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Songbirds: Pioneering Women in Jamaican Music Paperback – September 19, 2014
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About the Author
Heather Augustyn is a journalist and writing instructor living in Chesterton, Ind., one hour outside of Chicago. She author of Ska: An Oral History, McFarland, 2010, with a foreword by Cedella Marley which was nominated for the ARSC Award for Excellence; Don Drummond: The Genius and Tragedy of the World’s Greatest Trombonist, McFarland, 2013, with a foreword by Delfeayo Marsalis; Ska: The Rhythm of Liberation, Rowman & Littlefield, 2013; and Songbirds: Pioneering Women in Jamaican Music, Half Pint Press, 2014. Feature articles on Augustyn’s work have appeared in the Jamaica Gleaner, Jamaica Observer, The Onion’s A/V Club, and Caribbean Beat Magazine, among dozens of others. She has been co-host of Radio M on WBEZ-FM, Chicago’s NPR station with Tony Sarabia, spoke on NPR’s Sound Opinions, and was interviewed for radio shows in Indiana, Minneapolis, Buenos Aires, Kingston, Toronto, and Tampa. She is a great fan of ska, rocksteady, and reggae music and has been invited to lecture at the International Reggae Conference in Kingston, Jamaica where she spoke on women in ska and music of Jamaican independence and the Pop Culture Association Conference in Chicago on the connection between ska and the origins of hip hop. She has lectured on ethnomusicology at DePaul University, Indiana University, and Purdue University. Augustyn is adjunct professor of English composition at Purdue University’s North Central campus and she has been a correspondent for The Times of Northwest Indiana, the state’s second largest newspaper, since December 2004. She is contributing editor for Shore Magazine and her work has appeared in such national publications as The Village Voice, The Humanist Magazine, World Watch Magazine, E! The Environmental Magazine. She was the last journalist to interview the late novelist Kurt Vonnegut. The story appeared in In These Times Magazine and was published in the book Kurt Vonnegut: The Last Interview and Other Conversations, Melville House, 2011. Augustyn is also a professional photographer and her work has appeared in numerous magazines and books. She received her M.A. in writing from DePaul University and a B.A in English and philosophy from Bradley University. She currently directs a Montessori school’s writing program in Northwest Indiana where she and husband Ron reside with their two boys, Sid and Frank.
Top customer reviews
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It is written with the same comfortable readable style as the other books Heather Augustyn has written. The stories come easily and include enough detail to give the reader a sense of the times these accounts are relating. Much of the detail in the book comes from interviews from the women described in the book or the first-hand accounts of people who knew them. As such much of the content of the book is new information not well covered in other accounts of these time periods. There were minor editing issues which seems par for the course on a self/small label publishing job but given the value of the content and the readable style this is easy to overlook.
If you are interested in Jamaican music this book will be critical part of your library. If you are interested in a critical part of music history and those who were instrumental in making it happen this book will be essential. Even those less concerned with the genres of music discussed will enjoy the personal examples and the lives of those who faced and overcame challenging lives.