“One of my great influences was the church.” said Ray Charles in Heavenly Sight “Some people felt that oh ‘he’s bastardizing religion’ and all…but after a while they started calling it soul music.”
The public radio music documentary Heavenly Sight: A Vision out of Blindness tells this rich story in music and interviews. It is distributed to public radio stations nationwide by PRI (Public Radio International)
Written and reported by David Marash, Heavenly Sight teams New York's Murray Street Productions with the Alabama nonprofit Artemis Media Project. The documentary features the Blind Boys of Alabama, modern piano wizard Henry Butler and numerous less-known musicians, with comments by Dr. Bernice Johnson Reagon (Sweet Honey in the Rock), folklorist Kip Lornell and playwright Lee Breuer (The Gospel at Colonus).
Murray Street producer Steve Rathe says: “We've been inspired by this project for four years. Though funding it has been hard, we’re pleased to present these remarkable stories, like that of Rev. Gary Davis, who influenced Ry Cooder, Bob Dylan and so many guitarists; he played and preached on the streets, where his guitars were stolen so often that he began packing a pistol. In our interviews, guitarist David Bromberg – Davis’ onetime lead-boy told us '…if the Reverend fell asleep in a chair, when he woke up the first thing he'd do was draw his pistol.’ ”
“We designed Heavenly Sight to use all the platforms at our disposal,” says Artemis Media’s Kathie Farnell. “Beyond radio and audio features, if our Kickstarter.com project succeeds, these interviews and collections can be available for research and entertainment on this widely accessible website, and keep growing with blogs and postings from around the world.”
http://www.heavenlysight.org is being designed by Flyleaf Creative and Medium Rare NYC for easy access to the visually-handicapped. The site will allow listening to the program audio, the original interviews and performances. Through players and links, users can access a library of the powerful music and musicians, and stories of those less-known, like Blind Mamie Forehand, Arizona Dranes, and Larscene Turk.
The Heavenly Sight project has received support from The Alabama State Council on the Arts, and the National Endowment for the Arts. The Alabama State Council on the Arts is the state arts agency, funded through an annual appropriation from the Alabama legislature and the National Endowment for the Arts. The National Endowment for the Arts is an independent agency of the Federal Government, founded to advance artistic excellence, creativity, and innovation for the benefit of individuals and communities. Additional funds are sought through Kickstarter.com -- A new way to find, fund and follow creativity.
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