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Voices of Florida

Voices of Florida presents eight half-hour radio portraits of Florida cultural and folk communities. More than 130 Floridians of all ages from the Everglades to the Panhandle share their stories, challenges, triumphs, and cultural expressions. Florida is one of the nation's most culturally diverse states and Voices of Florida brings that diversity to you.

Cattle Ranching

ranching.jpgCattle ranching in what is now the United States began in Florida in the 1500s. Today Florida is one of the top beef cattle producers in the eastern U.S. Ride the swampy range with working cowmen, savor a pot of tasty swamp cabbage cooking at an Okeechobee school banquet, visit with craftsmen who skillfully fashion saddles, spurs, branding irons and Cracker cow whips, hear the sing-song patter of auctioneers, hang on for a wild ride at a benefit rodeo, and learn why a good cow dog is worth several men.
Listen to Cattle Ranching episode (30 mins)

Wooden Boats

boats.jpgWith more coastline than any other mainland state, thousands of acres of wetlands and lakes, and mile upon mile of rivers and creeks, Florida enjoys a rich history of boating. Hear the men and women who make and use dugout canoes, Everglades skiffs, Lake Okeechobee catfish trotline boats, Apalachicola Bay oyster skiffs, Panhandle bateaux, and Gulf of Mexico shrimp boats. A retired alligator hunter grunts for gators and sings acapella about hard times in the Everglades; we go on board with men who do the back breaking work of harvesting oysters from the bottom of the bay with giant tongs-and lots more.
Listen to Wooden Boats episode (30 mins)

South Florida Cuban Community

cuban.jpgPeople of Cuban heritage have transformed south Florida, both physically and culturally. They have blended elements of Cuban and American culture to create a unique Cuban-American environment and played a key role in making Miami one of the major cities of Latin America. Visit artists, musicians, tropical fruit growers, coffee producers, cigar makers, domino players, then join celebrants at the feast of San Lázaro-and savor the sounds of Cuban Florida.
Listen to South Florida Cuban Community episode (30 mins)

South Florida Haitian Community

haitian.jpgHaitian-Americans constitute a large and significant community in South Florida that is sometimes unfamiliar to and misunderstood by outsiders. Visit community members who help us explore their vibrant Haitian culture and teach us about their challenges, successes, and experiences integrating into American society. More than a dozen Haitian-Americans including writers, visual artists, shop owners, artisans, a baker, a priest, and school teachers weave a colorful tapestry of sound and story.
Listen to South Florida Haitian Community episode (30 mins)

Southeast Asian Communities in Central Florida

asian.jpgSizeable and rapidly growing Southeast Asian communities have been established in Central Florida. Visit a Laotian New Year festival in St. Petersburg, hear heartfelt accounts of lives torn by the horrors of war, experience the sounds of Orlando's bustling Vietnamese business district, and marvel at the Thai Buddhist temple just off the Kissimmee tourist route. Meet Floridians of Southeast Asian descent who share their rich cultural expressions and talk about some the challenges they face in their new Florida home.
Listen to Southeast Asian Communities in Central FL episode (30 mins)

Tarpon Springs Area Greek Community

tarpon.jpgOne hundred years ago daring men came to Tarpon Springs from Greece to dive for the world's finest sponges in the Gulf of Mexico. Today, Greek culture and events are firmly woven into the fabric of life for both Greeks and non-Greeks. Experience aspects of Greek culture not found on the tourist beat when we visit with a Karagiosis shadow puppeteer, a diving helmet maker, artists who decorate Orthodox churches with thousands of square feet of icon paintings, a musician who makes his own lyras.
Listen to Tarpon Springs Area Greek Community episode (30 mins)

Sacred Steel

sacred.jpgMention "steel guitar" and most people think of the plaintive sound of the instrument heard in country and western music. Florida is rich in this unique African-American musical form: the passionate steel guitar tradition practiced within House of God churches. Known as "sacred steel," the compelling music has been heralded as a major roots music discovery. Meet the men and women who play the soulful music in Florida churches and on concert stages worldwide.
Listen to Sacred Steel episode (30 mins)


technofolk.jpgExplore the merging of past and future with stories of Floridians who use the latest technology in their fascinating expressions of folk culture. Lace makers use software to create delicate designs, a Thai artist fashions hurricane-proof sculptures for a Buddhist temple, swamp buggies blast around a Naples racetrack, cow dogs and sponge diving helmets are sold over the Internet, an apocalyptic painter creates three-dimensional illusions with the help of holographic glasses, a fiddler uses computer software to learn old-time fiddle tunes by ear, and a gospel musician uses digital electronics to make his guitar sound like an organ.
Listen to Technofolk episode (30 mins)