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Welcome to Songs for Listening, a curated site for daily playlists from musicians, agents, managers, writers, scholars, and programmers.

08-05-19 | Songs for Listening | Barry Yeoman

08-05-19 | Songs for Listening | Barry Yeoman

Barry Yeoman, a freelance magazine journalist based in Durham, NC, picked tunes for Monday, August 5 at Songs for Listening. Barry specializes in longform narrative that puts human faces on complex social, political, environmental & racial issues. He also dabbles in audio, and collaborated with Richard Ziglar to produce four hour-long radio documentaries about Southern roots music, including 'Still Singing the Blues' and 'Zydeco Nation'. Barry occasionally teaches writing and journalism at Duke University and Wake Forest University.

Columbia Journalism Review had this praise for Barry’s work: “(One of) the best unsung investigative journalists working in print in the United States … Yeoman specializes in becoming a part of his subjects’ lives; he works hard to dispel the image of the parachute journalist who drops in, grabs the story, and runs.”

'Asimbonanga' by Johnny Clegg
"Johnny Clegg’s death on June 16, at the age of 66, was a gut punch. As a white musician performing interracially (and thus illegally) during apartheid South Africa, Clegg was a pioneer and a clarion voice of conscience. This song became an anthem for the country's freedom fighters. There’s no more thrilling way to experience this song than to watch the 1999 performance [see the YouTube clip below] at which Nelson Mandela appears on stage."

'Sodade' by Cesaria Evora & Bonga
"As I follow the news from the US-Mexico border, I find myself haunted by this 1950s-era Cape Verdean song. In Creole, “sodade” (or “saudade” in Portuguese) is a character trait ascribed to Portuguese-speaking people globally: a longing or nostalgia for something far away and never again attainable. Cape Verdeans, in particular, have been perpetual emigrants, saying goodbye for centuries to the people they love. Evora, the country’s best-known singer, popularized this song in the ’90s. But it is the additional voice of Angola’s Bonga, who was forced into exile because his supported independence, that lends this version extra poignancy for me."

'Stormy Monday' by Carol Fran
"Of all the covers of this tune, this one by Louisiana blues diva Carol Fran, recorded live by Germany’s Radio Bremen, pierces me. Performing with Fran is her husband, guitarist Clarence Hollimon, who died five years later. Fran’s later-in-life marriage to Hollimon was the happiest time in a life filled with troubles, and the depth of Fran’s hardships comes through in her emotive, precise voice."

'Aquarela' by Toquinho & Sadao Watanabe
"This song by the Brazilian guitarist, about the fertility of imagination and the transience of life, is lovely by itself. But Watanabe’s saxophone adds layers."

'Good to You' The Avett Brothers
"What a concept: Men who own their bad behavior and aspire to do better. The Avett Brothers do this well and often."

'Hole in My Pocket' by Ruthie Foster
"Foster, the product of rural East Texas, is the consummate American roots musician, drawing from gospel, blues, and country. Her cover of this Terri Hendrix song lends it a genre-bending gravitas that just bores into me."

'Asimbonanga' by Johnny Clegg from 'Third World Child'
'Sodade' by Cesaria Evora & Bonga from 'The Very Best of Cesaria Evora' ‘The Complete Recordings'
'Stormy Monday' by Carol Fran from 'Women in (E)motion'
'Aquarela' by Toquinho & Sadao Watanabe
’Good to You' The Avett Brothers 'from Magpie and the Dandelion'
'Hole in My Pocket' by Ruthie Foster from 'Runaway Soul'


08-06-19 | Songs for Listening | Trevor Schoonmaker

08-06-19 | Songs for Listening | Trevor Schoonmaker

07-25-19 | Songs for Listening | Dick Connette

07-25-19 | Songs for Listening | Dick Connette