The Cultural Workers Podcast (audio)
Video version with added content: https://youtu.be/KO1P7bJZ0GQ
By Minka Wiltz
Artists are workers and Culture is Art!
The Cultural Workers Podcast is an environment where I speak with people who have committed their lives to sharing ideas and developing skills that extend beyond the performing arts and merge into our everyday lives: chefs, astro-physicists, engineers, graphic designers, urban planners, historians...people that contribute to creating and archiving what we see around us everyday and take for granted.
My first five episodes will highlight some of my colleagues who work as performing artists.
I hope you enjoy. Follow on IG: @theculuralworkerspodcast.
This episode of The Cultural Workers Podcast is the second part of my conversation with the wonderful South African Bass-Baritone Musa Ngqungwana!
When I asked Musa to be a part of this endeavor to speak with extraordinary people, I didn't know how much the technological challenges would present opportunities to show examples of tenacity! And Musa showed up with grace and fortitude!!
In our first episode we talked about some of the many challenges Musa faced in his journey to becoming a celebrated opera singer throughout the world. If you haven't watched the video of the episode on YouTube or listen to it here on Anchor.fm, Spotify, Apple Podcast, Pocket Casts, Breaker, Google Podcast, RadioPublic, and Overcast!
In this episode, we get more of an indepth view of Musa's opinion on being coupled while pursuing a career in the arts; and what he has learned from his predecessors in the world of Opera. There is an honest conversation about what it means to be a Black Opera Company and why it isn't enough to just create based on identity politics.
I am excited that you are here and I look forward to sharing this final portion of my very honest conversation with Musa Ngqungwana.
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Be safe and stay true,
Musa is a celebrated South African Operatic Bass-Baritone who has seen his fair share of trying times.
His career did not take a "traditional" route. His journey from the township of Port Elizabeth, South Africa where he survived a politically motivated fire at the age of 10 months old, (retold in his published autobiography "Odyssey of an African Opera Singer" published by Penguin Random House South Africa), seems like something out of an award-winning feature film.
My interview with Musa was met with SEVERAL interruptions because of technological glitches but we persevered with laughter and faith. With editing magic, I was able to pull two episodes together. This is part one.
I hope you enjoy this time with this brilliant, patient, and talented artist as much as I did.
I am happy to welcome the ever evolving Jayme Alilaw to the Podcast.
Veteran, Masters of Music in Vocal Peformance, life coach, and mother...to name some of her roles in life. Jayme is a name to know and a voice to hear. I hope you are inspired by her "nontraditional" story.
How she came to opera and her views on whether opera what she wants.
(the following excerpt is courtesy of www.jayme-alilaw.com )
Jayme, who is noted for a lush and vibrant tone, is equally at home in operatic, classical, spiritual, and musical theater repertoires. She performs the standard operatic repertoire as well as the contemporary canon, often premiering original works. Jayme is a resident artist with The Atlanta Opera and a featured Artistic Family member at Dad’s Garage Theater Company. In fact, she is a founding member of ImprOper, an operatic improvisation team that improvises 30 minute operas. A veteran of the U.S. Army, Ms. Alilaw frequently sang for military ceremonies throughout the United States and the Middle East.
A teaching artist and staunch advocate of the performance of works by African American composers, Jayme has co-created Tapestry, an in-school residency program geared toward 3-8th grade students exposing them to the power and creative value of Spirituals. Jayme is currently touring La Femme Noire: The Celebrated Woman, a program that highlights works by African American women composers.
Welcome to The first episode of The Cultural Workers Podcast. I am Minka Wiltz.
My first guest is a fellow Atlantan and I am so honored that she agreed to sit down with me.
Indra Thomas says "I was born and that was it; I basically came out of the womb singing." Born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia. The daughter of a pastor and a mother whose voice was also operatic, Indra began winning national vocal competitions when she was still in high school. In 1998 she won the Metropolitan Opera National Council award. Her career has spanned several decades. She has sung all over the world and she is showing n Indra has sung in South Korea, France, England, Italy, and all over the United States.
In this episode, Indra takes time during this quarantine time to discuss her approach to the many highs and lows of being a Cultural Worker. Her response to my question about experiencing discrimination may surprise you.
Welcome to the first episode of The Cultural Workers Podcast. My name is Minka Wiltz and I am glad you are here. Let's get started.