Music can entertain and inspire and serve as a way to share another person’s truth. This episode, Us & Them talks with two musicians, each with roots in Appalachia, whose work offers their view of the world.
Some of it carries a political message. One takes his music to places where people struggle with war and disasters, as an offer of healing. The other uses his string band heritage to write songs that sound familiar but carry a message of change.
Joe Troop, leader of the Argentinean bluegrass band Che Apalache, talks about his experience of being in a Latino band singing songs of love and inclusion at a time when the President and other Americans call for deporting DACA dreamers and the building of a wall on the southern border. Che Apalache’s album “Rearrange My Heart” is nominated for a Grammy for Best Folk Album.
Stephen Said also spent his boyhood in Appalachia and grew up playing fiddle with old timers in the hills of West Virginia. But as he pursued a music career, he hit some barriers. Major label record execs told him there’s no way he could have a career in America with an Arabic name. Now he travels the world making music that reaches across borders. His music isn’t folk, hip-hop or country music – it’s ‘everybody’ music.
You can listen to Us & Them on WVPB Radio. Tune in on the fourth Thursday of every month at 8 PM, with an encore presentation on the fourth Saturday at 3 PM.