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  • Folklife Friday: Tiny Desk Concerts, Korean Cod, and a Pan-African Bookshop

    Folklife Friday is a weekly digest of arts and culture articles, podcasts, and videos from across the web. Read on for a selection of the week’s best cultural heritage pieces, and don’t forget to check back next Friday for a new set of weekly picks.

    Tiny Desk: how NPR’s intimate concert series earned a cult following
    For fans of NPR’s Tiny Desk concert series, wherein featured artists perform behind the desk of All Songs Considered host Bob Boilen, the show’s appeal lies in its intimate, stripped-down feel. “There was nothing between you and artist,” Zachary Crockett writes of Laura Gibson’s performance, one of the show’s earliest. “Just Laura’s voice coming through a beautiful microphone. Humble. It just worked.”

    Banchan: Korean Food Beyond BBQ
    There’s more to Korean cuisine than its beloved BBQ, as this episode of the KCET web series The Migrant Kitchen deftly illustrates. Today, visitors flock to Jun Won, the Koreatown restaurant spotlighted in this segment, for its braised marinated black cod, served on a bed of sautéed radishes. The episode traces the restaurant’s trajectory from a door-to-door lunchbox service to a staple of the Koreatown community.  

    Bringing African Books Back Home
    Growing up in Kisumu, Kenya, a city with only two major bookstores, Magunga Williams remembers how the personal library of a local man, whose house became an unofficial public library, was, for him, an escape. Years later, when Williams launched Magunga Bookstore, an online pan-African bookshop, it was both a recreation of that local library and an opportunity to give voice to African writers. “Kenyan writers rarely attract attention locally,” Abigail Arunga, a Nairobi-based freelance writer explains, “until they’ve found success internationally.”

    The Heart Is the Last Frontier
    “No migration is about migration,” Isabel Wilkerson, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author of The Warmth of Other Suns, explains in this episode of On Being. “It’s about freedom and how far people are willing to go to achieve it.” In this interview, Wilkerson speaks to the Great Migration of six million African Americans from the south to the north of the United States, tracing the story of identity and place across three successive generations.

    For Teachers: Native American Heritage Month
    On the heels of Thanksgiving, there’s never been a better time to explore the educational resources on the Native American Heritage Month web portal. Replete with lesson plans, documentary films, podcasts, and interactive games, the site offers a comprehensive look at Native American history, peppered with exhibition information and think pieces aplenty.

    Special thanks to Sojin Kim, Marjorie Hunt, and Betty Belanus for their contributions to this week’s Folklife Friday digest.

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