Utne Weeder

MUSIC

IRISHSean-Nos Nua by Sinead O’Connor
(Vanguard). Out of the spotlight lately, O’Connor re-emerges as a
Celtic siren, interpreting Irish classics in a lush style that
bypasses drippy sentimentalism for something much deeper.
Keith Goetzman

ROOTSOf MyNativeLand by Clothesline Revival (Paleo Music). With an
eclectic and mesmerizing blend of soundscapes–electronica, acoustic
country, downhome vocals, and samplings of 1930s and ’40s field
recordings from Alan Lomax and Moe Asch–recording artists Conrad
Praetzel and Tom Armstrong offer up a fresh and soulful version of
Americana. —Karen Olson

VOCALFlight: Rhiannon’s Interactive Guide
to Vocal Improvisation
(Sounds True). Rhiannon, a founding
member of the a cappella ensembles

Voicestra and Alive!, guides you through 136 minutes of intimate
exercises–everything from Qigong warm-ups and breathwork to jazzy
scat-singing–all to help you discover the Bobby McFerrin and the
Ella Fitzgerald inside you. —Eric Utne

POPHome Away by Will Kimbrough (Waxy
Silver). Borrowing a bit from stompy blues, hook-laden power pop,
and scrubby country-rock, Kimbrough comes off as a self-deprecating
but spirited songwriter. This spill-it-all solo debut–“my Double
Fantasy,” he has called it–marks him as a man to watch, and listen
to. —K.G.

CLASSICALChopin: 24 Etudes by Murray
Perahia (Sony). Perahia attacks these piano treasures with
remarkable clarity and verve, power and solemnity–obviously
delighting in the composer’s many and varied moods. —Craig
Cox

CARIBBEANCalypso by various artists
(Putamayo). This bouncy anthology, gathering 1950s-era tunes from
across the Caribbean, delights with sunny, witty music that shows
how jazz, swing, and R&B influenced the island sound.
J.W.

ROCK-GOSPELLive at the Wetlands by
Robert Randolph and the Family Band (Dare/Warner Bros.). Players of
the “sacred steel” guitar generally limit the instrument to church
performances, but Robert Randolph visits nightclubs to evangelize
via soaring runs of notes that have two trajectories–high and
higher. The pedal steel’s voicelike inflections and sheer
joyousness make the Family a jam band like few others.
K.G.

BOOKS

KIDSLove atGoonPark: Harry Harlow and the Science of Affection
by Deborah Blum (Perseus, $26). Children need love. Sounds like a
no-brainer, but when psychologist Harry Harlow declared as much in
the 1950s and 1960s, he was initially shouted down by leading
psychologists who believed that parental affection was not only
unnecessary, but downright destructive for children. Pulitzer
Prize-winning science writer Blum vividly reveals how Harlow has
forever altered our notions of love. —Anjula Razdan

SMALL-TOWNAMERICAPopulation: 485 by Michael Perry (HarperCollins, $24.95).
With hilarious and heartbreaking stories about life as a volunteer
firefighter in a small Wisconsin town, and a poetic voice that is
simultaneously cantankerous and tender, Perry delves into the heart
and soul of what it means to come home. Population: 485 is destined
to become an American classic. —Karen Olson

THE GOOD LIFESustainable Planet: Solutions
for the 21st Century
edited by Juliet B. Schor and Betsy
Taylor (Beacon, $18). Smart essays by sharp-eyed observers (Mary
Pipher, Bill McKibben, Vicki Robin, and more) showing how career
success and consumer overload can distract us from the pursuit of
happiness. —Jay Walljasper

CONSUMERISMBranded: The Buying and Selling
of Teenagers
by Alissa Quart (Perseus, $25). A biting
indictment of corporate marketing, Quart’s exposé reveals the
numbing effects of consumerism on American teens and shows how kids
have been able to successfully opt out of the game. —Craig
Cox

ETC.

CALENDARSThe Autonomedia Calendar of
Jubilee Saints: Radical Heroes for the New Millennium
and
Sheroes 2003: Womyn Warriors Calendar commemorate the
lives of artists, freedom fighters, iconoclasts, and visionaries
worldwide, many of whom are little known–Gerard Winstanley, Bhagat
Singh, and Armida Garcia de Contreras, for example. ($8.95 and
$9.95 respectively from Box 568, Brooklyn, NY 11211; www.autono
media.org) —Chris Dodge

CATHOLIC CHURCHBread Rising A strong
voice of reform for Catholics edited by scholar and former priest
Terry Dosh, this invigorating newsletter monitors ideas and
developments around the world affecting the cause of democracy,
social justice, women’s rights, and common sense within the church.
($19/yr. [8 issues] from 4124 Harriet Ave. S., Minneapolis, MN
55409; mdoshx001@tc.umn.edu —Jay Walljasper

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