Originally published on Fri October 4, 2013 9:43 am
Canadian Danny Michel is a veteran songwriter with a lengthy career: The folk-rock musician, whose voice recalls that of Paul Simon, already has nine albums to his name. But his latest record, Blackbirds Are Dancing Over Me, is a little bit different. In 2012, Michel relocated to Belize in order to work with The Garifuna Collective, a group of musicians who carry on soulful traditions surrounding the history of their West African ancestors.
For the next year, NPR will take a musical journey across America, which is one of the most religiously diverse countries on earth. We want to discover and celebrate the many ways in which people make spiritual music — individually and collectively, inside and outside houses of worship.
Writer and scholar Reza Aslan was 15 years old when he found Jesus. His secular Muslim family had fled to the U.S. from Iran, and Aslan's conversion was, in a sense, an adolescent's attempt to fit into American life and culture. "My parents were certainly surprised," Aslan tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross.
The fragile architectural treasures of Venice are endangered by rising sea levels, and a growing number of critics now say the city and its canals are at risk from massive cruise ships as big as floating skyscrapers.
On an average day, tens of thousands of passengers lean over the railings of cruise ships that can be 300 yards long and 15 stories high. The tourists peer down at the majestic Doge's Palace as they sail into St. Mark's basin and down the Giudecca canal.
Host Michel talks about the role race played — or didn't play — in the criminal trial of George Zimmerman. She speaks with Corey Dade, contributing editor for TheRoot.com, and Roger L. Simon, founder of PJ Media.
Florenceville-Bristol produces about a third of the world's frozen french fries. So, of course, this tater town celebrated National French Fry Day over the weekend. A huge portrait of the town's covered bridge was unveiled. It was made from 5,700 fries.
In the Quebec town of Lac-Megantic, a grim search continues this morning amid the ash and debris left after a train carrying oil crashed into the town. As investigators try to figure out what caused the fiery accident, the question has emerged across the border: Could the same thing happen here in the U.S.? NPR's Jeff Brady reports.
And let's talk about another kind of tragedy: natural disasters. Severe storms seem to becoming more frequently, and this is raising questions once again about the wisdom of building in coastal flood-prone areas. It's an issue for private builders and public officials, like city leaders in Norwalk, Connecticut. They want to upgrade and old housing project in a flood plain using federal dollars. From WSHU, Kaomi Goetz has that story.