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Young@Heart Brings Wisdom of Ages to Rock


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Welcome to AMERICAN MOSAIC in VOA Special English.

I'm Doug Johnson.

Today we hear music from Marcus Miller …

Answer a listener's question about the popular Internet game, Second Life ...

And tell about a group of old people who refuse to act their age.

Young@Heart

You can never be too old to rock and roll.  After all, the "world's greatest rock and roll band," the Rolling Stones, are all over sixty. But they are youngsters compared to another group of rock and rollers.  Faith Lapidus explains.

A new movie called "Young@Heart" is about a group of more than twenty singers from Northhampton, Massachusetts. The singing group was formed more than twenty-five years ago at a center for old people. The singers have performed concerts around the world. The average age of the group is eighty years old.

The Young@Heart Chorus performs rock and roll songs made famous by artists including Bob Dylan, James Brown, Coldplay, Sonic Youth and the Clash. The leader of the group, Bob Cilman, is in his fifties. He directs the singers and teaches them new songs.

British filmmaker Stephen Walker followed the group for two months. He made a movie about the singers as they learned several new songs for a concert in their hometown. Some of the songs were difficult to learn. Older people do not know rock and roll songs as well as younger generations. And it is not always easy for people in their seventies, eighties and nineties to remember the words. But the movie shows that the singers try their hardest and have a good sense of humor.

Here is the Young@ Heart Chorus singing "I Wanna Be Sedated" by the Ramones.

The members of Young@Heart are a lovable group of men and women with great spirit. Singing with the group is an important part of their lives. They have many medical problems and some struggle to attend rehearsals to learn the songs. Sadly, two of the members of the group died within a week while the movie was being filmed. But that did not stop the group from performing their concert.

The movie "Young@Heart" is very enjoyable.  How many movies can make you smile, laugh and cry at the same time? One of the most emotional parts of the film is when the singers perform before a group of young men at a local jail. One of the young men says it was the best performance he'd ever seen in his life.

Second Life

Our listener question this week comes from Yemen.  Sameer Taher Mahdi asks about Second Life on the Internet.

Second Life is an online imaginary world where a computer user can create a new self and experience a separate life.  Second Life is similar to other popular "massively multiplayer online role-playing games."  The company Linden Lab of San Francisco, California created Second Life in two thousand three.

To play Second Life a computer user signs up at the Second Life Web site.  Then he or she creates an electronic image, or animated character, called an avatar.  Some people try to make their avatar look as close to their real self as possible. Other people change their sex or become an imaginary creature as their Second Life avatar.

Once you have your avatar you become a "resident" of Second Life.  In some ways the imaginary world is like the real world.  There are streets and buildings and your avatar can move about them. Your avatar also can make friends with other Second Life avatars. Residents can go to school, own a business, even get married.  But, there are also activities in Second Life that are impossible in the real world.  For example, if you do not feel like walking to that park near your Second Life home, why not fly?

You can get your first Second Life account for free. But it costs money to get other accounts and to buy land.  The virtual world has its own currency, the Linden dollar.  You use these to buy virtual clothes, property, entertainment and many other things.  You can earn Linden dollars by working at a job. That unreal money has a real life value.  About two hundred fifty Linden dollars are worth one American dollar.

Second Life is popular among schools and businesses.  Many universities have set up campuses on the Web site.  Many kinds of stores can also be found there.  And, entertainers sometimes perform live on Second Life with their Second Life avatars.

How many people do you think play Second Life?  The Second Life Web site says more than four hundred sixty thousand residents logged on last week.  It also says the total number of residents is more than thirteen million from more than one hundred countries.

Marcus Miller

Marcus Miller is a bass guitar player, composer and producer. He has played on more than five hundred songs as a studio musician.  For many years, he was known as "Bassist to the Stars."  Marcus Miller has also recorded many albums of his own. Mario Ritter tells us about the latest one.

Marcus Miller has written and produced songs for many major performers.  They include the great jazz trumpeter Miles Davis, singers Luther Vandross and Mariah Carey and rapper Jay-Z.

Miller has recorded nine albums on his own.  His new album is called "Marcus."  He says he is carrying out an old jazz tradition of taking a song and mixing it with a different kind of music to show the song's other possibilities.  Most of the songs on his new album combine jazz, rhythm and blues, and a sound known as funk.  The song "Blast" also has influences of the Middle East.

Several guest artists perform on Marcus Miller's new album.  They include spoken word artist Shihan the Poet, blues singer Keb' Mo', and Corinne Bailey Rae who sings the hit song, "Free."

Marcus Miller's skill as a musician extends beyond bass guitar.  He plays several other instruments on his new album, including keyboards, drums, sitar and bass clarinet.  We leave you with another song from the album "Marcus" by Marcus Miller.  Here he plays bass clarinet on the classic song "When I Fall in Love."

I'm Doug Johnson.  I hope you enjoyed our program today.

It was written by Lawan Davis, Shelley Gollust and Caty Weaver, who was also our producer. To read the text of this program and download audio, go to our Web site, voaspecialenglish.com.

Join us again next week for AMERICAN MOSAIC, VOA's radio magazine in Special English


"American Mosaic" in VOA Special English
www.manythings.org/voa/america

Source: Young@Heart Brings Wisdom of Ages to Rock
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