• Summary

  • The Kitchen Sisters Present… Stories from the b-side of history. Lost recordings, hidden worlds, people possessed by a sound, a vision, a mission. The episodes tell deeply layered stories, lush with interviews, field recordings and music. From powerhouse NPR producers The Kitchen Sisters (The Keepers, Hidden Kitchens, The Hidden World of Girls, The Sonic Memorial Project, Lost & Found Sound, and Fugitive Waves). "The Kitchen Sisters have done some of best radio stories ever broadcast" —Ira Glass. The Kitchen Sisters Present is produced in collaboration with Nathan Dalton and Brandi Howell and mixed by Jim McKee. A proud member of Radiotopia, from PRX. Learn more at radiotopia.fm.

    Copyright © 2017. All rights reserved.
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  • Sep 20 2022

    The story of The Real Ambassadors, a jazz musical created by Dave Brubeck and Iola Brubeck for Louis Armstrong in the 1950/60s—a poignant tale of cultural exchange, anti-racism, jazz history, and it’s a love story—between life-long husband and wife partners, Iola and Dave Brubeck and their vision for a better world.

    The original show, featured Louis Armstrong, Carmen McCrae, Dave Brubeck and Lambert Hendricks and Bavan, and was performed live only once, at the Monterey Jazz Festival in 1962. This year’s Monterey Jazz Festival, September 23-25, 2022, is the 60th Anniversary of the performance.

    The musical is based on the Jazz Ambassadors Program established by President Eisenhower and the US State Department during the Cold War as an effort to win hearts and minds around the world. Jazz musicians were sent out to represent the freedom and creativity of America through their art form. The irony is that Louis Armstrong, Dizzy Gillespie and most of the other Jazz Ambassadors were Black—they were treated like royalty around the world, but could not stay in hotels or play in integrated bands in their own country.

    The Brubeck’s musical was a chance for Louis Armstrong to speak out about his deep feelings about racism and segregation in this country — feelings he rarely expressed publicly.

    The story features original music, rare archival recorded letters back and forth between the Brubecks and Louis Armstrong about the project, rehearsal recordings and interviews with Dave and Iola Brubeck. Other voices include: the Brubeck’s sons, Chris and Dan Brubeck; Keith Hatschek, author of newly released book, "The Real Ambassadors;” Ricky Riccardi, Director of Research Collections for the Louis Armstrong House Museum; and singer/actress Yolande Bavan, the last surviving performer involved in the project.

    Thanks to: Keith Hatschek, Chris, Brubeck, Dan Brubeck,  Ricky Riccardi, Yolande Bavan,  Lisa Cohen, and Wynton Marsalis.

    Special thanks to: The Louis Armstrong Educational Foundation and the Louis Armstrong House Museum; Michael Bellacosa and the Brubeck Collection, Wilton Library, Wilton, Connecticut; The Complete Louis Armstrong Columbia & RCA Victor Studio Sessions 1946-66 Mosaic Records 270; The Milken Family Foundation Archive Oral History Project; and The Library of Congress.

    The Real Ambassadors was produced by The Kitchen Sisters (Nikki Silva and Davia Nelson) and Brandi Howell in collaboration with Jackson Spenner. Mixed by Jim McKee.

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    36 mins
  • Sep 6 2022

    In the early morning hours of August 16, 2020, 12,000 lightning strikes exploded across northern California, igniting more than 585 wildfires. In the Santa Cruz Mountains scattered blazes grew into one massive burning organism — The CZU August Lightning Complex Fire — eating all in its path, scorching some 86,000 acres, destroying over 900 homes and Big Basin, California’s first state park.

    We hear from young men and women from the Amah Mutsun Tribal band who have been working to clear and steward the land; archaeologists and historians from the historic Big Basin redwood State Park; and from residents of the Santa Cruz mountains who shared their experiences and stories for the historical record.

    This story grew out of a collaboration with the Santa Cruz Museum of Art and History. People who lost their homes in the blaze were invited to bring in artifacts sifted from the ashes to be photographed by award winning photographer Shmuel Thaler and to be interviewed by The Kitchen Sisters about the fire, their homes, the environment, their lives.

    For more stories, photos and a video about the fires and this project visit kitchensisters.org.

    Special thanks to: Valentin Lopez, Chairman of the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band; Mark Hylkema, Cultural Resources Program Manager, Tribal Liaison, Archeologist, CA State Parks Santa Cruz District; Martin Rizzo Martinez, Historian, CA State Parks Santa Cruz District; Jennifer Daly, Museum Collections Manager, CA State Parks, Santa Cruz District; Dana Frank, Professor of History, UCSC; Members of The Amah Mutsun Land Trust and Stewardship Program; and all of the many who shared their stories for the historical record.

    With support from The California Humanities and The National Endowment for the Arts.

    Produced by The Kitchen Sisters (Nikki Silva & Davia Nelson) and mixed by Jim McKee in collaboration with Grace Rubin, Brandi Howell and Nathan Dalton. In collaboration with photographer Shmuel Thaler and The Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History,

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    34 mins
  • Aug 16 2022

    In August, 2021, a group of young Afghan women journalists, musicians and activists fled their country in fear for their lives when the Taliban took over their nation. These women are navigating life today in the US.

    Many of these women were well known in their country as TV personalities, women wearing western clothing, their hair uncovered, who interviewed women and men on the popular morning news shows.

    “My background in the TV was one of biggest reasons for them to kill me,” says Taban Ibraz. “To do anything they want to do with me like they did with a lot of women in Afghanistan. They were targeting us.”

    Maryam Yousifi, journalist and clothing designer remembers, “I saw that my mother's crying. And she's saying that we have to hide you somewhere. We can’t keep you here because people knows our address. She gave me a hijab and she said, please wear this. She never told me that never, ever. She never told me that what should I wear.”

    The women were assisted by the nonprofit, Restore Her Voice, set up to help Afghan women, who had been in media or the arts, get out of Afghanistan and to help support them once they arrived in the United States.

    Special thanks to Taban Ibraz, Anaitza Walizada, Maryam Yousifi, Helal Massomi, Elham Karimi, Marika Partridge, Lori Davis, Ed James and Ajmal Subat. Thanks also to The Daily Antidote Podcast.

    Special thanks to writer and photographer Valerie Plesch for her article and photographs in the DCist that inspired this story.

    Thanks to the National Endowment for the Arts, The Kaleta Doolin Foundation, The Texas Women's Foundation and listener contributions to The Kitchen Sisters Productions for the funding that makes these stories possible.

    The Kitchen Sisters Present... is part of Radiotopia, an independent, story driven, carefully crafted podcast network from PRX.

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    38 mins

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