recess radio program

2/16/04
Ella Jenkins' Sharing Cultures
    by John Cech

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That's Ella Jenkins and friends with a little of a Caribbean nonsense song, "Caney Mi Macaro." (cahni me mahcaro) It's on a CD called Ella Jenkins Multi-Cultural Children's Songs. For decades, Ms. Jenkins has been one of, if not THE, leading voice in bringing international music into the lives of children. On this and another, recent CD, Sharing Cultures With Ella Jenkins, she and an ever-changing chorus of children and adults have provided lively versions of traditional songs from around the world and from neighborhoods right next door -- like the African-American neighborhood in St. Louis, Missouri, where Ms. Jenkins grew up that was called Bronzeville, where she learned some of the songs she still sings, records, and teaches to the thousands of youngsters she visits in schools and through concerts and recordings in this country and abroad every year. Songs from churches and porches and playgrounds:

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A Maori chant appears next to a Mexican handclapping song; you can learn the alphabet in Swahili and in Yiddish, try your first yodel and saying hello in a dozen languages. But always the theme of Ms. Jenkins' work is one of patiently nurturing and building communities, one beat, one note, one song at a time:

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Today's program featured the following work:

Copyright 2004 John Cech

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"Recess!" is a co-production of the University of Florida's Center for Children's Literature and Culture and WUFT-FM, "Classic 89."