For the most part, I’m taking an Easter weekend break from the newsletter, but I do have a few recommendations – mostly for listening – this weekend.
(If you’re looking for more, now might be a good time to catch up on the past three weeks’ issues. You can read or subscribe here.)
These listening recommendations focus on a few recordings worthy of your time on Easter weekend.
(1) Shawn Okpebholo, Steal Away
“Wade in the Water” is probably my favorite track on this collection of African American spirituals reimagined by my friend and Wheaton College colleague Shawn Okpebholo, but I don’t make it through an Easter weekend without listening to this version of “Were You There?”
First read this NPR piece from 2010, covering the release of the second of these two collaborations. Then give both of them a listen.
(3) Wynton Marsalis, The Abysinnian Mass
Just two days ago was the 75th anniversary of Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s execution. He was hung by the Nazi regime at Flossenburg concentration camp on April 9, 1945. Many know that Bonhoeffer spent time studying in New York City in 1930-1931. He worshiped weekly at Harlem’s Abyssinian Baptist Church, where he also taught Sunday School and worked with youth. Biographers credit Bonhoeffer’s time in Harlem and at Abyssinian with shaping some of his key insights about the gospel and Christian responsibility to society. It was in rereading a bit about Bonhoeffer’s experiences there that I was reminded of Wynton Marsalis’ Abyssinian Mass, commissioned for the occasion of the church’s 200th anniversary. It’s long, but it’s a recommended Easter Sunday listen.
Speaking of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, read Renate Wind’s Dietrich Bonhoeffer: A Spoke in the Wheel. Some of the longer Bonhoeffer biographies are very good, and I recommend most of them. But Wind’s is good, and I think it’s the shortest English-language Bonhoeffer bio out there.
Tagliatelle with Prosciutto and Butter is simple and outstanding. Know that they mean it when they say, “with butter.” To triple the recipe, I had to use eighteen tablespoons. But it was worth it.