Student Jazz Singers of Howard University

Nine music majors at Washington, D.C.'s Howard University are also part of the schools vocal jazz ensemble AfroBlue. Michele Norris talks with the group's director, Connaitre Miller, and listens as the students demonstrate "crunchy" harmonies on a familiar tune, as well as some smooth chords on a cappella versions of "Surrey with a Fringe on Top" and "Sometimes I'm Happy."

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MICHELE NORRIS, host:

Now to some of your e-mails.

NOAH ADAMS, host:

The first of our two-part series about polygamy in America's Muslim community brought its share of e-mails. Here's one from Jack Cammer(ph). That's not jack hammer - we checked - of Halethorpe, Maryland.

NORRIS: Once again, you make me feel that your show should be called ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from the women's point of view, writes Mr. Cammer. It's true that the Muslim practice of allowing a man to take up to four wives can be a problem for women. How is it that it escapes you that each man with four wives can also be a problem for three men? How about a report on Muslim polygamy from those men's point of view?

ADAMS: And Alma Arnoe(ph) of Boston had this to say: As a woman, I think some added context would have been useful. In the Koran, Arnoe continues, polygamy is reserved as a way to care for children in extremis. And even that is discouraged. It is expressly not a way for men to enhance their status or enjoy themselves at the expense of women, even if that is a common abuse to that religion by male-dominated societies in some part of the world.

NORRIS: In another story yesterday, Robert Sigel talked with the author Salman Rushdie about his latest novel, "The Enchantress of Florence." Rushdie said earlier death threats against him had an unintended consequence.

Mr. SALMAN RUSHDIE (Author): And because, you know, that the threat against me was arcane and theological and unfunny, there's an assumption that I must be arcane and theological and unfunny. And I think it puts people off. When I go around the country lecturing at colleges and so on, every single time I do it, somebody comes up to me and says who knew that you'd be funny.

(Soundbite of laughs)

ADAMS: Gale Lord of Chicago writes, Mr. Rushdie, don't fret about people thinking you are not funny, everyone who saw you in the movie "Bridget Jones's Diary" knows you are cool.

NORRIS: And finally on Monday, we aired my interview with Howard University's vocal jazz ensemble, Afro Blue.

(Soundbite of song, "Surrey with the Fringe on Top")

Mr. BOWENS: (Singing) Nosey pokes will peek through their shutters and their eyes will pop.

AFRO BLUE: (Singing) The wheels are yellow, the upholstery is brown. The dashboard's genuine leather, with isinglass curtains, you can roll...

NORRIS: Rough Barontine Trulac(ph) of Fort Lauderdale writes: Normally, I only write when I'm quibbling, complaining or moaning about something I've heard on one of your programs.

ADAMS: But today, he continues, I'm writing to say thank you for the wonderful extended feature on the excellent AfroBlue. What a great feature and so in-depth. Now I can return to my regularly schedule quibbling, complaining or moaning.

NORRIS: Oh, that's too bad because it was such a fun interview to do. Whether it is quibble or a complaint or a moan, we still like to hear from you. You can go to our Web site npr.org/contact.

ADAMS: And please let us know where you're writing from and how you say your name.

(Soundbite of song, "Sometimes I'm Happy")

AFRO BLUE: (Singing) I'm happy, sometimes I'm blue. My disposition, it depends.

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