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AMERICAN MOSAIC - St. Patrick’s Day / Demi Moore / Norah Jones New Album - 2004-03-12

Broadcast: March 12, 2004



Welcome to AMERICAN MOSAIC -- a program in VOA Special English about music and American life. And we answer your questions.

This is Doug Johnson. On our show today: music from the new album by Norah Jones. And a question about actress Demi Moore. But first, learn why a lot of Americans will be going green next week.

St. Patrick’s Day


Next Wednesday, March seventeenth, is Saint Patrick’s Day. This day honors the man who brought Christianity to Ireland in the fifth century. It is observed as a religious holiday in Ireland. It is not an official holiday in the United States. But, as Gwenn Outen reports, many people see it as a time to celebrate.


About twelve percent of Americans claim Irish ancestry. The Census Bureau says the state with the highest share is Massachusetts, at twenty-four percent. Irish immigrants first celebrated Saint Patrick’s Day in Boston, Massachusetts, about two-hundred-fifty-years ago.

You know it is Saint Patrick’s Day in America when you see lots of the traditional Irish color, green. People wear green clothes. Some put green in their hair or on their faces.

Some drinking establishments put green in their beer. The city of Chicago puts green in its river. An Irish meal of corned beef and cabbage is traditional on Saint Patrick's Day. And many people attend parties.

Some cities have parades. New York City has the biggest. It dates to seventeen-sixty-two. It began with soldiers of the New York State Militia who were from Ireland. Parades spread as more Irish people came to America.

They settled in big cities. Many became firefighters, police officers and city leaders. But many Protestant Americans did not welcome the Catholic Irish. So Saint Patrick's Day parades became more than simply a show of celebration for these newcomers.

In New York each year, thousands of people march along Fifth Avenue. Hundreds of thousands more gather along this major street to watch. Many of these Americans are not really Irish. But they like to say that everyone is a little bit Irish on Saint Patrick’s Day.

Demi Moore


Our VOA listener question this week comes from Jordan. Mohamed Issa All-ddan in Amman asks about the actress Demi [de-ME] Moore.

We begin at the beginning. Demi Moore was born in Roswell, New Mexico, on November eleventh, nineteen-sixty-two. New Mexico is in the American Southwest. Her father was in the Air Force. He left her mother before Demi was born. Demi is short for Demetria.

Her mother then married a man named Danny Guynes. The family is said to have moved at least thirty times while Demi was a child. One day, she learned that he was not her biological father. He killed himself while she was a teen-ager.

Demi left school at the age of sixteen. At eighteen she married Freddy Moore, a rock musician. They spent four years together.

In nineteen-eighty-two, Demi Moore began acting on “General Hospital,” a daytime television show. A few years later, she was in the film “Saint Elmo’s Fire." During filming, she met actor Emilio Estevez. They started a relationship.

But in nineteen-eighty-seven, she met actor Bruce Willis. They met at a showing of the movie "Stakeout," which starred Emilio Estevez. Four months later, Demi Moore and Bruce Willis got married. They stayed married eleven years. They had three daughters: Rumer, Scout and Tallulah.

Demi Moore is probably best known for her nineteen-ninety movie “Ghost." The next year, she appeared without clothes -- and very pregnant -- on the front of Vanity Fair magazine. Later, she was in several films that did poorly. Among these were “The Scarlet Letter,” “Striptease” and “G.I. Jane.”

Most recently, Demi Moore has been a producer on the series of "Austin Powers" comedy films. She also returned to work in front of the camera. She appeared in the film “Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle.” And, lately, pictures of the forty-one-year-old actress have been appearing in lots of places with the new man in her life. Actor Ashton Kutcher celebrated his twenty-sixth birthday last month.

Norah Jones New Album


Norah Jones is a twenty-four-year old singer. Her first album, “Come Away With Me” was a huge success. It was released two years ago. It has sold more than eight-million copies in the United States and seventeen-million copies around the world. And it won eight Grammy awards last year. Now, Norah Jones has a second album. Phoebe Zimmermann tells us about it.


Norah Jones’ new album is called “Feels Like Home.” It was released last month and sold almost two million copies within three weeks. The week after it was released, it was the top album in at least sixteen countries. Here is a song from the new album. The song is called “Sunrise.”


Norah Jones’ beautiful voice makes her new album similar to her first one. However, this album is also different. Jones and the members of her band wrote ten of the thirteen songs on “Feels Like Home.” Norah Jones wrote this one, “What Am I to You?”


Most of Norah Jones’ music is influenced by jazz. However, there are several songs on “Feels Like Home” that sound like country and bluegrass music. Country singer Dolly Parton joins Norah Jones on this song. We leave you with “Creepin’ In.”



This is Doug Johnson. I hope you enjoyed AMERICAN MOSAIC. Join us again next week for VOA’s radio magazine in Special English.

This program was written by Shelley Gollust, Jill Moss and Nancy Steinbach. Paul Thompson was the producer. And our engineer was Audreus Regis.