EPISODES OF AMERICAN ROUTES WITH ANDRAS SIMONYI
From the show "Rockin' Behind the Iron Curtain: To Russia With Love" originally aired on July 12th, 2017
From the show "Swingin' the Election: Music & Politics 2012" originally aired on October 31st, 2012
During the Cold War, the U.S. State Department started sending jazz musicians overseas with the tactical aim of using their hot licks to thaw relations with Eastern Bloc countries. Jazz great Dave Brubeck recalls how Louis Armstrong, a.k.a. "Ambassador Satch," won international hearts and minds with his trumpet. Band member Arvell Shaw saw Armstrong literally disarm Russian guards in East Berlin. Meanwhile, fear of nuclear war with the Soviets infiltrated American popular consciousness resulting in gospel, bluegrass and pop odes to and protests against atomic weapons. In the Sixties, the airwaves were dominated by rock'n'roll, which pirate radio stations and the Armed Forces Network piped across the Iron Curtain. AFN soldier/deejay Rik De Lisle tells about spinning tunes that helped destabilize the Berlin Wall, and Hungarian diplomat/rock guitarist Andras Simonyi and Russian musician Stas Namin talk about life in the Soviet sphere and the cultural revolution sparked by the Beatles, Traffic and Jimi Hendrix.
Every four years American Routes checks out songs and soundbites about politics and electioneering from both sides of the aisle. Hear the late WV Senator Robert Byrd on his fiddle playing as an instrument of political persuasion, and the same approach of Cajun office seeker Roland Cheramie from Louisiana bayou country--he goes door-to-door fiddling for votes. Hungarian ambassador to the US, Andras Simonyi, talks about the role of rock in lifting the Iron Curtain. The buttoned-down Mayor Michael Nutter of Philadelphia was once a disco DJ, while Indiana's Andy Ruff uses honky-tonk to support his anti-highway building campaign.
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