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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.

Jónsi’s “Grow Till Tall”
Trent Gilliss, online editor

This Friday afternoon’s video snack was inspired by a number of you who were watching the live video stream of Krista’s conversation with Michel Martin on Monday night in Washington D.C. In the lead-up to the conversation, I opted to pass on playing all classical music while the crowd filed in to the Sydney Harman Hall.

Instead, I chose a variety of tracks from artists Juan Molina, Joe Henry, Björk (one of my favorite lullabyes, which Mitch included in "Pagans Ancient and Modern"), The Avett Brothers, cellist Hildur Guðnadóttir, k.d. lang, Johnny Cash, Ryuichi Sakamoto, She & Him, and Jónsi. I chose this video because it’s a little less aurally sculpted than other videos and for a delightful surprise at the end — an entrancing a capella at the end of just his voice in a lonely room.

I was somewhat surprised when I was inundated with requests to know what songs were being played while waiting. If you’d like, I’d be glad to create an SOF Playlist so that you could stream the mix. Leave a comment here or tweet me; if there are enough requests, I’d be glad to post them for you.


The Right to Live in Peace (in song)

Mitch Hanley, Senior Producer

In looking for potential music for this program with Mercedes Doretti, we came across a rich collection of artists in both Argentina and Chile who’ve documented, in song, the dark times of Argentina’s “dirty war” and General Pinochet’s regime in Chile.

Some of the artists were exiled, as was the case for Mercedes Sosa, whose song, “Sera Posible el Sur?,” became an anthem for the people of Argentina. This song refers to the state-sponsored terrorism used in Argentina to “disappear” thousands of people and dismiss the mothers looking for their children as crazy. Here is a rough translation of the first stanza:

Will the South be possible?
will it be possible with so many stray bullets
to the heart of the village,
and so many mothers are deemed crazy
and all of the memory in a prison

"Sera Posible el Sur?" by Mercedes Sosa

Mercedes Sosa’s lullaby, “Pequena,” was used in the program and can be found on the SOF Playlist.

Victor Jara was an outspoken supporter of Salvador Allende’s populist politics and helped to get him elected president in 1970. Upon the coup of 1973 and General Augusto Pinochet’s grasp of power, Victor Jara was arrested, brought to the national stadium with thousands of others, and over three days was electrocuted, his hands broken, and finally shot to death on September 15, 1973. According to his wife, with broken hands he wrote his last poem on scraps of paper that were smuggled out of the stadium by survivors. The final words of which include:

"Silence and screams are the end of my song."

Although the Pinochet regime managed to destroy many of the master recordings of Jara’s works, here is a YouTube video of Jara performing, “El Derecho de Vivir en Paz (The Right to Live in Peace)”:

Many others have written homages to Victor Jara:

"The Hands of Victor Jara" by Chuck Brodsky

"Victor Jara’s Hands" by Calexico

"Washington Bullets" by The Clash


Vissi D’Arte and the Other Guy from Chicago
Kate Moos, Managing Producer

Our program with the recently passed-on Studs Terkel is being rebroadcast this week. If this show doesn’t make you cry, there is just plain something wrong with you. Of course the man is the patron saint of every good thing in radio broadcasting, so we have a special love and a license for sentimentality when it comes to Studs. I actually had him autograph a baseball for me once.

In any case, at one compelling moment in this week’s show which I won’t describe here, we play a piece of the great aria from Tosca, “Vissi D’Arte,” and hearing it sent me hungrily off to YouTube to find a complete version. This one, performed by Leontyne Price in the 1960s, gave me some real joy today, and made me miss the intellect of a man who could wander so easily from Mahalia Jackson to Bertrand Russel to Puccini.