Welcome to AMERICAN MOSAIC in VOA Special English.
I'm Doug Johnson. This week …
We travel to Louisiana for the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival ...
And answer a question about a group of landscape painters.
But first, we tell about the retirement of football broadcaster John Madden.
Last weekend National Football League teams began choosing players for the next season. As young players prepare to begin their professional careers in the sport, one important person in American football announced his retirement. Bob Doughty tells us more about popular broadcaster John Madden.
American football broadcaster John Madden is loved by sports fans, coaches and players throughout the United States.
The former football player and coach brought his excitement and love for the sport to television viewers every time he announced a game. John Madden is known for his friendly personality and sense of humor. He is also known for explaining football as he announced the games. This helped people understand and enjoy the sport even more.
Last month, John Madden announced his retirement as a National Football League broadcaster. Madden is seventy-three. He says he wants to spend more time with his wife and family, especially his five grandchildren. Madden says his decision to retire was difficult because he loves everything about football.
He started as a professional football player. But an injury to his knee in nineteen fifty-eight ended his short career. He began his career as a head football coach in nineteen sixty-nine, when he was selected to lead the Oakland Raiders. He coached the team for ten years. He led the Raiders to a Super Bowl victory in nineteen seventy-seven. Two years later he retired and became a sports announcer for the NFL. John Madden was named to the Professional Football Hall of Fame in two thousand six.
Madden has announced eleven Super Bowl games during his thirty-year broadcasting career. He has won sixteen Emmy Awards for Outstanding Sports Analyst/Personality on television. His last game as a football announcer was this year's Super Bowl in February.
John Madden's huge influence on the sport of football continues. His video game, "Madden NFL," is the best-selling sports video game in history. It has sold more than seventy million copies worldwide during the last twenty years.
Hudson River School
Our listener question this week comes from an artist in Ukraine. Mykhailo Sydorenko wants to know about two American painters -- Frederic Edwin Church and Albert Bierstadt.
These two artists were linked to a nineteenth century group of painters known as the Hudson River School. A "school" of painters refers to a group of artists whose work has a common influence. The Hudson River School painters are considered the first official school in American art.
Their detailed landscape paintings showed the huge expansiveness of American wilderness. These paintings expressed a sense of wonder for America's natural environment and its endless possibilities. The paintings also had a moral and spiritual message. The painters believed that nature was a direct representation of God.
The school was named after the Hudson River Valley in the state of New York. Many of the artists painted this valley and its surrounding areas. Some of the artists also traveled to paint in other countries.
The painter Thomas Cole is said to be one of the first members of this group. He became very successful, starting in the eighteen twenties. Like later members of the group, Cole was well educated in the traditions of European painting. But Cole made a clear case for creating a new art for the new land of America.
One of Cole's students was Frederic Edwin Church. His famous painting "Heart of the Andes" was completed in eighteen fifty-nine. To create this work, Church had traveled for nine weeks in Ecuador making drawings. When the large painting was shown to the public, thousands of people paid money to see its strikingly real style.
Albert Bierstadt is best known for his paintings of the American West. He was influenced by later members of the Hudson River School. Bierstadt received his training as an artist in his native Germany. Although he started painting in New York and other eastern states, he began traveling west in eighteen fifty-nine.
His eighteen sixty-six painting "Yosemite Valley" gave many people on the East Coast their first introduction to California's beautiful mountain area.
New Orleans Jazz Fest
The birds are back, the bees are buzzing and the flowers are in full bloom. It is that time of year again. Warm weather means outdoor music festivals and one of the biggest is happening right now. Every year thousands of bands and fans travel to the southern state of Louisiana for the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival. Faith Lapidus has more.
The festival is celebrating its fortieth anniversary this year. More than five thousand musicians are expected to perform during the huge seven-day event. About four hundred thousand people are expected to attend. Whether you like blues or rock, Cajun, folk, Zydeco, country, or of course, all that jazz, you are guaranteed to hear it at Jazz Fest.
Jazz musician Wynton Marsalis is a native of New Orleans. Here is "The Razor Rim" from his newest CD "He and She."
The nine-time Grammy Award winning Marsalis is one of the headliners at this year's festival. Other famous performers include Neil Young, Etta James, Tony Bennett, Bonnie Rait and Sugarland. The Dave Matthews Band is also performing. This band's mix of jazz, world music, folk and rock is a perfect fit for the festival. Here the band performs "Funny the Way It Is."
Traditionally, most of the performers at the festival are not well known outside of Louisiana. More than eighty percent of the performers are locals, including Buckwheat Zydeco. Here is his song "I'm Gonna Love You Anyway."
While the music may be at the top of the menu, let us not forget about the food. Lip-smacking, mouth-watering New Orleans cuisine. Visitors are enjoying crawfish etouffees, red beans and rice, gumbo, jambalaya and the famous fried pastries called beignets. We leave you with music from another New Orleans native. Harry Connick, Junior sings his song honoring the victims of Hurricane Katrina.
(MUSIC: "All These People")
I'm Doug Johnson. I hope you enjoyed our program today.
It was written by Lawan Davis, June Simms, and Dana Demange who was also the producer. For transcripts, MP3s and podcasts of our programs, go to voaspecialenglish.com.
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