music

Music and Activism with Jonathan “Chaka” Mahone

Jonathan “Chaka” Mahone from the Austin hip-hop duo Riders Against the Storm talks about how his experience as a Black musician in the Austin music community led him to create the DAWA Fund and the Black Live Music Fund. He also explains why his music is the reason he is able to continue to serve the community he loves.

Pause/Play: Episode 10

Links:

DAWA

Black Live Music Fund

To Support the Black Live Music Fund

Black Live Music Fund – “Thankful” Live Stream Event February 19th

Riders Against the Storm

Chaka’s Speech — It’s time for a Black Live Music Fund 

Texas Standard: December 24, 2020

No matter where you are, you can’t escape Texas music. But as 2020 draws to a close, what is the state of the musical arts in the Lone Star State? We’ll take a look. Made here and played here, that is perhaps the simplest definition of Texas music but one that only hints at the wide range of cultures and backgrounds represented by what has sometimes been stereotyped as a genre unto itself. In a year full of extraordinary challenges for singers songwriters and musical performers, how has Texas music changed over the past year and what comes next? It’s a musical coda for 2020 on this special edition of the Texas Standard:

A Letter from Texas

If you had walked into the Neiman-Marcus store during the Christmas season in Dallas in 1939, you would have found a beautiful little book for sale titled A Letter from Texas.  The 20-page book, by the Texas poet, Townsend Miller, was commissioned by Stanley Marcus himself. He had the gifted printer Carl Hertzog publish an exquisite limited edition of the poem with the Neiman-Marcus imprint on the title page. Mr. Stanley, as Marcus came to be called, loved the Texcentric poem. He wanted to make it available in the store at Christmastime so that out-of-staters would have a unique gift to take back home or send to friends and family.. 

I happen to have a copy of Miller’s book. The poem is a letter to his friend, John. In it, Miller shares his passionate love for Texas with a kind of contagious exuberance: 

     John, it is a strange land.  John it is hard to describe.  

          But perhaps try this. Hold up your right hand, palm outward,

          And break the last three fingers down from the joint.

          And there you have it.  The westering thumb.

          The silent bleak land, the silent mesas

          Big Bend and the great canyons at its end

          El Paso, the Northern Pass, and they came down through it. 

          Southward and east, the slow hot river moving

          River of Palms, Grande del Norte, and over the wrist,

          To Brownsville, and it empties into the vast blue waters

 

Miller describes each part of the state using the geography of his hand as a model of the Texas.  He says “the tongue staggers” to describe the state’s  size.  

Miller was best known for the country music column he wrote for the Austin American-Statesman from 1972-to-1984.  He was less of a critic and more of a promoter of the then-nascent music scene in and around Austin – his hometown for most of his life. 

In his letter-poem to his friend John, Miller also writes:

Austin, the central city, and she is crowned with the sun

And twice-crowned westward with violet hills,

John, the thick roses swarming over the wall.

The moon in the white courts, the quivering mornings. 

 

Of the Llano Estacado Miller writes: 

And here I think is the heart of it;  

Here you begin to sense it, the size, the silence;

This is the land, empty under enormous sky,

In wide enormous air, nothing of man. 

 

Miller’s poem is the sort of letter we write when we want to convince a friend to move here. 

He concludes this way. 

So now tonight in the central city Texas lies around me.

All silent to the stars; so I write of it. 

Remembering the slow dusk of the Rio Grande

Remembering the high hawks of the violet hills

Remembering the dark eyes in the Calle de Flores,

And the breeze comes up from the Gulf and in the court

Pink oleanders brush on the white wall

And the moon at flood over the westering hills

And my heart is full of it and I send it to you. 

 

Mr. Stanley always had fine aesthetic tastes, especially for Christmas gifts.  His offering of this book long ago still holds up nicely as a gift idea today, if you can find a copy, which you can with some ambitious searching.  Might make a perfect gift for Tesla’s Elon Musk. Welcome to Texas, Elon.

Texas Standard: September 22, 2020

A Beta test for southeast Texas as rains pummel the region, roads are closed, schools shift plans and officials warn to stay put, we’ll have the latest. Also, COVID-19 has hit retail hard, but what about retail politics? The pandemic’s impact on a political season like few others in recent memory. Plus, Latino political power in Texas: under lockdown or primed to make major waves on election day? We’ll explore. And the U.S. Department of Transportation gives the green light to the Texas bullet train connecting Dallas to Houston in 90 minutes. All aboard? Not quite. Those stories and more today on the Texas Standard:

Not Today Kanye

This week on The Breaks

Listen to this episode of The Breaks

Trailer: Pause/Play on the Austin music scene

“Pause/Play” will tell the pandemic stories of artists, venues, venue staff, festivals, sound technicians, music non-profits and more. What has the shutdown been like for them so far? What help have they received in order to survive? What adaptations have they been making, and what do they see as the future for Austin Music?

Armadillo Bonus: Springsteen, Zappa, & More

Join KUTX as we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the historic Armadillo World Headquarters, the music venue that helped put Austin on the musical map. In this bonus episode, hear first-hand stories of some of the most memorable Armadillo shows: An unknown kid from Jersey named Bruce Springsteen plays for hours–and the show cost one dollar. Jerry Lee Lewis destroys the Armadillo’s piano. Joan Armatrading shows the power of musical discovery. And Frank Zappa and Captain Beefheart bring the “weird” to Austin.

Texas Standard: August 7, 2020

With under three months until election day, the Biden campaign getting pressure to pull out the stops in Texas to seize an historic moment, we’ll have the latest. Also, face to face with an interface: in an era of zoom meetings, Child Protective Services takes family visits online. And presidential rhetoric reconsidered. The Texan author of Demagogue for President makes the case that some of it is genius. Plus listeners have more questions about COVID-19. Dr. Fred Campbell of UT Health San Antonio has answers. Plus the week in politics from the Texas Tribune and much more today on the Texas Standard:

Texas Standard: July 31, 2020

Ready for the new school year? School administrators across the Lone Star State say wait a minute. We’ll explore. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton offers guidance but, it’s not enough. What school administrators are asking for. Could local police academies be scrapped? Are they a natural place to trim city budgets? We check in with one of Texas’ top police academy experts. What Title 42 Expulsions mean, our report from Mexico City. Those stories and so much more today on the Texas Standard:

Trailer: Back Home To The Armadillo

Join KUTX as we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the historic Armadillo World Headquarters music venue. Starting August 17th, you can hear an hour-long oral history covering the Armadillo’s musical legacy, from blues and the birth of cosmic country to the punk rock explosion. You’ll learn why 50 years later, the Armadillo World Headquarters is still a beacon for Austin’s past, present, and future.

Texas Standard: July 10, 2020

As COVID-19 hospitalization rates hit new levels, an alarming trend spotted in Texas’ largest city: a rising number of at home deaths. We’ll have more on the new report from ProPublica and NBC news on at home deaths and Dr.Fred Campbell of UT Health San Antonio is back to take up more lister questions on the Coronavirus. And he was, for years, typecast as inmate number one. Now he’s embraced by kids and critics alike as a bonafide star. A new documentary on the rise of Danny Trejo. Our conversation with the actor, the week in Texas politics and more today on the Texas Standard:

Texas Standard: July 6, 2020

As officials confirm the killing of a soldier missing for months from Fort Hood, demands for the military to do more about sexual harassment, we’ll have details. Also, health officials in Texas concerned that finding a vaccine for COVID-19 may not be the final obstacle to a return to normal. Now some are speaking out about misinformation on vaccines. And many Texans are getting tested for the Coronavirus, but not all are getting their results. A firsthand account and what it says about the coordination of efforts in Texas to curb the spread of the virus. Those stories and much more today on the Texas Standard:

Texas Standard: June 23, 2020

Return to closing businesses is a last resort in Texas, so declares Governor Abbott even as he expresses concern about what he calls an unacceptable increase in COVID-19 cases, we’ll have the latest. Also some rapidly spreading face masks myths debunked, and the latest in the mystery disappearance of a Fort Hood soldier who’d complained about sexual harassment. Those stories and more today on the Texas Standard:

Texas Standard: June 12, 2020

In Dallas, President Trump calls for force with compassion in the wake of the killing of George Floyd and subsequent protests in Texas and around the nation. We’ll hear from Gromer Jeffers of the Dallas morning news who was there. Also as COVID-19 hospitalization numbers rise to new records in Texas, concerns that hospitals may not be able to meet even relaxed guidelines for personal protective equipment. Those stories and more today on the Texas Standard:

Texas Standard: May 15, 2020

Record spikes in Coronavirus cases as Governor Abbott sets plans to further relax state rules on reopening. We’ll take a look at what’s behind the numbers and more. Also, remember when oil prices went into negative territory? All signs point to that happening again. We’ll hear why and what it really signals. And the future of higher education is what, exactly? Colleges and universities scramble to figure out the best way forward for the fall. Also high school graduation at the local drive in, your best best for live music this weekend and much more today on the Texas Standard:

Texas Standard: May 14, 2020

How to make up for lost time: reopen school for a full year? Texas educators struggle with what to do in the fall and thereafter, we’ll have the latest. Plus, a new phase in the battle against the spread of the Coronavirus as businesses try to reopen. We’ll hear more on the state of testing in the state of Texas. And Dr. Fred Campbell of UT Health San Antonio takes up more of your COVID-19 questions. Also, who’s in charge, where? The back and forth over seemingly contradictory safety orders from state and local officials. Those stories and so much more today on the Texas Standard:

Texas Standard: May 8, 2020

New data in one of the most closely watched political contests in an ongoing Texas election season, we’ll have the latest. Also, honoring Moms in the biggest border city in Texas. Why this year is doubly special. And dealing with a deadly and highly contagious virus, not the one you’re thinking of, that’s affecting other mammalian populations in Texas. Plus the week in Texas politics with the Texas Tribune and a whole lot more today on the Texas Standard:

Texas Standard: May 4, 2020

Soaking up the sun along the gulf coast, as some Texas beaches get back to business, if not back to normal. We’ll take a look at the implications. Also, more than one and a half million new Texas unemployment claims since the pandemic started. Listeners have questions, we’ll put them to the head of the Texas workforce commission. Also, some Texas colleges and universities declaring its back to the classroom this fall. The president of Texas tech on the pressure for a return to normal. Those stories and more today on the Texas Standard:

Texas Standard: April 24, 2020

Are you ready to get back to normal? Attitudes in Texans on a planned return to business as usual or something closer to it. A new UT Texas Tribune poll on how Texans are feeling about efforts to curb the impact of the Coronavirus. Also, how the school lockdown is playing out on the other side of students’ laptops. And the week in Texas politics with the Texas Tribune and a whole lot more today on the Texas Standard:

Texas Standard: April 22, 2020

50 years ago today, what many people mark as the start of the modern environmental movement. What is the state of the Earth today? During a time of global pandemic, a pause to reflect on the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. Also, testing for Coronavirus ramping up in the most populous counties, whats holding back similar gains elsewhere in Texas? Plus how COVID-19 is keeping em down, way down, on the dairy farm. And a Texas congressman’s claim about a German powder that kills Coronavirus: a Politifact check and more today on the Texas Standard: