by Steve Shapiro

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We are inundated every day with voices from a wide variety of sources. This album includes the voices that have made a deep impression on me and my life. I was inspired to compose music to underscore the voices of Frederick Douglass, Neville Chamberlain, Winston Churchill, FDR, Harry Truman, Martin Luther King, Jr, Maya Angelou, Barak Obama, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Steve Jobs, Donovan Livingston, Ali Abu Awaad and Michelle Obama.


released May 26, 2017



all rights reserved


Steve Shapiro Oakland, California

Steve Shapiro has composed music for hundreds of radio and TV commercials, documentary films, infomercials and other TV programs. He was the music director at Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, which produced hundreds of award-winning educational films and recordings. He has a BA in Music from Brown University and an MA in Music from the Manhattan School of Music. ... more

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Track Name: Frederick Douglass Speaks
On July 5, 1852, Frederick Douglass gave a speech at an event commemorating the signing of the Declaration of Independence, held at Rochester's Corinthian Hall.

“What, to the American slave, is your 4th of July?” It was biting oratory, in which the speaker told his audience, "This Fourth of July is yours, not mine. You may rejoice, I must mourn." And he asked them, "Do you mean, citizens, to mock me, by asking me to speak to-day?"

JAMES EARL JONES gives a magnificent performance.
Track Name: Voices of World War II
1938 NEVILLE CHAMBERLAIN after the Munich Conference
1939 WINSTON CHURCHILL declares war on Germany
1940 WINSTON CHURCHILL declares the Battle of Britain
1941 FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT declares war on Japan
1945 HARRY TRUMAN drops atomic bomb on Hiroshima
Track Name: I HAVE A DREAM
"I Have a Dream" is a speech delivered by American civil rights activist Martin Luther King Jr. during the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom on August 28, 1963. He called for an end to racism in the United States. This speech was the defining moment of the Civil Rights Movement. He described his dreams of freedom and equality arising from a land of slavery and hatred.

According to U.S. Representative John Lewis, who also spoke that day as the president of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, "Dr. King had the power, the ability, and the capacity to transform those steps on the Lincoln Memorial into a monumental area that will forever be recognized. By speaking the way he did, he educated, he inspired, he informed not just the people there, but people throughout America and unborn generations."
Track Name: SILENCE Is Betrayal
"In the End, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends." -Martin Luther King, Jr.

On April 4, 1967, exactly one year before his assassination, MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. delivered an address entitled “Beyond Vietnam -- A Time to Break Silence.” These words would profoundly influence the course of America’s involvement in the Vietnam War. He was taking a public stance against the war that would place him in opposition to his government in Washington. He had agonized over this decision. In “this dreadful conflict,” he admitted, there is always a danger of being “mesmerized by uncertainty,” but he would not let the uncertainty quiet his voice: “We must speak with all the humility that is appropriate to our limited vision, but we must speak.”

Now fifty years later we are in darker times and this speech still resonates. The military industrial intelligence complex, the national security state, the corporations and their media are all more entrenched. We find ourselves living inside a monster to which we have a parasitic relationship, a monster which progressively threatens the environment upon which life on our planet depends.
MAYA ANGELOU was an American poet, memoirist, and civil rights activist. She was respected as a spokesperson for black people and women. With the publication of "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings," Angelou publicly discussed aspects of her personal life. She made a deliberate attempt to challenge the common structure of the autobiography by critiquing, changing and expanding the genre. She was active in the Civil Rights Movement and worked with Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X.

And, she had a wonderful voice!

AND STILL I RISE was written by MAYA ANGELOU in 1978.
Track Name: On the Pulse of Morning
This poem was read by MAYA ANGELOU at Bill Clinton's inauguration in 1993, making her the first poet to make an inaugural recitation since Robert Frost at President John F. Kennedy's inauguration in 1961.
Track Name: Steve Jobs On Death
Steve Jobs delivered the Stanford Commencement address in 2005.
He was born in San Francisco to Syrian parents who put him up for adoption at birth. He was raised in the San Francisco Bay Area during the 1960s and once told a reporter that taking LSD was "one of the two or three most important things" he did in his life. He was diagnosed with a pancreatic neuroendocrine tumor in 2003 and died on October 5, 2011, of respiratory arrest related to the tumor.

He was a visionary and creative genius who led a mobile computer revolution.
Track Name: Barak Obama
BARAK OBAMA served as the 44th President of the United States from 2009 to 2017. He is the first African American to have served as president and has led his country with magnificent dignity. Obama's family history, upbringing, and Ivy League education differ markedly from those of African-American politicians who launched their careers in the 1960s through participation in the civil rights movement. Expressing puzzlement over questions about whether he is "black enough", Obama said "we're still locked in this notion that if you appeal to white folks then there must be something wrong."

His patience to wait out frenzied news cycles is something few presidents have had. Obama had the wisdom to realize that rushing to action can be worse than being criticized for inaction. He is probably responsible for avoiding all sorts of disasters that we never talk about -- precisely because he never rushed into them. I cannot say that about our current president.
Track Name: Michelle Obama
Michelle Obama spoke at the Democratic National Convention in 2012. As First Lady, she became a fashion icon, a role model for women, and an advocate for poverty awareness, nutrition, physical activity, and healthy eating. She conducts herself with humility. grace, and integrity.
Track Name: Obama at Notre Dame
BARAK OBAMA delivered the 2009 Commencement Address at Notre Dame. He urged the graduates to reject "the greed and irresponsibility that rippled out from Wall Street and Washington," contributing to the nation's economic troubles. He urged them, instead, to pursue a "bigger purpose" -- through service and a principled approach to their professions.
Track Name: Pity The Nation
Happy belated 98th Birthday to Lawrence Ferlinghetti!
Ten years ago, he was inspired to write this poem after Khalil Gibran's "Pity the Nation" about Pakistan.

“Pity the nation whose people are sheep,
and whose shepherds mislead them.
Pity the nation whose leaders are liars, whose sages are silenced,
and whose bigots haunt the airwaves.
Pity the nation that raises not its voice,
except to praise conquerors and acclaim the bully as hero
and aims to rule the world with force and by torture.
Pity the nation that knows no other language but its own
and no other culture but its own.
Pity the nation whose breath is money
and sleeps the sleep of the too well fed.
Pity the nation — oh, pity the people who allow their rights to erode
and their freedoms to be washed away.
My country, tears of thee, sweet land of liberty.”

-Lawrence Ferlinghetti, 2007
Track Name: Donovan Livingston
Donovan Livingston delivered the convocation speech in 2016 to the Harvard Graduate School of Education that went viral and received national acclaim. His spoken word address was at once a pointed examination of the American education system and an inspirational call for reform. A passionate speaker, Livingston encourages students, educators, and communities to realize their potential to change the shape of education, and to "lift off."
Track Name: Ali Abu Awaad
Ali Abu Awaad is a Palestinian activist and pacifist. He is the founder of Al Tariq (The Way), which teaches the principles of nonviolent resistance to Palestinian men, women, and children. Together with Rabbi Hanan Schlesinger, he formed "Roots", a group based in the West Bank to promote dialogue and trust between Israelis and Palestinians as a path to peace. I recorded Ali at my home in Oakland in 2016.
Track Name: Obama Farewell
BARAK OBAMA said farewell on January 10, 2017.
Part of his address served as a call for political engagement after a grueling election won by Donald Trump, who made undoing Obama’s achievements the centerpiece of his campaign.

The president made an appeal for the American people to embrace inclusiveness and to preserve his legacy before his successor is inaugurated on Jan. 20.