Aaron’s Radio Show

Episode 27

My Three Songs with Nadine Bean

 

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Notes

Episode Notes

EPISODE 27 – My Three Songs with Nadine Bean:  Welcome, everyone, to Episode 27. This is the seventeenth in our series of episodes called My Three Songs where my guest chooses three memorable songs and we listen to the songs and talk about why they are meaningful to my guest.

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Three Songs

  1. What a Wonderful World – Louis Armstrong (1967)
  2. Amazing Grace – Judy Collins (1970)
  3. Ohio – Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young (1970)

Aaron’s Radio Show has been licensed by ASCAP and BMI to include songs from their repertories in performances on this website.

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Transcript

This transcript was originally generated using artificial intelligence ("AI") software. It has been edited by a human being, but it may still contain some misspellings, lack necessary punctuation, or include other anomalies. We are regularly working to improve our transcripts!


Jake:

Coming to you almost live from Berkeley, California. It's Aaron's Radio Show ... with your host, Aaron Gobler.

Aaron Gobler:

Thanks, Jake. And welcome, everybody to Episode 27. Welcome to My Three Songs where I play three special songs chosen by my guest, and we talk about why they chose each song. My guest today is Nadine Bean. Nadine, I must say you're the first guest I've had that has a rhyming name. I'm sure you get told all the time ...

Nadine Bean:

I've never heard that before. Really?

Aaron Gobler:

But more seriously, you're the second guest on the show who I did not know, personally prior to you signing up. And I want to thank you so much for being on the show. How are you today?

Nadine Bean:

Good. I'm excited about this.

Aaron Gobler:

Great. So if you don't mind, can you tell our listeners how you found out about the show?

Nadine Bean:

Um, one of my former work colleagues, Beth Shearn, who is a friend of yours from way back, who is a friend of mine, posted a link to her interview with you on My Three Songs. And I listened to it, and I was mesmerized. And I almost immediately filled out the form and sent it in to you to be considered for guesting on the show,

Aaron Gobler:

it's inspiring to me that the show clicked with with you so quickly, and that you wanted to be part of this. So that makes me feel really good. I really enjoy doing the show, I find it very rewarding. And it's additionally rewarding when others see merit in the show and and want to be part of it. So thank you so much again. So before we get started, can you tell me how music fits into your life? Like do you seek it out? Is it usually in the foreground or background of each day? Or where does it fit in your life,

Nadine Bean:

it's very much in the foreground and has been as far back as memory serves. Even as a child, I was very, very moved by all types of music, even as a very young child, when some thing moved me musically. And it could be anything from the Bluegrass that I heard from my paternal grandparents who Myrtle and Henry Bean, who were living in West Virginia at the time, but then they moved to Ohio, and to classical music to even folkloric music that I heard from my Ukrainian immigrant grandmother, who I shared a room with, I would get goosebumps and the hairs on my arms would stand up and I would get teary. It's just always been this way for me and I love all kinds of music.

Aaron Gobler:

Do you find that you're finding music on your own? Or do you find that you're getting recommendations from others for music?

Nadine Bean:

It's both, yeah, it's both. For instance, I discovered a fairly new artist, Rhiannon Giddens, who is an African American woman artist from North Carolina, who has brought to the fore traditional songs from Appalachia and the Black roots of those songs. I discovered her via a interview on NPR's Fresh Air and loved it, so I immediately bought it. Alicia Keys I discovered on a CBS interview, immediately went and bought her CD at the time. I sometimes see posts from friends. So I get recommendations. I'm moved by music via all kinds of venues.

Aaron Gobler:

Uh huh. So take me back when you heard the Alicia Keys. Interview. I'm just guessing you heard her perform. What do you feel? Do you feel something visceral when you're exposed to something that you hadn't heard before? It sparks something in you.

Nadine Bean:

Yes. Very visceral. So I respond to it in all sorts of sensory ways. Like I was saying tactile joy when I get the goosebumps and the hair, stand up on my arms, so she was playing, falling. And I just thought she was amazing.

Aaron Gobler:

Do you seek out particular music to get you into a certain frame of mind?

Nadine Bean:

Yes. So I do it both to perhaps calm me. Music is a very much a part of my life in that way. I use it almost in a meditative way certain types of music and things that I really love. I use it also to activate me. So, for instance, two of the songs that I chose today, I chose because of their connections to my very early social activism starting in my teens.

Aaron Gobler:

I see a theme across the three songs that you chose. And we can talk about that perhaps after we listened to all three. The songs you chose, were What a Wonderful World, by Louis Armstrong, from 1967. Amazing Grace, as covered by Judy Collins, in 1970. And the song Ohio, by Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young and that was also from 1970. So I'm eager for both of us to listen to these songs together. And I'm really interested in knowing why each of them individually is meaningful to you. And then perhaps there's, you know, that again, there's some theme that's running through all three of these songs. So let's first take a listen to What a Wonderful World by Louis Armstrong. Nadine, this is such a beautiful song, especially in its imagery, poetry, and positivity is things we really seem to need nowadays. Why did you choose to include this song?

Nadine Bean:

It is beautiful to me. In fact, when you were playing it, I got teary. I remember when it came out, and I was only about 12 years old. So now you know exactly how old I am.

Aaron Gobler:

Okay, I'm not gonna do the math, but I get an idea. Okay.

Nadine Bean:

So Louie Armstrong, actually was a fixture on variety shows on television in the 60s. Okay, I remember hearing this and watching it with my parents and my grandmother. And I remember a collective gut reaction. How beautiful this was. And hopeful because this is exactly when the Vietnam War was really ratcheting up. Yeah. And that war, really what colored my life in middle school and high school and even my first year of college, when it ended, my high school years were touched by the boys graduating, not asking them, where are you going to get a job? Or where are you going to go to school? But what is your draft number? And some of the boys in my class or classes just above me or below me, some in my neighborhood didn't come back. Or came back. Very changed. And when I need to be uplifted and inspired, I listened to this song, and we do need it now. We really do with the terrible racial and political divisions we have going on in this country.

Aaron Gobler:

When you were listening to the song shortly after it came out, you found a kind of like, a respite or a way to kind of anchor you to the beauty and things and and yeah, and now when you listen to it, do you still kind of have those feelings? Or or does it bring you back to those days where you really needed to hear the song?

Nadine Bean:

It's both. It's both. We really need it now.

Aaron Gobler:

We need it now ... true. Yeah.

Nadine Bean:

And these songs that I chose, I'm also playing to my grandsons, when we still had CDs. I would play Louis Armstrong's Greatest Hits in my car constantly. And now I do it through a streaming service now often choose to listen to this.

Aaron Gobler:

Yeah, it underscores for me how the world is, well, our material things are the earth things and then the people and you know, living beings, right? If we had a positive mindset and took in the wonders of the world, it would be if we could just make it a better world. And so for me, when I hear the song, it's it's bittersweet. Because, because you can see how a lot of the world, at least in my mind sees things as competitions and not as collaboration.

Nadine Bean:

Absolutely, yeah, it also instills hope. And that actually is my mantra. Okay. As a former social work professor, I always said to my students across my teaching career first instill hope.

Aaron Gobler:

Yeah, yeah, I think that's, that's really vital. Because if you don't have hope, then you don't create intention. And without intention, then that's where things fall apart. If everybody has some intention, at least, hopefully a good intention, we can move forward.

Nadine Bean:

I just purchased Jane Goodall's new book on hope. And I just feel such a kindred spirit with her. Okay. It's almost as if this song plays in the back of my mind. When I'm reading the book.

Aaron Gobler:

Does she derive her feelings of hope from her ... I'm guessing from all of her experience with primates and such as that a kernel of it?

Nadine Bean:

Yeah, yes. And people in the world. And her premise is, like you said, Without hope you really can't have intention or feel purpose driven. From hope springs action, without hope you become inactive.

Aaron Gobler:

Yeah. That's very true. The next song on your list is Amazing Grace, by Judy Collins. And this is of course, a very classic song. And let's take a listen to it. And we'll talk some more about it on the other side. Nadine, I imagine nearly everyone's heard some rendition of Amazing Grace. I had never heard this version before. It's really touching really, really beautiful. What inspired you to include the song on your list?

Nadine Bean:

Judy Collins' Wales and Nightingales album from 1970 is one of the very first albums I ever bought when I started working as a team. There are so many cuts from this album I love such as Farewell to Tarwathie, another traditional piece, all of which moved me deeply. But her cover of Amazing Grace, I think, is absolutely incredible. And a couple of weeks ago, I've fulfilled something on my bucket list. I saw Judy Collins live in person awesome. And she had just begun touring a short while ago, again, for the first time since the pandemic. And she is 81 years old, or 82. And she finished with Amazing Grace, and I just jumped to my feet as did most of the audience. She invited us to sing along and tears were just streaming down like this came out again at the height of the Vietnam War protests right after, and I forgotten to mention when I talked about Satchmo's What a Wonderful World ... his song came out, then her work came out. Also at the height of the racial upheaval, and riots in many major cities, including Cleveland, where I grew up, okay. Again, this song instills hope to me and of course, Amazing Grace has such a long and proud history. I just gravitated toward it. Again, it instills hope in me.

Aaron Gobler:

In listening to her version and just thinking about the song in general. It is somebody who is very humble, seeing hope, expressing belief that there's better things and that the way the song ends, it kind of peters out very softly. Kind of just the whole personality of it is very, very humbling full of humility. The way she the way she sings it, and the choir is subtle as well. It's not a really in-your-face kind of sound.

Nadine Bean:

And that's the way it was penned originally.

Aaron Gobler:

Yeah, it's a it is a timeless song. And thank you for including this because I I don't think I've listened to renditions of the song by popular artists. The last song in your list is Ohio, by Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young. Let's give that a listen. Nadine, this is a relatively short song, but its message is so powerful. You know, each time I hear it, I immediately reflect on the events and mindsets that continue to exist in our society. Today, decades and decades later, from when that song was was made, like 50 something years since that song, a lot of that angst and a lot of the issues still exist. So tell me specifically why you included this song on your list?

Nadine Bean:

Well, I was born and raised in Ohio, and I born in Cleveland, raised right outside of Cleveland. And this is about the Kent State University shooting, when there were three days of protests, peaceful protests, about the continuing Vietnam War. My father was a reporter for The Cleveland Plain Dealer, and he covered the riots and the shootings. This song, therefore really haunts me. And Kent State was the beginning of my social activism. And when I began to participate in protest marches against the war in Vietnam and against racial injustice, and my father, I credit with my social awareness. He actually won some awards for his coverage of the Kent State shootings. And it was a very scary time. He was gone for a couple of days. And we knew, of course, we saw it play out on television, the shootings, and four students were killed, and many more were injured. Yes, yeah. And the governor at the time in Ohio, and President Nixon ordered the National Guard in on, I believe, the second day of protests, and they opened fire on the students on a hillside and kind of big central green part of the Kent State University campus. It really was a turning point for me. And just a couple of days ago, we had a white person take action against protesters in Kenosha, Wisconsin, and he was acquitted on all charges. And he killed two people in seriously wounded a third. And I just got a clutch in my throat as we were listening to this again, especially when I heard David Crosby at the very end. You hear him over the instrumentals. And the other harmonists, Crosby, Stills Nash and Young saying, why, how many more? And goodness it's still continuing 51 years later, it can't continue forever. We just got to get it together in this country. But Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young was also another group that propelled me into social activism. And of course, the Kent State shootings.

Aaron Gobler:

Yeah. The theme or the undercurrent really is how to respond to protests. And and in my mind, how a certain part of the population just wants things to not be messy, doesn't understand that in order for us to change some times there there is you know, there is messiness, there is protests there is getting people outside of their their comfort zone, or a little bit on edge. Yeah, and then the poignancy of what's transpiring now with these new era of protests and and how our country responds to those who are how our laws are set up in response to them. You know, I have heard Crosby say "how many more" and it was more poignant to me listening to it in a very quiet room here with my little my little earphone here to hear him say that and I don't know if that was ad hoc or ad libbed or whatever...

Nadine Bean:

I'm not sure how they recorded it; I'm not sure if it was ad libbed, but to me it's really the punctuation mark. It's really the exclamation mark exclamation slash question mark at the very end that is really important.

Aaron Gobler:

Yeah. It's there's four dead but but he wouldn't be say why how many more because he knows that this is not this is not the beginning. This is somewhere in the middle and And we're still kind of in that middle, I feel like

Nadine Bean:

Unfortunately.

Aaron Gobler:

Yeah, yeah. Wow. Is there anything else you'd like to share about your selections now that we've gone through them something about any one of the songs that you want to talk about?

Nadine Bean:

I didn't realize, but there certainly is a collective theme pointing out that our shared humanity and the senselessness of interpersonal violence from slavery to racial discrimination and oppression to the senselessness of war, which unfortunately, disproportionately affects those of different racial and ethnic groups, and black and brown people, Asian people, more than white people, also, that at least two of the three do instill hope. One other thought I had about Louis Armstrong and my love for him, which goes back decades after Hurricane Katrina, I'm American Red Cross disaster mental health services volunteer. After Hurricane Katrina, I volunteered in New Orleans, and I continued long after the Red Cross had pulled out ... the Red Cross is a disaster response and relief organization. We aren't a rebuilding organization. But I got involved with a new nonprofit, rebuilding organization and I took over 100 students over a couple year period, down to work with me in New Orleans Lower Ninth Ward, who help in rebuilding and no, Louis Armstrong is just synonymous with New Orleans. My love for him grew even more as our there are a number of artists that I absolutely adore, from New Orleans. And I was able to see some in person when I was there taking a break from working in rebuilding and it just strengthened my love for him. And now, I've discovered a new artist Jon Baptiste also from New Orleans. And I just am finding him so much fun and full of hope. And he does a cover of What a Wonderful World and a cover of Ohio. I play Jon Batiste for my grandchildren. I feel very, very connected to New Orleans, the people the music, the tradition, and very moved by them.

Aaron Gobler:

Yeah. I mean, I know Jon Batiste from Stephen Colbert late night television show, and I've heard some of his songs, but I didn't know that he did the covers, like you just had described that. I got to go check them out. Yeah. Wow. Yeah, very interested in hearing his rendition of Ohio. Well, I'd like to thank you again, Nadine. This was a very moving conversation. I feel like we touched on a number of themes. And there was a lot of poignancy in each of your music selections.

Nadine Bean:

Thank you. I agree. I agree that it was very poignant. I'm almost exhausted of being moved. But at least two of the three selections were hopeful. And the third one makes us examine our history and what's going on right now. And how, and maybe we can still find hope, so that we're moved to activists.

Aaron Gobler:

Yes, I agree completely. Yes. Thank you for taking time again to put together your list and sharing your thoughts on the show.

Nadine Bean:

Thank you for having me.

Aaron Gobler:

To my listeners. If you want to be part of the show, start by going to our website Aaron's Radio dot show, and clicking on the My Three Songs button on the homepage. You can also sign up for our mailing list so you'll know immediately when a new episode is available. And you can now also find Aaron's Radio Show on your favorite podcast service. The podcast includes only the interviews and no licensed music so if you want to hear the music parts, then you need to stream it from the website. Until next time, keep your ears and mind open and let more music into your world.

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