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AMERICAN MOSAIC - December 28, 2001: Music by Tony Bennett/college football bowl games/Kwanzaa - 2001-12-27


Welcome to AMERICAN MOSAIC — VOA’s radio magazine in Special English.


This is Bob Doughty. On our program today, we:

play some music by Tony Bennett ...

answer a question about college football bowl games ...

and report about another holiday celebrated at this time of year.



One day after Christmas in Nineteen-Sixty-Six, a small group of African-Americans in Los Angeles, California began a seven-day celebration. The celebration was not religious. Its purpose was to honor black culture, especially the importance of the family. Bob Cohen tells us more about it.


The celebration is called Kwanzaa. The word is Swahili. It means “first fruits of the harvest.” Today, millions of African-Americans celebrate Kwanzaa during the month of December. Families in Canada, Britain, France and Africa also celebrate it. The main celebration is held for seven days after Christmas, from December twenty-sixth through January first.

Kwanzaa does not replace Christmas. Most people who celebrate Kwanzaa also celebrate Christmas.

Kwanzaa is a time for black families to discuss seven goals to live by all year. They are unity, personal independence, joint responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity and faith.

On each day of Kwanzaa, family members gather to light a black, red or green candle in a special candleholder. Each day, the family discusses one of the goals. People may also get together for a party or enjoy a holiday meal. They may play African music like this song from Zaire. It is performed here by Tabu Ley Rochereau. It is called “Madina.”


Maulana Karenga (mau-oo-LAWN-uh kuh-RENG-guh) is a college professor who developed Kwanzaa. He says the holiday’s goal of unity includes unity in the family, the local community, the nation and the African community throughout the world. He also says that celebrating Kwanzaa will not cure the social problems of black people. But he says that honoring the goals of Kwanzaa will make people more creative and more productive citizens.

College Bowl Games


Our VOA listener question this week comes from the Philippines. Ronald San Juan asks about the college football bowl games that are played this time of year.

Bowl games are championship games that college football teams play after the end of the normal season. The first bowl game was played in Nineteen-Oh-Two in Los Angeles, California. It was linked to the Tournament of Roses Parade. The game became so popular that the Tournament of Roses Association built a larger football stadium in the nearby city of Pasadena. A local newspaper reporter called the stadium the “Rose Bowl.” The first game was played there in Nineteen-Twenty-Three.

Ten years later, Miami, Florida started a festival on New Year’s Day that included a college football game. Officials named the game the Orange Bowl and the celebration became the Orange Bowl Festival. In Nineteen-Thirty-Five, the Sugar Bowl game started in New Orleans, Louisiana. Many other such games were played in the Nineteen-Thirties to earn money for aid organizations.

Since the Nineteen-Fifties, the chance to earn money from television broadcasts has created other bowl games. In the last ten to fifteen years, large companies have supported the bowl games. The company’s name is included in the name of the game. For example, we now have the FedEx Orange Bowl, and the Nokia Sugar Bowl.

For many years, the football teams competing in these bowl games were the champions of groups of colleges called conferences. For example, the teams competing in the Rose Bowl game were the best team from the “Big Ten” conference and the “Pacific Eight” conference.

However, in the Nineteen-Nineties, football fans demanded that the top bowl games be played to decide a national college football championship. So bowl officials created the Bowl Championship Series. Now, college football experts and computers decide which teams have the best records and which teams should play in which bowl games.

This year, twenty-five different bowl games are being played in December and January. The Rose Bowl will decide the National Championship when the University of Miami plays the University of Nebraska on January third.

Tony Bennett’s New Album


American singer Tony Bennett is seventy-five years old. He is still trying new things. Steve Ember tells us about his latest album which honors blues music.


The record is called “Playin’ With My Friends: Tony Bennett Gets the Blues”. Tony Bennett says he was very pleased and excited about the musicians who agreed to make the record with him. They include Sheryl Crow, B. B. King and Diana Krall. Another is Ray Charles. Here the two men sing “Evenin’.” Ray Charles also plays the piano.

((CUT 1 - EVENIN’))

Tony Bennett says he wanted to make this album because blues songs are different from what people think he usually sings. However, he says his very first recording was a traditional blues song. Bonnie Raitt also has a history as a blues musician. Here they perform “ I Gotta Right to Sing the Blues.”


The great band leader Count Basie had always wanted Tony Bennett to record a song with Kay Starr. The two singers honor that wish on “Playin’ with My Friends.” We leave you now with Tony Bennett and Kay Starr singing Count Basie’s song “Blue and Sentimental.”



This is Bob Doughty . I hope you enjoyed our program today. And I hope you will join us again next week for AMERICAN MOSAIC—VOA’s radio magazine in Special English.

Remember to write us with your questions about American life. We will try to answer them on future programs. Listeners whose questions are chosen will receive a Random House Webster’s College Dictionary.

Send your questions to American Mosaic, Special English, Voice of America, Washington, D.C. two-zero-two-three-seven, USA. Or use a computer to e-mail your question to “Mosaic at V-O-A news dot com”. Please include your name and postal address. This AMERICAN MOSAIC program was written by Nancy Steinbach and Caty Weaver. Our studio engineer was Tom Verba. And our producer was Paul Thompson.