In Your Ear: Nikki Giovanni And Friends

Award winning poet Nikki Giovanni, along with jazz musicians Louis Rosen and Capathia Jenkins, share what music they are listening to. They talk about "The Ache of Possibility," a new album that includes tracks where Giovanni's poems are transformed into song. They also tell what other music inspires them.

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JACKI LYDEN, host:

And now, on to a segment we call In Your Ear. This is where we ask guests of the program to let us in on what's playing on their iPods. Recently, Michel Martin interviewed award-winning poet Nikki Giovanni, along with jazz musicians Louis Rosen and Capathia Jenkins about "The Ache of Possibility," a new album that includes tracks where Giovanni's poems are put into song form. Before they left, they let us in on the music that's currently inspiring them.

Ms. NIKKI GIOVANNI (Poet): Hi, this is Nikki Giovanni. In my ear right now is Randy Crawford singing "Save Your Love for Me." It's a fantastic, just a, it's a lover's prayer, so, you know, I wish I knew why I'm so in love with you.

(Soundbite of song, "Save Your Love for Me")

Ms. RANDY CRAWFORD (Singer-songwriter): (Singing) Wish I knew why I'm so in love with you. No one else in this world will do. Darling please save your love for me.

Ms. GIOVANNI: And, of course, Marvin Gaye, "After the Dance."

(Soundbite of song, "After the Dance")

Mr. MARVIN GAYE (Singer-songwriter): (Singing) I want you and you want me, so why don't we get together after the dance?

Ms. GIOVANNI: You got, you know, dance with me, come on and dance with me baby, and that's what love is. And there's just nothing to lift your spirits. You know, you wake up in the morning. Somebody else says that just a little loving early in the morning beats a cup of coffee every time.

(Soundbite of song, "After the Dance")

Ms. CAPATHIA JENKINS (Singer): Hi, this is Capathia Jenkins. I've been listening to Jason Mraz "Love for a Child." I absolutely love this song. I, first of all, I love Jason Mraz as a singer-songwriter, and this song just - I just latched on to it, this beautiful storytelling about growing up.

(Soundbite of song, "Love for a Child")

Mr. JASON MRAZ (Singer-songwriter): (Singing) There's a picture on my kitchen wall, it looks like Jesus and his friends involved. There's a party getting started in the yard.

Ms. JENKINS: It's just a beautiful melody and all the way through it, and it just lulls me. I'm on the subway in New York listening to Jason Mraz, "Love for a Child."

(Soundbite of song, "Love for a Child")

Mr. MRAZ: (Singing) What about taking this empty cup and filling it up with a little bit more of innocence? I haven't had enough, it's probably because when you're young, it's okay to be easily ignored. I like to believe it was all about love for a child.

Mr. LOUIS ROSEN (Musician, songwriter): Hi, this is Louis Rosen and lately I've been listening to the solo work of the four fellows who were in the Beatles.

(Soundbite of song, "Awaiting On You All")

Mr. GEORGE HARRISON (Musician, Singer-songwriter): (Singing) You don't need no love-in. You don't need no bed-in. You don't need a horoscope or a microscope to see the mess that you're in. If you open up your heart you know what I mean.

Mr. ROSEN: In particular, George Harrison's work from his first album. The way he wrote songs about his faith, a wonderful song called "Awaiting On You All."

(Soundbite of song, "Awaiting On You All")

Mr. HARRISON: (Singing) The lord is awaiting on you all to awaken and see, chanting the names of the lord and you'll be free. The lord is awaiting...

Mr. ROSEN: And John Lennon's first solo album. A song there for instance called "Hold On," John - it's just stunningly tender and beautiful.

(Soundbite of song, "Hold On")

Mr. JOHN LENNON (Musician, Singer-songwriter): Hold on John, John hold on, it's gonna be all right.

Mr. ROSEN: There's a tenderness and a vulnerability, a nakedness in that album that I find extremely effective.

(Soundbite of song, "Hold On")

Mr. LENNON: (Singing) Hold on Yoko, Yoko hold on. It's gonna be all right. You're gonna make the flight.

LYDEN: That was poet Nikki Giovanni, along with musicians Capathia Jenkins and Louis Rosen telling us about the music playing in their ear.

And that's our program for today. I'm Jacki Lyden and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Let's talk more tomorrow.

(Soundbite of song, "Hold On")

Mr. LENNON: (Singing) ...just to hold on. Hold on world, world hold on. It's gonna be all right. You're gonna see the light. And when you're one, really one...

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