Back by popular demand… more Underground Motown. In our last installment, we focused on “The Funk Brothers”, Motown’s legendary band of studio (or session) musicians. Host Ayana Contreras spun rare instrumentals of songs many of us know and love.

Tonight, tune in as she spins rarities, dusties and b-sides from the Motown Records vault, including the Jackson 5 cutting a soulfully Al Green-ish record, and a variety of experiments in genius cross-pollinations.

Reclaimed Soul, Thursdays at 8pm CST on Vocalo.org

(illustration by French artist “Mega is Mega”)

According to Glenn Reedus in his recent article for the Chicago Reporter, “Being an African-American police officer — black in blue — can be a contentious choice in a community that is in a tug-of-war over police conduct.” That’s part of why the Afro-American Patrolmen’s League was founded in 1968: To be a buffer between the Chicago Police Department and the city’s African-American community.

To hear more about that story, we were joined by:

• Glenn Reedus, reporter
• Pat Hill, former Executive Director at the African American Police League, Formerly the Afro-American Patrolmen’s League
• Buzz Palmer, a founder of the League

Then, we caught up with Practically Speaking’s Audra Wilson. She talks about her experiences learning more about youth struggling with homelessness (both in urban and suburban settings). She also explored the successes and failures of the federal McKinney-Vento act. The legislation requires school districts to be pro-active in finding homeless children who are not attending school.

The Barber Shop Show airs on Fridays and Saturdays at Noon on 91.1FM. You can also stream live at vocalo.org. In addition, the show broadcasts on Sundays at 3pm on WBEZ 91.5FM.

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(photo from the 1940 film, (Broken Strings")

Today on Practically Speaking, we explore the world of people who have trailblazed the world of classical music. What struggles do black opera singers, composers, and musicians face? Do black experiences lend a different filter to traditional classical work?

Host Audra Wilson talks to dance legend Joel Hall and Alan Marshall, the librettist of a new Civil Rights opera called “The March”.

Plus, from “Proper” to “Patois”, we discover Slang that’s Lost in Translation. Audra talks with Omar (a student) and Clinton (a Cultural Anthropologist) as we unpack the hierarchy of language.

Audra also reviews the impact of Shirley Chisholm, a trailblazing woman of color who ran for president back in the 1970s.

Also featuring music by Emily King and Sister Nancy.

Today at 1pm on Practically Speaking. Vocalo.org 89.5fm and 90.7fm

Chicago Mixtape = New Tunes, Local Tunes, Free Tunes, Good Tunes

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Chicago has numerous, excellent college radio stations (I happen to be partial to WCRX) and some interesting home grown projects like VocaloCHIRP, and Fearless Radio. You can get bits and pieces of the local music scene from these outlets but what if you wanted to become more actively involved in the scene?

Personally, I began hosting smaller scale monthly artist showcases called “Collaborate”. I met musicians there, and the became involved as one of the initial stewards of I AM FEST, with which I remain actively entrenched to this day. However, I’m a hyperactive person. If I want to be involved in something…I get involved! Easier said than done, I know - particularly when it comes to knowing about “local music”.

So what do you do? I mean, sure you could (and should) randomly catch shows at The Empty Bottle or The Elbo Room in hopes of meeting your new favorite local band, or start actually going to your friends/boyfriends/coworkers/estranged cousins band’s gigs.

Or you could subscribe to the free, and very cool Chicago Mixtape. Every Monday or Tuesday since early February, subscribers have received new tunes in their inbox, all by local Chicago artists. What makes this different from anything else I’ve seen, however, is that all of the bands featured have shows coming up that very week, creator Casey Meehan intros and outros each compilation with reminders of the shows. This helps someone turn “supporting” an artist into a real thing. Don’t just listen to an artist and tell them their stuff is good, go see them! Chicago Mixtape is a perfect resource for that.

Furthermore, each of the 23 mixes I have downloaded so far has been impeccably curated, with all the songs fitting very nicely with each other. Considering the parameters of “show that week”, this is an impressive feat!

I have thoroughly enjoyed being introduced to countless new bands. Through the Chicago Mixtape I’ve been able to go out and support and become fans of some artists I didn’t even know existed in Chicago a few months ago (SEE: Ornery Little Darlings).

Even if you’re not the “go to shows” type, but you are the “try new things” type or answer “everything” when people ask you what kind of music you listen to…check out Chicago Mixtape.


On tonight’s Reclaimed Soul, we’ll be graced by the Chicago vocalist Otis Clay. We’ll listen to some favorite deep records from his 50+ year career that spans Gospel, Soul, and Blues.

Plus, we’ll sample his newest album, “Truth Is” which was Produced and Arranged by Chicago Soul heavyweight Tom Tom Washington.

For your listening pleasure is his 1966 classic, “Tired of Falling In (and out of) Love”. Tune in at 8pm CST for the live interview, and music spun on wax.

Barber Shop Show 109: Youth Spearheading a Push Against Violence

On Friday’s Barber Shop Show we’ll talk to Chicago Public Schools high school students who are also investigative journalists through the Columbia Links program. They are creating work with a strongly anti-violence message. We’ll also talk with that program’s executive director, Brenda Butler.

Plus, we’ll talk with Carlos Javier Ortiz (whose original photo is featured above). He is a photographer working with the Chicago Reporter. He’ll talk about some of the stories he’s encountered while capturing images for his “Too Young to Die” photo essay project.

He’ll also talk about the power of combining photo documentary projects like his with investigative journalism.

Friday Night DJ Series 8/9/13 DJs Milty EvansGramaphonedzie, Charlie & Big Once. Hosted by JDLP on Vocalo 89.5fm & 90.7fm (streaming atwww.vocalo.org) 
  • This Friday Aug 9th 8pm cst.. Whitebeard Records monthly Showcase highlighting the Serbian/belgrade house movement, featuring New music from Mark Funk, Wise D & Kobe, Babysitters, Mirko & Meex, & GRAMOPHONEDzIE + a special mix from Gramophonedzie. From Chicago to the world!

A mix of music featuring all local Chicago Soul from the Brunswick Label. The label was originally from New York; but moved most of its operations to 17th and Michigan on Chicago’s Record Row in the mid 1960s. From there, producer Carl Davis steered an all star cast of local talent.

This podcast, like all good B-Sides, features some of the trippier cuts from the Brunswick Catalogue.

Side B Playlist:

I’ll Take You Just as You Come – Nialations

Terrible Train – U DWI Peoples Paraphernalia

Ooh Wee Baby I Love You – Fred Hughes

Ooh Wee Baby I Love You – Mighty Doug Haynes

Ain’t There Something Money Can’t Buy – Young Holt Trio

Where the Lilies Grow – Sidney Joe Qualls

Stop, Look, Listen to Your Heart – Barbara Acklin

Stone Out of My Mind – Chi-Lites

I’m So Jealous – Otis Leaville

Since You’ve Been Gone – Major Lance

Talking the Teenage Language – Lost Generation

Am I the Same Girl – Barbara Acklin

She’s Heaven – The Artistics

Love’s a Merry Go Round – Ginji James

for fresh episodes of Reclaimed Soul, listen in Thursdays at 8pm CST on vocalo.org, or tune in to 89.5fm (NW Indy) and 90.7fm (CHI)

to hear Side A (a completely different hour of Brunswick Records Power) click here

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CAF executive director Gaylon Alcaraz will be on Vocalo 89.5 for Feminist Wednesday!

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Chicago Abortion Fund executive director Gaylon Alcaraz will be appearing live on Vocalo 89.5 on September 5th, 2012. The show airs at 9 AM. Gaylon will be speaking on Feminist Wednesday show. Tune in live or listen online for great discussion!

Check it out here: http://www.vocalo.org/

Chicago Abortion Fund is on Facebook! Lots of great photos and lively discussion. CAF Facebook page.

On Saturday’s Installment of Practically Speaking, host Audra Wilson talks with Ami Gandhi of the South Asian American Policy & Research Institute and  Tanvi Shah of the Indo-American Organization. They talk about changes in the West Ridge neighborhood of Chicago (known as a stronghold of Indian and Pakistani culture) that are drawing in immigrants of various backgrounds, including Africans. The image above was taken on West Ridge’s Devon Avenue by Sally Ryan

They also talk about the damage that the myth of a “Model Minority” can do, and how communities of color can come together, despite deeply ingrained stereotypes.

Speaking of stereotypes, we also hear African-American artist and activist Marc Bamuthi Joseph talk about how he had to face stereotypes about African culture while on a trip to Senegal. He also talks about the responsibility of Hip-Hop as a global ambassador.

Practically Speaking airs fresh episodes Saturdays at 1pm CST on vocalo.org, and over the air at 89.5fm and 90.7fm in Chicago. Visit vocalo.org and press play.

Ahhh, love. It’s so easy to get caught up in the highs, we forget all about the lows (aka catching the vapors). But not this Valentine’s Day. Not this installment of Reclaimed Soul. Host Ayana Contreras picks some of her favorites love stories, set to song. The good, the bad, the ugly, and a few classics.

Reclaimed Soul, Tonight at 8pm CST. http://vocalo.org. Press Play.

On this week’s Barber Shop Show we unpack the Gay Marriage versus Civil Union debate from the point of view of families: especially families with children. 

According to an article on MSNBC.com,

“Among the barriers and inequities they face…:

—Because of lack of legal recognition for their unions, gay and lesbian parents can face heavier tax burdens, higher costs for health insurance, and diminished financial protections in the event of death or disability.

—When same-sex parents separate, one parent may lose custody or visitation rights, even in cases where he or she had been a child’s primary caregiver.”

We’ll be tallking with: Ray Koenig III - an attorney and a gay activist who specializes in family law, civil unions, gay adoptions; James L. Bennett - Midwest Regional Director of
Lambda Legal; and Vernita- who is in a civil union with Pat, and has had to navigate some issues with hospitalization and partner rights.

Click here to read the complete article excerpted above.