In Keeping It Halal: The Everyday Lives of Muslim American Teenage Boys, John O'Brien looks at the lives of the Legendz, a small group of members of the Muslim Youth Program of a mosque John worked with. The tensions of be a member of a too-often-feared religion and to be accepted as a teenager in the USA can be a real challenge, and John explores the way it works.
Anastasia Vishnevsky shares her Buddhist soul locally as Manifest Eau Claire and as part of RavenWolf (with Kai Ulrica). Stasia does alchemy, mixing pain, errors, injury, blessings, & vision into golden music.
Peter Leidy does his work of building inclusion predominantly in the area of disabilities, and with considerable creativity, often writing new songs or crafting new lyrics for existing tunes to tell a story or convey a lesson. Whether the topic is disabilities or social justice, or politics or a sense of home, Peter brings tremendous wit and deep passion to the teachable moment.
For great folk music north-of-the-border, Dawud Wharnsby is the one. Homeboy of Kitchener, Ontario, with roots also in Syria and Pakistan, Dawud weaves nature, vulnerability, faith, truth, and universality into song, integrally linked to the Islamic path he walks. Occasionally he performs as part of the Abraham Jam, a Jewish-Christian-Muslim collaboration trio.
Laura Joy won the Songwriter Contest at the Great River Folk Fest 2017, and it's no mystery why. The young Phoenix-to-Chicago transplant has talent far beyond her actual miles. And what's more, "Laura Joy has been known to quell dark, angry bars full of ornery old Irishmen".
Stressful, challenging, daunting times call for special medicine. Al Gini, author of The Importance of Being Funny: Why We Need More Jokes in Our Lives, believes that humor is a vital ingredient in good emotional/mental health. Al is Professor of Business Ethics at the Quinlan School of Business at Loyola University, and for decades was the "resident philosopher" on NPR's affiliate WBEZ in Chicago.
Douglas Wood has produced at least 8 CDs & is author of Old Turtle and at least 31 other books, often on themes of deep connection & respect for the Earth. These passions also guide his work as a wilderness guide. In addition to his solo music, he performs as part of the Wild Spirit Band.
A self-proclaimed "Budd Lite" (as in Buddhism), Catholic-raised, Americana musician, Joe Fahey lives the questions through his music. Today the questions include life & death, but there are no definitive answers on tap here, just experiences, feelings, & some whimsy, from this Twin Cities-based artist.
Hellen Lunkuse Waiswa Tanyinga is a women's (and human) rights pioneer in Uganda and the founder of the Rape Hurts Foundation. At the age of 11 she was raped while doing the tradtionally female job of hauling water, and she transformed that pain into healing & power for herself, women, and all abused people.