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On Being with Krista Tippett is a public radio project delving into the human side of news stories + issues. Curated + edited by senior editor Trent Gilliss.

We publish guest contributions. We edit long; we scrapbook. We do big ideas + deep meaning. We answer questions.

We've even won a couple of Webbys + a Peabody Award.
You got it right, negevrockcity. There is something to be said for musical alliances that transcend the current environment, even if it’s only for an hour:

Leave it to HEAVY METAL to promote world peace. Israeli metal band Orphaned Land teamed up with Lebanese belly dancer Johayna Fakhri at Hellfest 2011 for a few songs on-set. They each came on-stage with their country’s flags afterwards.This is the way it should be. Leave warfare and hatred to the politicians, and just rock yr ass off in the meantime. (via Lebanon flags at Orphaned Land concert - Israel Culture, Ynetnews)

~reblogged by Trent Gilliss, senior editor

You got it right, negevrockcity. There is something to be said for musical alliances that transcend the current environment, even if it’s only for an hour:

Leave it to HEAVY METAL to promote world peace. Israeli metal band Orphaned Land teamed up with Lebanese belly dancer Johayna Fakhri at Hellfest 2011 for a few songs on-set. They each came on-stage with their country’s flags afterwards.

This is the way it should be. Leave warfare and hatred to the politicians, and just rock yr ass off in the meantime. (via Lebanon flags at Orphaned Land concert - Israel Culture, Ynetnews)

~reblogged by Trent Gilliss, senior editor

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"Listen, punk. Hysteria is the best rock album ever made, and don’t you forget it!”
Mary Doria Russell
» download (mp3, 13:13)
Mitch Hanley, Senior Producer

A couple of weeks ago when we were taping Krista’s interview with novelist and retired paleoanthropologist Mary Doria Russell, the conversation briefly touched on some of her musical tastes. Intrigued by what I had heard, I did some further research and learned that, growing up, Mary Doria Russell was the kind of kid who “liked the Stones better than the Beatles, Beethoven better than Mozart, and orchestral music better than string quartets.” These days, she says, her “calm, well-ordered and intensely bourgeois life” apparently continues to seek refuge in large-scale, emotionally-charged, musical productions.

As someone who was coming of age in the 80’s, I was surprised to learn that Ms. Russell, who is approaching 60, is quite a fan of what she calls the “big hair” bands of those days, and even claims to have “worn the oxide” off her cassette copy of Def Leppard’s 1986 release, Hysteria. On one of the e-mail exchanges I had with her she said, “Listen, punk. Hysteria is the best rock album ever made, and don’t you forget it!”

So, I decided to give her a call, hoping that we might get a little deeper insight into the musical affections of a “well-ordered” novelist — affections that include Beethoven, Chopin, and Puccini but also Van Halen and, of course, Def Leppard.

In all seriousness, Mary Doria Russell has been very open and on record about her tastes in music. I appreciate her being such a good sport about it in this conversation.

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It’s Only Rock ‘N’ Roll

Kate Moos, Managing Producer

Flyer for Tom Stoppard's Rock 'N' RollTom Stoppard’s new play “Rock-n-Roll” is getting mixed reviews here, but tickets are scarce, so I was thrilled when my friend Chris scored some for us. This is Stoppard’s chronicle of the intersection of pop culture and politics in then-Czechoslovakia’s Velvet Revolution.

Stoppard, I learned from the program notes, was born in the Czech town of Zlin, where I — highly coincidentally — have a close friend, Hannah, who grew up there. Hannah, much younger than Stoppard, is a devout Catholic, for theological and political reasons (the Catholic Church was a staunch form of dissidence in parts of the East bloc).

I remember Hannah telling me about the day her father called her into the kitchen for an earnest, whispered confession. He apologized to her for not joining the Communist Party because he knew it would limit her chances, and he pleaded with her to stop going to Mass. Her teachers, the secret police, the Party, knew of it, and if she persisted, she would be sent to work at the shoe factory, and never be allowed an education.

Stoppard’s play is a history of the world many people alive today have never heard of. The Plastic People of the Universe, one of the world’s most obscure rock and roll bands, and Western rock, carry the zeitgeist of revolution and resistance, and their consequent cynicism and despair, in the final years of the Soviet Union. It’s a story that matters.

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