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Harmonious World Podcast interviews Jeni Slotchiver and calls 'American Heritage' a launch pad album

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Following the success of the Busoni The Visionary series, Jeni Slotchiver introduced something so intimately close to home. With Southern roots of her own, Slotchiver's debut ZOHO CD release American Heritage is her homage to the legendary composers preserving American folk music and creating anew. What was once familiar, is reborn.

Spanning 125 years, from Louis Moreau Gottschalk's The Banjo (ca. 1854-5) to Frederic Rzewski's Down by the riverside (1979), American Heritage presents piano compositions by composers of concert music, inspired by the melodies, dance rhythms, harmonic inventions and various stylistic elements evocative of the American experience. Of the eight composers represented, six are of African descent and two of these are women. There are quotes from spirituals, use of the African American pentatonic scale, the African call and response structure popularized in southern church tradition, polyphonic rhythms of jazz, and the rich, sultry harmonies of blues. With the exception of the rich musical heritage of Indigenous people, the largest and most important American folkloric body of work arrived on American shores with the first enslaved African people. 

It was Beethoven's 250th anniversary when Harmonious World podcast's Hilary Robertson interviewed the pianist about the stunning collection of 18 pieces. With influences from folk, jazz, blues and gospel, Robertson calls it a launch pad album - you can follow any number of routes into some really fascinating American composers.

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