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When Musicians Become Politicians

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Thursday, August 12, 2010

Rapper Wyclef Jean recently announced he is running for president of Haiti. Yet musicians have frequently had trouble making the move into politics. Today, guest host Elliott Forrest takes a look how artists fare as politicians and leaders. Also: the clapping, snapping, stomping and throat-singing sounds of the Body Music Festival.

Tell us: What can an artist bring to a higher office? Leave a comment.

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Elliott Forrest

Beyond One Image Fits All

In announcing his candidacy for the presidency of Haiti in an interview with Time magazine, rapper Wyclef Jean mentioned Ronald Reagan and Vaclav Havel as precedents for artist-to-statesman career trajectories. Yet for every Sonny Bono, other musicians have historically had a hard time making the move into politics.

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The Enduring 'Capeman'

Paul Simon's Broadway musical, The Capeman, closed after 68 performances and lost $11 million. This weekend, the Public Theater will stage a concert version of the musical in Central Park.

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Making Music with their Bodies

Keith Terry, founder of the Slammin' All-Body Band, specializes in "body music," a genre built entirely on clapping, snapping, stomping, a cappella singing and other musical displays made solely from using the body.

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Holden

No Cover: French Art Pop Duo 'Holden'

While the French art pop duo Holden is well known in Europe and in South America (they're huge in Chile), Armelle Pioline's smokey vocals and Dominique D├ępret's electric strum could be heard at quaint, intimate venues on their last trip to New York City. Holden played six times during the ten days the group was in town, and one of them was at Williamsburg's Euro outpost Zebulon.

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Gig Alerts: Slammin All-Body Band

The groove-rooted a cappella and beatboxing ensemble perform at the International Body Music Festival and Lincoln Center tonight. Download their infectious track "Body Music 1."

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Ty Segall

Gig Alerts: Ty Segall

The prolific garage rocker plays Cake Shop tonight. Download his tripped-out stomper "Caesar."

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Jeff

Gig Alerts: Jeff "Tain" Watts Quartet

The star drummer of the jazz world begins a four-night stint with his quartet at the Jazz Standard this evening. Download his powerful track "Return of the Jitney Man."

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