Wednesday, April 11, 2007

A triumph of voice and movement

"The African American Audio Experience" is a triumph of voice and movement. It combines the best African American writing of the last century and the voices that turn the intellectual, emotional, and aesthetic power of those words into something that can be felt by every human sense, and it succeeds on all six measures of that.

Brock Peters' distinctive bass voice with its inflective yearning and heartbreak makes "Black Boy" by Richard Wright unforgettable. This is the only part of the entire five audio CD set (a 6 hour presentation) where the word "Abridged" in the small print really stings. We only get the first half of the story, the narration cuts off when the young man travels north and leaves the South forever. It is a testament to quality of the story and the brilliance of the Brock Peters' interpretation of it that leaves a listener so hungry for more.

Lorraine Hansberry's "A Raisin in the Sun" was inspired by a line from a Langston Hughes poem “Harlem.” An unabridged, full cast production of this play brings to life this amazing story of what happens to a dream deferred. Ossie Davis creates a genuine and striking presence as his character searches for dignity and respect.

The very best of "The African American Audio Experience" may be Langston Hughes reading and commenting on selections of his work. Although brief, his presentation is as rich and it is rewarding.

There is so much in the "The African American Audio Experience" that its six hours pass in a flash. As Nikki Giovanni points out in her poetry, this is just the beginning - and it is an impressive one.


Katie M. said...

this sounds really great. you will have to tell connie to come and read your review. it sounds like the kind of thing she would really love. Great review Don! When are you going to talk to Blogcritics?

Katie M. said...

Don! Come check out my blog. I have an award for you! :)