“Songs are funny things. They can slip across borders. Proliferate in prisons. Penetrate hard shells.
I always believed that the right song at the right moment could change history.”
~ Pete Seeger ~
~ July 2022 ~
~ SEPTEMBER 2023 ~
September Is Here
Happy Birthday, Songs of Freedom
and welcome to fall and the new season
"Another trip around the sun . . ."
The Season Begins Anew
Birthdays are special things. I was born in the month of September, when weather changes in the Northeast, school starts, and the “get back to work” season starts for everyone in a lot of ways. It has been ingrained from an early age. Television. Football. Cars. Theatre. The fall season begins and takes us into winter and spring until next summer.
I was born on September 3. School has sometimes started on my birthday. That is not fun. Not only for students, but for teachers too! I am not complaining. What I am going to do is dedicate the month of September to birthdays and not only mine. Songs of Freedom Television is now 27 years old and we have never had an official party for the show. So this is it.
The episodes you will see feature my performances at two open mics I regularly attend, one in Kew Gardens, where I live, and one next door in Forest Hills. I would be happy to tell you all about them. Contact me directly at email@example.com if you want to know more. The fourth episode this month is a personal political pronouncement. I leave it to you to see what I mean by that.
The first show is my recent performance as the featured artist at the Austin Ale House Sunday evening open mic on July 16th. We had lots of fun that night, including an appearance by Uncle Joel's Kazoo Army. I gave kazoos to everyone in the audience, and we played together. Now everybody is a musician!! Not only did I bring my guitar to the show, I created a band! It is part of the fun we have when I play. I hope you enjoy the show and that I get to see you sometime at an upcoming gig.
The second and third shows you will see are from the Third Thursday Open Mic I host once each month at Red Pipes Café in Forest Hills. It’s lots of fun. I enjoy sharing the stage and introducing new and old friends. Thank you to Ofer and the crew at Red Pipes for their hospitality and continued support.
The fourth show of the month is as personal and as public as it gets. I have been writing and singing about the twice impeached and four times indicted criminal and former President Donald Trump since he announced he was running for President in 2015. And now here we are in 2023 on the fringe of another election season.
If you don't like Donald Trump and what he represents this Songs of Freedom Television episode is for you. It pulls no punches about how I feel. Perhaps you feel the same way. Take a look and see for yourself. Here is one of the songs in Show 4.
If you are thinking about voting for him again, I ask that you watch this show and then decide what you will do. In 2024 vote as if your democracy depends upon it. It does.
Here is Show 4: https://vimeo.com/858180059?share=copy
I hope you get to enjoy the end of the summer and the new season in front of us. Another trip around the sun for me means another chance to spend time with you, my friends, my family, and my pursuits, doing things I enjoy and making a difference along the way the best I know how.
Wishing you the best of times, health, and luck in this new season.
~ Joel Landy, Songs of Freedom Television ~
Here again are the episodes for this month.
Stay tuned, and keep singing!
Saturday, September / 2, 9, 16, 23, 30
Thursday, September / 7, 14, 21, 28
Monday and Wednesday:
September / 4 and 6, 11 and 13, 18 and 20, 25 and 27
Monday, September / 4, 11, 18, 25
"Summertime and the Music is Breezy . . ."
JULY 2023 Showcasing Make Music New York at the Red Pipes Cafe in Forest Hills
On June 21st people around the world make music in the streets where they live.
Make Music New York is a NYC tradition that traces its history back to Paris, France, and “Fête de la Musique,” a national musical holiday inaugurated there in 1982. It is a time when buskers take to the streets and there is free music throughout the entire city. New York City adopted the idea 17 years ago and it has become an anticipated celebration of music, spirit, and the summer solstice ever since.
The festival has grown into an international phenomenon, celebrated on the same day in more than 750 cities in 120 countries, including Germany, Italy, Greece, Russia, Lebanon, Ivory Coast, Australia, Peru, Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico, Canada, and Japan.
Songs of Freedom Television has been part of every MMNY in this town. In recent years SOF has been hosting an event at Red Pipes Cafe in Forest Hills, NY.
Episodes this month bring you what happened on the streets of Forest Hills, Queens, at Red Pipes Cafe on Solstice Day, June 21st, 2023.
Thank you to Ofer and the crew at Red Pipes for their generosity making everyone feel welcome at the cafe and providing a space for community and entertainment. The sweet vibe of community made the evening fun and special this year, as it has in the past.
Join us next year in Queens on Austin Street when we gather again on Solstice Day to share an evening of music and fun!
Stay tuned, and keep singing!
~ joel landy, songs of freedom television ~
Here are the episodes that will play this month. Tune in and sing along!
Episode 1 https://youtu.be/xS4aoGbDGLQ
Episode 2 https://youtu.be/qwePMk2200Q
Episode 3 https://youtu.be/JJTN1yjc7oE
Episode 4 https://youtu.be/aAZ7MTf0TEk
JUNE 2023 a time for music, festivals and fun
June is my favorite month. As a teacher you can guess why. School ends in June.
The weather is great in New York City. The promise of summer is upon us – and we haven’t ruined it yet!
AND if you are a musician, music and music festivals are everywhere!
This month Songs of Freedom Television celebrates the coming of summer and festivals that make the month of June so special. Among these festivals are the annual Porch Stomp on New York’s Governors Island and the Make Music New York city-wide extravaganza that takes place on June 21st every year.
First, the Porch Stomp. This annual event takes place all day this year on Saturday, June 17th. Governors Island has an interesting history. It sits off the southern tip of Manhattan in New York Harbor near the spec of land where the Statue of Liberty stands. It is called Governors Island because that is where New York’s governor lived a long time ago. Later it served as a home for retired sailors. Most recently it is a playground for grownups and children far away from the bustle of the city, but is only a ferry ride away. The yearly Porch Stomp brings music of all kinds to the many alfresco performance spaces there on this day. I have been privileged to play and host acoustic sessions there as part of the People’s Voice Café “stage” – which is really a lawn comfortably nestled between shade trees.
The first of two SOF shows this month feature two of the sessions I participated in and recorded from [year]. Featured artists you will see include, Bev Grant, Hudson Valley Sally, Joshua Garcia, and yours truly.
I look forward to June 17th for more fun with my friends as I host the PVC’s 3 pm to 4 pm hour this year. The stage becomes active at noon with a host of talented performers. See this link for more information about Porch Stomp 2023. Here is a link about the Peoples' Voice Cafe.
And here are the first two episodes of June.
The second two shows in June feature and celebrate Make Music New York, a tradition that has been embraced by my home town where buskers and other musicians take to the streets and all kinds of performance spaces across the city on the day of the Summer Solstice, June 21st. I have been hosting MMNY events at Red Pipes Café (formerly Red Pipe) in Forest Hills for the past few years and am proud to say that I have participated as a host and as a performer in this all day event since it came to my city from France 17 years ago.
We play outside the café on Austin Street, in the heart of Forest Hills, when weather permits. It is always a fun time and a genuine NYC street scene, with generous doses of serendipity and a supporting strolling cast of hundreds – many of whom are amused and surprised to be serenaded as they pass by.
Join us this year on June 21st from 6:30 to 9:30. Click this link for the Facebook Event page and directions to Red Pipes on Austin Street.
As for the episodes, here are two from different years. Both provide New Yawk flayva and a half hour of good music. You got no problem wid dat. Enjoy!
Keep on singing!
~ joel landy, songs of freedom television ~
The Episodes for the Month of June
MAY 2023 "MAY We Remember"
This month we share the lives and music of four souls who have transcended this worldly plane in their cosmic journey. I was honored to call all of them my friends.
Toby Fagenson, Jessica Feinbloom, Ray Korona, and Eric Levine all appeared on Songs of Freedom TV.
The first of the month's shows features Toby Fagenson. He was an excellent musician and a top notch parody writer. I have fond memories of staying up late into the night at a Pinewoods folk society weekend with him swapping funny songs and laughing a lot. That's what it was like when I spent time with Toby. Clever times and fun. Toby was also able to deliver serious performances of songs addressing weighty human issues. He is missed. You will see a bit of both on the show you will see. It is from 2002 when he visited the Songs of Freedom Television stage.
Jessica Feinbloom is remembered in this month's second show.
The video you will see is from a memorial concert produced by Steve Suffet in 2017, "A Song for Jessica." The video features stories about Jessica and songs she sang with the evening's guest artists. They include Toby Fagenson, Jane Babits, Frank Werner, Allison Kelly, Anne Price, Gina Tlamsa, Steve Suffet, and Joel Landy. Special memories were also provided by Jessica's brother. Tune in for heartfelt memories and some fine music.
Ray Korona was a lot of things to a lot of people. All of them good. Ray was a recording artist and producer, an effective organizer and activist, and a singer/songwriter. He was all of these things, but I choose to remember Ray as a caring friend and as an individual who promoted the talents, skills and confidence of those he met and worked with. I was one of those people. The show you will see featured this month is of Ray and his band back in 1997. It shows you what Ray was all about. I always enjoyed watching him talk about what is important in the world. Accessible and intelligent conversation intended to empower and unite people. That's who he was. In coming weeks I will create Songs of Freedom TV episodes of the Ray Korona tribute concert that took place at the Peoples' Voice Cafe in New York City in April of this year. Stayed tuned!
Eric Levine was more than a musical colleague and a friend. He was a brother of mine. We lost Eric in 2008. He left a legacy of memories including victories fighting for disability rights, deep friendships, and lots of really good songs . . . and fun times. Eric was as relentless as he was unpretentious. What you saw was what you got. Some of my favorite Songs of Freedom Television moments were of Eric and me, two chairs and two guitars, sitting in a bare Manhattan Neighborhood Network studio, swapping songs in front of a camera. No pretense. Nothing fancy. 100 percent Eric and what he had to say and sing about. Eric called himself the "Folk Doctor" and he was my folk doctor in the early days of Songs of Freedom TV. He was on frequently and helped me shape the direction and content of early shows. The show you will see is from 1996 and one of the first Songs of Freedom Television episodes. I hope you enjoy it.
And I hope you enjoy the month of May !
Bring on the Spring!
Bring on the Music!
And keep on singing!
~ joel landy, songs of freedom television ~
MARCH 2023 "Thursday Night Hoots in Kew Gardens"
During the early 1960s The Interlude Cafe in Kew Gardens, Queens, regularly hosted the voices and guitars of Phil Ochs, Dave Van Ronk, Al Kooper, Jose Feliciano, and other noteworthy musicians. On Thursday nights there was a "hootenanny", with local talent and others taking the stage and filling the space with music. The past fifty years brought numerous changes of ownership to that Interlude Café space, although today it remains a coffeehouse. In 2016 the space was Odradeks Coffee House. I was invited to produce Thursday Night HOOTS! once every month in the winter and spring, recalling the folk scene of decades past.
Tonight features performances from May of 2016. The May hoot was a terrific evening. Great players showed up and everyone in attendance had a great time. The music started before the show actually started when arriving musicians were tuning their instruments in different parts of the room. Suddenly a song broke out and the whole building was filled with music and the evening's first jam. One player who was having coffee ran back home and got his fiddle and joined the party. That was the kind of evening it was. It was magical time in this rekindled musical space. I recorded the event and created three Songs of Freedom episodes. I hope you enjoy them.
Thank you to Jake Block and his staff at Odradeks for making us feel so welcome. And thank you to Jake and the other performing artists for the wonderful evening.
The artists were Jake Block, Alan Alter, David Butler, Eli, Jerry Korobow, Joel Landy, Lulu Michaels, Marie Moskowitz, Gina Moffet, and Steve Suffet. Odradeks is gone, just as The Interlude Café is part of the musical legacy of Kew Gardens. But the music remains, and Songs of Freedom Television is proud and happy to bring it to you.
Keep on singing!
~ joel ~
February 2023 "Hot Times, Cold Times"
The annual Porch Stomp on Governors Island in New York Harbor takes place every June. It is a celebration of the season and sun, with lots of music of all kinds. It's a terrific event. For the past few years, the Peoples' Voice Cafe has had a stage (a stretch of lawn with trees) featuring an impressive variety of topical artists. Songs of Freedom TV has been there recording the goings on. I have also emceed and performed at this event. Many pleasant memories and memorable performances there.
So, it is the harsh weather reality in NYC that is February.
Let's warm things up with Porch Stomp videos and artistic talent!
Enjoy these four shows. They have also been scheduled to play in NYC at your local community access television stations. They will also be streaming online.
(Check above for the times and dates at the top of this page for that information.)
I joke that the reason that February has only 28 days is because PEOPLE DO NOT LIKE FEBRUARY!
Let's get on to spring already!!!
Until that happens, enjoy your summer Porch Stomp in the winter.
peace and music
~ joel ~
Episodes feature the following artists
January 2023 "Looking Back and Moving Forward"
Show One is a 1998 “Best Of” the first two years of Songs of Freedom. It features performances from Pat Humphries, Bev Grant, Howard Kaspin, Joel Landy, and Professor Louie. It also includes a sampler of faces and voices from the first two years of SOF TV. Lots to like in a show of Songs of Freedom memories. I hope you tune in.
Show Two is from 2000 and highlights the talent, music, stories and political attitude of David Liebman and Gil Skillman. Both gentlemen boldly and humorously define and represent the dignity of human struggle in the songs that they sing and the work that they do. Did I mention they are both economics professors? It was fun (and educational) sharing songs with them on the Songs of Freedom TV stage. We had a good time putting this half hour together. I did not know economics professors could be so much fun.
Not all the shows made in 2000 were fun though. Show Three was recorded the day after Election Day in 2000, amidst the chaos and confusion of the vote counting that gave us George W. Bush as President. The show remains a poignant reminder of what happened, my response to it, and videos of comfort girding us for what was about to happen, including another oil war and the abridging of human rights. It is worth watching again today, as similar dangers and signals of their approach are about us once more. Tune in and you will see what I mean.
Finally, Show Four was recorded in 2003 at the late and great 22-Below performance space in Manhattan. I headlined an evening of political cabaret, joined by the talents and music of Gina Tlamsa, Shawn Norton, and Kim Rich. It was election season and the Iraq War was on. Rudy Giuliani wanted to be mayor again and George Bush “had the whole world in his hands.” There was a lot to say and be sung. And so it was. Topical times satirically stated, and pointedly political. Go back in time twenty years and tune in to 2003, raise your banners, and sing along!
from the Songs of Freedom Television Archives
Show 1: The Best of Songs of Freedom Television, Volume #1
Featuring Pat Humphries, Bev Grant, Howard Kaspin, Joel Landy, and Professor Louie
Show 2: "For What It's Worth"
Featuring David Laibman and Gil Skillman
Show 3: The Great Election Day 2000 Hangover
What happened 23 years ago. Lessons learned and warnings for today.
Show 4: "I Did It Their Way!" / Live from the 22-Below Cabaret in NYC (2003)
An evening of topical entertainment featuring Joel Landy, Gina Tlamsa, Shawn Norton, and Kim Rich
Here is a plaque for an award the Alliance for Community Media bestowed upon Songs of Freedom Television in 1997. This was for the work done during our first year on TV.
The Alliance for Community Media is a trade group and an organization comprised of public access television professionals. They lobby in Washington DC for your right to create video and have it seen and have it paid for by the commercial corporate entities in your town entering your home and your mind every day. Always an uphill battle. They are also the people who work in access centers. Members also include community access producers like myself. I was honored to receive an award, more so to have the award represent the category of Empowerment, a word that means a lot to me.
I stopped entering the annual competitions a number of years ago, not because I have an attitude about them or because I have “been there and done that.” It is just not where my energy lives now. I seek to do the good work and fight the good fight because it is the right thing to do. I seek to acknowledge others who travel the same road and inspire with creativity and vision. I seek and do that while daring to express myself and have fun along the way.
I am glad you are here to share the journey with me.
Don't forget to laugh as you change the world.
~ Joel ~
Do you know about the Peoples' Voice Café?
It is New York City's premiere progressive venue.
Proof of vaccination is required for audiences, staff and artists.
Your safety is important to us.
The 2021-2022 season continues on Saturday nights, at
Judson Memorial Church Assembly Hall at 239 Thompson Street
in the heart of New York City's historic Greenwich Village.
For details and more information about the Peoples' Voice Café, including the season schedule and how you can become a volunteer, go to:
www.peoplesvoicecafe.org and the PVC Facebook page at: www.facebook.com/peoplesvoicecafe/