Music | KCUR

Music

Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3FM

Lee Hartman wants to show a few hundred musicians from as far away as Australia and Great Britain that Kansas City isn't flyover country.

Hartman gets his chance next week, when Kansas City’s Mid America Freedom Band, of which he is artistic director, plays host to 30 concert bands and marching bands coming to Kansas City for the Lesbian and Gay Band Association's annual conference.

A dry crop field under a blue sky.
Madelyn Beck / Harvest Public Media

Segment 1: How national headlines impact local farmers.

Even if agriculture may not seem like a big part of your life, farmers are responsible for much of our food, our clothes and even our medicine. Today, we sat down with three reporters from Harvest Public Media to learn how farmers across the Midwest are responding to drought, tariffs and the newest version of the farm bill.

Laura Ziegler / KCUR 89.3

Bill Shapiro wanted to be a disc jockey. And as host of KCUR's long-running popular-music program, “Cyprus Avenue,” he managed to do that for 40 years (though he never quit his day job as an attorney).

After wrapping the show’s final episode, and ahead of a special event in his honor with Kelly Hunt at the Folly Theater on Friday night, Shapiro sat on the other side of the microphone for a conversation with “Up to Date” host Steve Kraske.

Bill Shapiro sits in a chair, surrounded by CDs, books, and audio equipment.
Laura Ziegler / KCUR 89.3

Segment 1: Understanding who's who in the upcoming trial of Missouri Governor Eric Greitens.

Missouri Governor Eric Greitens will stand trial on Monday for a felony charge of invasion of privacy. In the courtroom overseen by Judge Rex Burlison will be more than just prosecutor Kim Gardner and defense lawyer Edward Dowd.  Each will lead a team of powerhouse attorneys so there are a lot of names in the lineup. To help us make sense of them all, we ran down the rosters with two reporters familiar with the players involved.  

Segment 1: A new play about gun violence in Kansas.

Nathan Louis Jackson's new play, "Brother Toad," is set in Wyandotte County and Johnson County. It's about two men who are going down different paths when it comes to protecting their families. Hear more about the play and about Jackson's changing views on guns.

Courtesy of Una Walkenhorst

The artist: Una Walkenhorst

The song: No Man Like the City

The story: Four years ago, Una Walkenhorst quit her job, got in her two-door Honda Civic and kicked off on a road trip across North America for a year and a half.

The reason was simple: she wanted establish herself as a musician. But she wanted to do it on her own – without help from her father.

In her new album, "Dirty Computer," Janelle Monáe reveals more of herself than ever before. And, in recent weeks, she has been sharing more of her story, from her background in Kansas City, Kansas, to her sexuality. A look at the music, life and persona of Janelle Monáe ... and what her story means to Kansas Citians.

Segment 1: Meet the Cutlers.

The Cutlers aren't your typical Kansas City couple. Not only do they practice law together, but they also host a reality TV court show that was recently nominated for an Emmy.

Segment 2, beginning at 19:06: How to turn your genealogy into a story.

Segment 1: How people in the Midwest cope when they have a fear of storms.

Spring in the Midwest means blooming flowers and warmer weather ... and also tornado siren tests and scary storms. What is it like for someone with a phobia of severe weather?

Meet a Leawood fifth grader who is one of five finalists in a nationwide contest for her invention, The Storm Sleeper. However, kids aren't the only ones afraid of storms; we hear about astraphobia and the adults who suffer from it.

Segment 1: The story behind a cowboy music band from Kansas City.

Cowboy music is not the same as country-western. We speak with two of the musicians of 3 Trails West — one of the few practitioners of cowboy music in Kansas City.

Segment 1: A school secretary is helping immigrants make plans in case of deportation.

For undocumented parents with kids who are U.S. citizens, the risk of having your family separated by deportation is real. Meet the elementary school employee who has stepped into the lives of kids whose parents could be deported.

 

Seg. 1: Leaving KC. Seg. 2: Ukeleles.

Apr 12, 2018
Jen Chen / KCUR 89.3

Segment 1: Why are educated professionals leaving Kansas City?

A recent study showed that more people with college degrees are leaving Kansas City at a faster rate than they're coming in. A look at why, and what that means for the city as a whole.

Tanner Martine

In 2016, Simon Fink and his band, Under the Big Oak Tree, performed a holiday concert in their hometown of St. Joseph, Missouri.

One of the songs they played was “The Little Drummer Boy,” which was composed by Katherine K. Davis. As it turned out, she was born and raised in St. Joseph.

Segment 1: A new art exhibit encourages people to write down their wishes.

A group of local artists has created a public altar at the Kansas City Public Library, where visitors are invited to write down their wishes and leave objects of personal significance. One of the artists behind this project shares his vision for it.

Madisen Ward & the Mama Bear

Three years have passed since the release of “Skeleton Crew,” the breakout debut for Independence, Missouri, mother-and-son folk duo Madisen Ward & The Mama Bear.

In that time frame, they've toured Europe, been guests on The David Letterman Show and collaborated with actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt to create a music video for “Childhood Goodbye,” their latest single.

Segment 1: Kansas City ranks as one of the top cities for women working in tech. 

For the fourth year in a row, Kansas City has been listed as the second best city for women working in the tech industry according to the website Smart Asset. Today, we find out how our city earned that title as well as learn how we can continue to improve. 

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

She's taken her craft from Barcelona to Beijing, but this weekend Joyce DiDonato will grace a stage much closer to home.

Before the Grammy-winning mezzo-soprano brings the music of Leonard Bernstein and Hector Berlioz to life at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, we sat down for a wide-ranging conversation on KCUR's Up To Date. We talked about the kindlings of her now red-hot career, an upcoming tour to Moscow, and recent student protests that have captured the nation's attention.

Segment 1: Meet the city's expert on illegal dumping.

Cleaning up other people's messes can be a thankless task. But KCMO's illegal dumping investigator is passionate about his job. Hear his story.

  • Alan Ashurst, KCMO Illegal Dumping Investigator

Segment 2, beginning at 16:03: Should music venues be held accountable for the political positions of the bands they book?

Segment 1: Local poet writes collection based on his working class roots. 

For Robert Stewart, poetry isn't ethereal — it's a working class endeavor. He shares how his background as a plumber's apprentice, ditch-digger and truck driver shaped his worldview as a writer. 

Segment 1: A new group wants to make theater accessible to everyone.

What if you could see a play for free in a non-traditional venue? Well, now you can. The Kansas City Public Theatre kicks off its first season this fall, but it's already staging some monthly readings at a local bar. We talk with its executive artistic director and a playwright, whose work will be performed on Monday.

Segment 1: Why The Olympics in PyeongChang is about more than sports to Kansas City's Korean community.

For members of the Korean community in Kansas City, the Winter Olympics have been as much a celebration of heritage as it is a moment of political tension. Today, we check in to learn about the significance of this international event. 

Paul Andrews / http://paulandrewsphotography.com/

Enrique Chi, frontman of the Kansas City-based band Making Movies, has had a busy year.

The band released its second album, “I Am Another You,” last spring. Produced by Steve Berlin of Los Lobos, the record made it to #3 on Billboard's Latin Album chart.

Enrique Chi

Feb 16, 2018

Meet Enrique Chi, the frontman of Making Movies.

Segment 1: Why the face of vocational tech education is changing.

When you think of career education classes for high schoolers, what comes to mind? Maybe welding or auto shop? But with today's changing workforce, many students are also preparing for industry fields like coding and biomedical technology. Find out how a school in Lee's Summit is adjusting to meet this need.

On our First Friday arts show: a local artist has been keeping a dream journal for over 40 years. In his new exhibit, he's brought recurring objects from his dreams to life through sculpture. Then, we talk to the star of a one-woman show about fashion icon Diana Vreeland, and a band conductor on how his group keeps the Kansas City sound alive ... and how they're taking a step to address the gender imbalance in jazz.

Guests:

Kansas City's music scene has a long tradition of hardworking artists who turn out great, original songs. Last year was no different. Today, Playlistplay.com co-creater Savanna Howland, Judy Mills of Mills Record Company, and KCUR contributor Bill Brownlee offer a sampling of their favorite 2017 releases from Kansas City and around the world.

A new play, Trench Warfare, is about two infantry soldiers in World War I. We talk with the local musician who composed the score for the play; he shares how he evoked the feelings of WWI with a seven-piece orchestra and a computer.

Then: Sexual misconduct has been an issue in the Kansas and Missouri statehouses. Two women in politics from both sides of the state line compare notes from their experiences on the job.

Guests:

In our January arts show: we hear more about a new exhibition at The Nelson that features artifacts from the tombs of kings of ancient China — including a burial suit that's made from over 4000 pieces of jade.

naturalflow / Flickr -- CC

What makes a song a Kansas City song? We revisit the classic "standards" that once defined the KC sound. Plus: a local writer takes us on a tour of the nearby breweries, distilleries and vineyards on both sides of the state line.

Guests:

Members of the hearing-impaired community often face unique, and sometimes difficult situations even when living in America. Today, we discuss the history of persecution against people with deafness in this country and the milestones alongside the path to equal rights.

For a full transcript of that segment, click here.

Plus, the story behind the song, "Hold On," by Isaac Cates & Ordained.

Guests:

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