'Catfish Blues' by Skip James
'Baaju Band Khul Khul Jaae' by Abida Parveen
'The Weeping Song' by Nick Cave
Kevin Roe with "Millie," an example of what aquatic biologists refer to as a "dead baby." According to Roe, "dead babies" are dolls that biologists find in rivers and streams while conducting field work. They are considered to bring good luck. Roe found Millie in the Cahaba River in Alabama.
Every few weeks on All Things Considered we check in with our audience to find out what kind of music they're listening to. This time we're joined by Kevin Roe, a listener with an unusual job title: Curator of Mollusks.
Roe's first pick is from the blues genre and reflects his love of the water and the animals that live in it. The song is "Catfish Blues" by Skip James from the album Blues from the Delta. Roe says James's voice sets him apart from the tradition and style of the gravelly-voiced archetypal blues man like the better-known Robert Johnson.
For his second pick, Roe turns to Pakistani artist Abida Parveen, and her song "Baaju Band Khul Khul Jaae" from the compilation titled Sufi. Parveen is a Sufi singer who often performs poems. Her songs are primarily devotional, so when her lyrics refer to the beloved, the meaning is spiritual rather than romantic. Parveen's voice is powerful and moving, whether you understand the lyrics or not, says Roe.
Finally, Kevin Roe selects Nick Cave's "The Weeping Song" from The Best of Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds. Cave is an Australian singer known for his dark lyrics and gothic sound. Roe says all of the songs he chose have singers with strong evocative voices rich with emotion.