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Announcing The Walt Whitman Mixtape Series

Whitman Sampler Mixtape Series #10

I am as bad as the worst, but, thank God, I am as good as the best.

                                                                   Walt Whitman

 

Whitman at 200: Art And Democracy, organized by the University of Pennsylvania Libraries Kislak Center, was a region-wide series of cultural events celebrating poet Walt Whitman’s 200th birthday in 2019. The project was initiated in conjunction with partner organizations across the Philadelphia and Camden, NJ region and major support for the artistic commissions was provided by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage.

 

As Whitman celebrated walking in poetry and life, artist/curator and director of the Philadelphia Jazz Project, Homer Jackson presented New Songs Of The Open Road: a special project consisting of a series of four audience participation eventsconsisting of singing walkers "caroling" through the streets of North Philadelphia, South Philadelphia, Center City and Germantown. These walks were simultaneously influenced by Whitman's poem, "Songs of the Open Road" and inspired by civil rights movement freedom songs. Exhilarating songs of affirmation, written and arranged by vocalist/songwriter Toby VEnT Martin, choirmaster and composer Waverly Alston and vocalist/songwriter James Solomon, featured the voices of professional singers, gospel choir members and everyday members of the public.

 

 

WHITMAN SAMPLER MIXTAPES LINKS:

MIXTAPE DOWNLOADS

MIXTAPE PARTICIPANTS

MIXTAPE CREDITS

MORE MIXTAPE INFO

 

 

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This 10-part mixtape series came about about as a way to document these songs, as well as the works and voices of local poets and musicians who have been inspired and influenced by Walt Whitman. During a two-week residence at Spice House Sound, we recorded the amazing performances contained within this mixtape series.

 

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Participating poets include...

Veronica Bowlan, ELLECT, Charles Carr, Autumn McClintock, Alonzo Jennings, Michelle Myers, Lenny Belasco, Brittanie Sterner, Leonard Gontarek and others.

 

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Participating singers include...

Toby Vent Martin, Emily  Zeitlyn, Michael Andrews, Ana Maria Ruimonte, Waverly Alston, Helena Reid, Dwayne Grannum, Star Brown, James Solomon, Darcell Coklay, Ava Louise and others.

 

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Participating musicians include…

Keith DeStefano, Bismuth String Quartet, Paul Giess, Malik Henry, Jocko MacNelly, Bernard Samuel, Stan Slotter, Anam Owili-Eger, Kim Pedro Rodriguez and others.

 

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The Walt Whitman Sampler Mixtape Series is a 10-part, poetic and musical collaboration between local vocalists, musicians and poets working together to celebrate the life and work of the 19th century, American poet, Walt Whitman. This mixtape series, which is available to the public as a free download, acknowledges his influential contribution to modern American expression and his challenge to our democracy.

 

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WHITMAN SAMPLER MIXTAPES LINKS:

MIXTAPE DOWNLOADS

MIXTAPE PARTICIPANTS

MIXTAPE CREDITS

MORE MIXTAPE INFO

 

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A Special Thanks...

 

To all of the participating poets, vocalists and musicians, as well as to those individuals whose schedules would not allow their participation in the recording process. You are with us in spirit.

 

To Judith Tannenbaum, Lynne Farrington and Devinne Melecki of the Whitman at 200: Art And Democracy team, who have maintained a steadfast commitment to the vision and the work of both the singing-walking series and this mixtape project.

 

To our other collaborators at The Free Library of Philadelphia, Cliveden of the National Trust, Philadelphia Parks & Recreation, and the Fairmount Park Conservancy.

 

To Alex Santilli and Eric Bogacz of Spice House Sound, as well as Brendan McGeehan of Retro City Studios and Tom Volpicelli at the Mastering House.


So now, take a moment and take a listen to the Walt Whitman Sampler Mixtape Series.

 

 

WHITMAN SAMPLER MIXTAPES LINKS:

MIXTAPE DOWNLOADS

MIXTAPE PARTICIPANTS

MIXTAPE CREDITS

MORE MIXTAPE INFO

 

 

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About Walt Whitman

Walt Whitman (1819–1892) was an American poet, essayist, and journalist. A humanist, he was a part of the transition between transcendentalism and realism, incorporating both views in his works. Whitman is a colossal figure in American literature and art. Recognized internationally as the first major exponent of free verse, he has been called America's "poet of democracy.” The Beat generation and its leaders, such as Allen Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac in the 1950s and 1960s, as well as anti-war poets like Adrienne Rich and Gary Snyder, adopted Whitman’s lifestyle. It is through these figures that his influence carried on into the 1970s.

 

With his personal and progressive approach to many ideas, Whitman was considered by many to be America's first hippie. It was an attitude about life, living and how one should best do it that was his gift to America. His poem, "Songs of the Open Road" is part of the inspiration for many people taking to the road and exploring new possibilities for their lives, particularly in the West. The popularity of Route 66 as both the physical and spiritual route for change in the 1960s and 70s draws inspiration from this work. That said, Walt Whitman was indeed a 19th century man and brought with him all of the triumphs and challenges, strengths and weaknesses of 19th century men. Race, Slavery, rights of Native Americans and other issues were clearly areas of vunerablity for him, and he shared many of the common views on these issues, as most white men of his time. That said, his influence continues to this day.

 

For More Information: Whitman at 200: Art And Democracy

 

 

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Major support for Whitman at 200: Art And Democracy artistic commissions has been provided to University of Pennsylvania Libraries by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage.

 

The Waterman II Fund of the Philadelphia Foundation, following a recommendation of David Haas, has provided additional support for New Songs of the Open Road.

 

Philadelphia Jazz Project is a sponsored project of the Culture Trust | Greater Philadelphia, with funding provided by The Philadelphia Foundation.

 

 

 

 

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Philadelphia Jazz Project is a sponsored project of the Culture Trust | Greater Philadelphia, with funding provided by The Philadelphia Foundation.