December 15, 2010
Host: Ted Simons
- “Sound Tracks: Music Without Borders” is a film that explores the world through music. The program’s host, Marco Werman, discusses the pilot that premiered on PBS in January and efforts to make “Sound Tracks” an ongoing series.
Category: The Arts
- Marco Werman - host, “Sound Tracks - Music Without Borders”
Ted Simons: Marco, thank you so much for joining us on "Horizon."
Marco Werman: Good to be here.
Ted Simons: "sound tracks" what is this program designed to do?
Marco Werman: It's designed to take people around the world, really. And introduce them to different cultures, and different places, and find out really what's going on in those places. But we don't want to do it as foreign correspondents with flak jackets. We're looking at something else. We're looking at the music. And the people who make that music. Sometimes it will be profiles of those artists, sometimes it will just be about societal pressures, political pressures that come to bear on the music itself. And why the music sounds the way it does.
Ted Simons: Talk about some of the places you've gone, some of the things you've seen and heard.
Marco Werman: Not for this show and for this show, Lagos Nigeria for soundtracks, elsewhere, Cuba, I lived in west Africa for about five years in Togo, Burkina Faso, a number of countries, in Europe, Brazil, I've been to once, Chile once, Mexico several times, I've never been to the far east, that's a goal at some point. Yeah, I'm kind of an Africanist, I lived there for a while, and I love what it has to offer musically. But also I'm fascinated by the political narratives.
Ted Simons: I want to get to the politics there in a second. But when you go to these places, we can stick with Nigeria, because it's part of the pilot episode, these artists that are tremendous artists that have had quite a lot of success here in America, but do you -- when you go in, do you expect something and wind up seeing, hearing, experiencing something else?
Marco Werman: You know, whenever -- I've been practicing journalism for a long time. I've been a reporter, and I always try to keep my mind open when I go into a place. I think there's a certain tendency to imagine things and have a certain expectation about a place, and then you get there and often times those expectations are kind of blown apart. So I always try and keep my mind open. But Lagos is a good example, because a lot of people were telling me, you really shunted go there. It's pretty dangerous. It may be the most dangerous city in the world. And that's probably true. It may be one of the most dangerous cities in the world, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't go there.
Marco Werman: 16 million people vying for space in one of the world's fastest growing cities.
Marco Werman: We went, I found it to be an incredibly chaotic place. The traffic alone made me glad that I was leaving the very day I left. But you see a grit and a desire to move on with life and not get stuck in the poverty and the violence and the corruption, and the constant blackouts. There's no electricity there to speak of. It's incredible.
Ted Simons: How is that -- how does the music reflect that particular lifestyle? ¶¶
Marco Werman: If you go back to Femi Kuti who died in 1997-- his songs were about daily life in Nigeria, his songs were about the political corruption. He had a song very famous song "suffering and smiling." There’s a pigeon English in Nigeria that came out that way. ¶¶ It's about the people, and we feature it in the story. It's about the people who have to cram into these buses every day, sometimes two, three-hour commute, and sweating, yet they're smiling. They're suffering, they're really not happy with this existence, but they're smiling anyway. And it's just the determination and the drive it takes to kind of go to another day. It's really admirable.
Ted Simons: It's interesting how the songs there in Africa, that you chronicle in your program, very political, very politically oriented, a lot of change talk there. And then we go to Russia, where your program profiles what has to be called propaganda music for Vladimir Putin. Talk to us about that.
Marco Werman: Well, Vladimir Putin I think discovered early on that music was a powerful tool. ¶¶ He didn't even have to write the songs. There were people so in love with him, namely these young female singers we feature in "a man like Putin" which is the name of the song translated, who really wanted to praise him. And the producer who kind of cooked up this whole kind of scheme, it's surreal. You can't believe you're watching this. And I think one thing that I find most fascinating is that if you don't pay attention to the lyrics, it sounds like another pop song you might hear. ¶¶ I mean, not to like diss Lady Gaga-- it could be Lady Gaga up there singing about Putin, if you just take the lyrics out.
Ted Simons: Singing about Putin because he's a guy who doesn't drink, doesn't get drunk and doesn't drink. That seems to be a recurring theme there in the Russian pop universe.
Marco Werman: You can't escape it.
Ted Simons: And then we have in your program we have a singer from Portugal. ¶¶ The words for those of us who aren't in that part of the world, can't mean much. But the music means much. Talk to us about society's cultures, where the lyrics are important, and where maybe not necessarily as important.
Marco Werman: Well, having lived in Africa, I think that's the entire continent has a real kind of connection with rhythm. It's percussion, it's drums, even the bele kind of xylophone, its very percussive. That's not to say they don't pay attention to lyrics. Lyrics are very important in the story shows that you write songs and artists musicians write songs based on what they see around them. If you go to Portugal, Mariza is this incredible Fado singer. ¶¶ Fado is a style of music that goes back to the Portuguese empire, when the sailors would leave on their boats to go out to sea to conquer these new unknown lands, and their loved ones would stand on the docks and say goodbye, and knowing they would never see them again. Very possibly. And that longing, that mournfulness, you can hear that in the music. ¶¶ You know these songs, maybe you might not understand the words in Portugese, but you know the emotion. You can identify the emotion in these songs. So I personally think there's some cultures that are more connected to lyrics and others that are not. Here in the United States I think people kind of fall into two categories. Those who pay attention to the words and those who are really more interested in the beat.
Ted Simons: You mentioned the United States, let's talk about American music. The impact of American music around the world. We tend to think that Michael Jackson helped bring down the Soviet empire and these sorts of things, when you're out there, when you're in Chile, when you're in Kazakhstan, do people know about American music? And can you hear that influence in their own music?
Marco Werman: Absolutely. First of all, the hip hop nation is now the hip hop planet. Everywhere you go you can go to Bhutan, you many find a local iteration of hip hop. If you speak with the musicians in west Africa, in Senegal, for example, used to endure Wasis Diop -- these are people who grew up listening to James Brown, Stevie Wonder, the Rolling Stones. They cite them as influences. Sometimes you can hear that in their music, but the fact is that there are certain elements, little musical devices even that they folded into their music. And that's just the planet we're living in today. And that's why I think this interconnectedness between other musics and the United States, own musics, is just such a compelling way of telling stories.
Ted Simons: Do you find there are completists, there are absolutists who worry the world is – you worry about America becoming so cold you can't go to the hollers in West Virginia now and still hear the same kind of music you might have 50 years ago. Is there a concern on your part that you can't go to Africa, you can't go to South America, and maybe find the pure music, because they are listening to a lot of American music down there?
Marco Werman: You know, I'm not so sure that one kind of absorbs the other and cancels it out. They're always going to be kind of traditional pockets, and you can go to any village in Mali today and find people who are playing music that they were playing 500 years ago. Same instruments, and they probably have heard some American music, some Anglo-American pop, but it's not their concern. They're sticking with the old traditional stuff. So it's kind of hard to say, it's hard to imagine a world where nobody is untouched by western influence. But it's still happening.
Ted Simons: Yeah. Last question, the pilots, done deal, and it's -- we got that going here. How about further shows it’s a difficult environment right now as far as getting money for these things. What are you seeing out there?
Marco Werman: Not much. Not much at all. But we're -- we've got grant proposals in, we've been short listed with a group of 16 for a CPB grant, which will help if we get it produce another handful of shows. We're confident about that. And we just got to keep looking for money. It may not be a series at the end of the day. Maybe it will be a series of one or two programs per year. I hope it's more than that, but we can't tell, and we also don't know whether it's going to be essentially an exclusively for television. Maybe handheld devices. We don't even know where people are going to be watching our next bit of television.
Ted Simons: Indeed. Why is the MiM screening this?
Marco Werman: The Mim is screening this because I think A, it's about music, and it's another approach to music. It's another prism to look at the world through music. But I think essentially the mission of the MiM and "Sound Tracks: Music Without Borders" is the same. Trying to not -- not to kind of backpedal too much, but I think after 9-11 the world got really spooky for a lot of Americans. And I don't think the answer is to build up walls to shut rest of the world off. I think the task now is to take the walls down. And kind of make people feel comfortable about the planet that we live in. I think the MiM and "sound tracks" are both trying to do that.
Ted Simons: Good for the musical instrument museum as well and good luck on your future endeavors.
Marco Werman: Thank you very much.
Ted Simons: This is great stuff. I hope you all the success.
- Longtime APS lobbyist Marty Shultz is retiring after 32 years. He’s been an influential player in Arizona’s policy arena for more than three decades. We’ll talk with Shultz about some of his greatest successes and most disappointing failures during his career as a business and community leader.
Ted Simons: Good evening, and well come to "Horizon." I'm Ted Simons. After 32 years with Pinnacle West Capital Corporation, the parent company of APS, Marty Schultz is retiring at the end of the year. Schultz is the company's vice-president of government affairs, chief lobbyist at the state capitol. Through the years he's had a hand in shaping state and local policies on energy, education, taxation, transportation, and much more. The Palo Verde nuclear power plant, ASU's downtown Phoenix campus, metro light rail, they're all things that Marty Schultz helped create. Here now to talk about his accomplishments and future plans is oddly enough, Marty Schultz. Good to see you again.
Marty Schultz: Ted, good to see you.
Ted Simons: Lets get to some basics here, why are you retiring?
Marty Schultz: Because I became 66 and decided it was time, I've been 32 years with the company, and my original plan was to retire and Linda and I would go off cruising and do a few things like that. But I would still become involved with and stay involved with my civic activities.
Ted Simons: OK. Conversely, why did you stay at APS so long? 32 years, that's a good healthy run.
Marty Schultz: Five CEOs, I look at it like that. That is a healthy run. And I think it surprised me, probably surprised some of my colleagues as well. I’ll tell you what, it's a great company. It was when I came in in 1979, even though the big challenge then was from a flat piece of land out west to literally build what turned out to be the last nuclear power plant ever built in America.
Ted Simons: I want to talk more about those accomplishments and things, but as far as being a lobbyist for APS, people hear that and some folks say oh, lobbyist, others aren't sure what a lobbyist for APS does. What did you do?
Marty Schultz: Some people say I talked a lot. The truth is that Arizona Public Service Company, and Pinnacle West, they're complicated companies. We've got energy issues that impact the company, and the profitability, we have customer related issues, we have transmission list issues, land use, taxation, environmental, I could go on and on. So helping shape policy so that it's good for Arizona and good for Arizona public Service company is really what I've done for all of these years. And I really mean it. I'm proud of it because whether lobbyists with bad connotations, our value system is such that we went to the lawmakers, went to the governors, and gave it our best shot and our best argument to advocate for a position.
Ted Simons: Let's talk about some of these accomplishments. Light rail, downtown campus for ASU, helping get Palo Verde built, helping raising money for TGN, expansion of the Phoenix Convention Center, Human Services campus, that project down there that's gone very well, this is a lot of stuff going on. Best memories, what are you most proud of?
Marty Schultz: All those things you mentioned, but if I had to prioritize them, interestingly enough, being a corporate type, I really am proud of the Human Service campus. That's from a civic standpoint. Because that we raised $29 million and put together what has turned out to be a world class approach to handling people who are less fortunate. And people from all over the country and the world come to see, how do you handle homeless, seriously mentally ill, drug addiction, people who are really down on their luck, and move them from the homeless situation to sustainability, and to housing? And I'm very proud of that. From a company standpoint, I think that the Palo Verde nuclear power plant is such a big deal to our company, and to the energy future of Arizona, and has been a mainstay. Because it's a successful plant, 4,000 megawatts, takes care of the power needs in large measure of part of California, all of APS, about 30 percent of our load, salt river project and utilities in Texas and New Mexico.
Ted Simons: Lots of accomplishments, obviously, but I know there are things you didn't quite get done. Anything stick in your craw?
Marty Schultz: You mean celebrated failures? Yeah there are a couple of things. Frankly, I'd like my friends at the Arizona legislature and the governor to take heed. I was appointed by then president Ken Bennett, now secretary of state and then governor Janet Napolitano, to be the chairman of the school district redistricting commission. Because in Arizona, we have 227 school districts, which in my mind, is nuts. It grew up over the history of Arizona, that made sense, but now to try to manage the system with 227 superintendents, school boards, and I could go on and on, that duplication of effort is costly, it actually is one of the reasons that we don't spend as much per pupil, that we should in Arizona. But that got thrown out by the courts after half of the unification plans passed. So I would personally and hope others would be interested in going at that again.
Ted Simons: Many are concerned, and we've actually talked about this on and off camera, many are concerned with the direction of the state, with some perceive a lack of leadership, especially in comparison with the past as far as folks pushing the state forward and getting it to its full potential. Talk about that. Do you see that as well, a problem there?
Marty Schultz: I see it as a problem, but I also see it as an opportunity. And I'm usually one of these guys that's glass half full, not empty. But I will say this, that the Arizona legislature, but then Congress has gone more conservative to the right, so to speak, and that is probably the biggest challenge, because there are so many issues, and if we stay on some litmus test issues like immigration, and we don't talk about the real Arizona, or we don't get to balancing a budget, dealing with people who are in need of health care, the education investment in Arizona is extremely important. And Frankly, is the key to the future economy. These issues have to be tackled, so that while the conservatives are -- have taken over, they best have a broad-based agenda for Arizona, and it's one that will feature economic development and economic recovery.
Ted Simons: When you look at Arizona, do you see -- and you look in the past at the movers and shakers. Bygone eras, what were they doing that may not be done right now? What changed? What's different?
Marty Schultz: Interestingly enough, I was thinking about that in this last couple weeks. One of the movers would be Burt Barr, who is a famous majority leader, 21 years in the legislature. But he teamed up, he was a Republican and he ran for governor at one point and lost. He teamed up with Bruce Babbitt, with Alfredo Gutierrez. So they combined their talents. They were not in agreement philosophically or politically, but they knew they needed to get things done. And I would hope that would be the case for this legislature in going forward. Whether a conservative or a moderate, or a more liberal agenda evolves, what's really important is that results occur. And the results are going to occur I think in the most balanced way when all the elected officials, both on the right and the left, and the governor, get together in some kind of compromise. They're doing it in Congress today, as surprising as that is, Arizona can also do the same.
Ted Simons: Speaking of compromises, sounds like your career has hit kind of a compromise as well you're supposed to be retiring, but you're not really retiring. What's going on here?
Marty Schultz: I think I'm failing retirement. What happened is that I was fully intending to retire and focus on the civic activities, but I was recruited by some folks out of Denver a law firm that is very strong in Washington, DC, they both are a lawmaker and a -- law firm and lobby firm, Brownstein Hyatt, Farber and Shrek, they're bicoastal, they've got 12 offices around the country with heavy involvement in California, and on the West Coast. And they made my wife and I an offer we couldn't refuse. It isn't about the money. It's about the fact that I could continue to be involved with civic activities, and continue to try to build Arizona, at the same time repace myself a little bit, because I'm one of those folks that does work the 10 to 12-hour days, because that's what I'm made of, and I'm going to try to repace myself and hopefully be able to accomplish that objective.
Ted Simons: Sour going to stay, correct me if I'm wrong, staying with the Phoenix community alliance, the bioscience road map as well, and the discovery triangle.
Marty Schultz: That is correct.
Ted Simons: You're still going to be involved in those things.
Marty Schultz: I'm going to chair those three activities.
Ted Simons: When I go around my neighborhood, I look at homes, and I look at things, and I remember what was there, and who moved there, do you ever drive around Phoenix or just make your way around the town and just go, yeah, I had something to do with that, yeah I know what’s going on, I know where that body is buried, you've been here a long time. In terms of movers and shakers, you've moved a lot and shaken up a lot.
Marty Schultz: Ted, you know, when I have occasion to fly back into Phoenix from a trip to squeeze grandchildren, let's say, in California, I sort of look out at the city, and no kidding, I look at where the transmission lines are, I look at where the Palo Verde plant is, where our other power plants are, I can see some of our folks who are sort of out there in a storm putting back poles that have been knocked down by God and the wind. Yeah, I think that I see that in that way. But when I was chief of staff to three Phoenix mayors and knew a lot about police and fire, I would literally see from afar the police and the fire stations and their activities. So you bet, I'm proud of the fact that we've built a great community, and we've got a lot more to do.
Ted Simons: Last question, you've been here, you kind of were raised here, weren't you? Came here as a young kid.
Marty Schultz: 1953.
Ted Simons: Central high, am I correct?
Marty Schultz: Central High bobcats.
Ted Simons: Arizona State University.
Marty Schultz: Go Devils.
Ted Simons: Alright. When you were a bobcat and a devil, did you think that Phoenix and the valley would wind up where we are now? Is this what you envisioned when you were a young man?
Marty Schultz: One may not believe this, but the answer is yes. For some reason, and I can't explain it, whether it was my brother, my family, friends that I made, including an early speaker, Tim Barrow, I came in contact with some people who had visions, and they taught me that this place can have vision. And so you bet, I picked up on that, I wanted -- I want to mention Keith TURLEY, my first CEO, to Bill Post and Dawn Brandt, who is the head of APS. These people have the vision, they have the sense of leadership, and their business is about building Arizona and building community, caring community, I trust, and I'm very interested in continuing that work.
Ted Simons: Marty, good luck in retirement. Such as it is I'm sure we'll be seeing more of you, and congratulations on quite a career.
Marty Schultz: Ted, thank you very much.