has learned about this country, she wants to make a big effort to
That is folk performer Ella Jenkins leading a
sing-along of "Mary Had A Little Lamb." They are at the area of the Smithsonian Folklife Festival called Giving
Voice. It explores the power of words
and oral tradition in African-American culture. Performers include poets, story tellers, radio show announcers, actors
and others. Ella Jenkins has been singing and teaching songs to children for
more than fifty years.
has reached children through her work in public schools, conferences,
festivals, on television and in concerts. She recorded her first album in nineteen fifty-seven. Here Ella Jenkins
sings and plays a game with visitors at the festival. The children love it.
Franklin is director of Partnerships and International Programs at the
Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History. Mister Franklin says Folklife director Diana
Parker had the idea for Giving Voice. He says it was the right time for the exhibition. Mister Franklin says people want to know more
about the African-American experience because of President Obama.
He says planners wanted to make sure to include all
areas of spoken word. He said they had
to have theater, poetry, comedy and oral expression linked to music and
Franklin praised the festival's barbershop and beauty shop settings. This is where African-American men and women
have had their hair cut and styled. He
says he remembers the barbershop of his childhood and the debates that took
place there. He says it was a place
where people discussed important issues and respected differences of opinion.
place within "Giving Voice" where you will hear only whispers is called Hush
Harbor. This quiet area was set up to represent places where African-American
slaves would go to pray without being observed by their oppressors.
to the Folklife Festival can also hear poets like Sonia Sanchez from
Washington, D.C., in an area called the Oratorium. Poet Toni Blackman also is performing at the
festival. She is a State Department "Ambassador of Hip-Hop" from Brooklyn, New
York. And African-American story tellers
from around the United States have gathered to lend their talents to the
Visitors to the Smithsonian Folklife Festival could
also enter into "un mundo musical," a musical world, at the area of the
festival called Las Americas. Here is Mario Ritter with more.
musical artists are here to connect the different kinds of music that are an
important part of Latino life and culture. They also are attending the festival
to exchange ideas about their music.
in Latino culture is rich in tradition and poetry. The white tents of the
festival are alive with exciting sounds. Visitors can hear the bomba and plena music traditions from Puerto Rico or the currulaofrom Colombia's Pacific coast.
Many forms of Latin American
music, like the plena and son music represent the
customs of the countries. Songs often go
along with a dance. According to an expert on son music, a dance is like a proposal.
Most importantly it is about the idea of being related to the earth.
SPEAKER: "With probably most traditions you have the
music, the dance, the poetry, and it's often times a proposition, a proposal. For
instance, you dance for rain, you dance for a good crop … they dance to have a
relationship with the earth."
can enjoy listening to the sounds of Latin America while tasting traditional
Central and South American cooking. There are foods such as yuca and arroz con pollo.
Many foods are especially traditional of Peru. Cook Marco Campero describes
some typical food:
MARCO CAMPERO: "Ceviche, it is Peruvian style cooked with
lemonade…We have the carrapulcra. It is a dried potato, a yellow potato, it is
dried with chicken and pork. This is from Lima. Lima, Peru, it is the capital. Chicken
is very popular in Peru."
all traditional music from Central and South American remains local. In fact,
some are international favorites. After a tasty meal, visitors and natives
alike can enjoy music from the Mexican musical string groupSon de Madera. This is Spanish for "they are made from
wood." Here is the well known song, "La
I'm Doug Johnson. I hope you enjoyed our program today.
It was written by Caty Weaver, Marisel Salazar and Dana
Demange who was also the producer. For
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