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Waleed Hazbun, What Are You Listening To?

Waleed Hazbun.
Waleed Hazbun.

In the latest edition of the series "What Are You Listening To?" political science professor Waleed Hazbun of Baltimore dips into a collection of music that his wife calls "Soulful World Mix" -- sounds that cross genres and borders.

His first selection is "Bhindi Bhagee" by Joe Strummer and the Mescaleros. It's the story of a tourist in London looking for a quintessentially British food: mushy peas. The singer tells him that such a boring dish can't be found in the newly global London, but there's a world of international cuisines he can try, and he lists them by name. It's quite a different sound for those who know Strummer from his role in The Clash. Hazbun says the CD Global A Go Go reflects Strummer's international upbringing as the child of a British diplomat.

Number two on Hazbun's list is 16 Horsepower's version of the traditional Appalachian folk song "Wayfaring Stranger" from the album Secret South. Though the band draws many of its members from America and much of its sound from American roots music, Hazbun says he's more likely to hear 16 Horsepower in an internet cafe in Istanbul than on the radio in the United States.

Finally, Hazbun selects "Dance Mediterranea" by Simon Shaheen and Qantara from the album Blue Flame. Shaheen is a Palestinian-American virtuoso of the oud (a kind of Arab lute) and the violin. Qantara is an ensemble drawing on a range of styles: classical Middle Eastern and Arabic music, North African percussion, Indian music, western classical and jazz.

Hazbun says all three selections have themes of travel and diverse experiences of crossing boundaries.

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Jennifer Ludden
NPR National Correspondent Jennifer Ludden covers economic inequality, exploring systemic disparities in housing, food insecurity and wealth. She seeks to explain the growing gap between socio-economic groups, and government policies to try and change it.