Leonard De Paur

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This episode is from the WNYC archives. It may contain language which is no longer politically or socially appropriate.

Leonard Etienne De Paur (November 18, 1914 - November 7, 1998) was an African-American composer, choral director, and arts administrator.

De Paur discusses his career as an infantry musician and plays musical selections (not included):

Explains the background behind the Story of Roger Young.

The first Army glee club. Introduces "The Song of the French Partisan" and "I've Got Six Pence."

After returning from Europe, visited with an executive at Columbia Records, then recorded a collection of religious music, "The Choral Concert: A Group of Songs of Faith."

Explanation of his interest in Latin American folk music. Introduces a song called "La llorona" (?) with a story about being in El Paso, Tex., on election night, 1932, where he heard the Mexican balladeers.

Introduces a song from Brazil, "Coco di Notte."

A song from Trinidad, "The Mourning Song," a sad calypso.

Introduces "The Ugly Woman."

Explanation of becoming the conductor of the Hall Johnson choir. Segues in to talking about his own choral group, which began before the war. Introduces "Honor, Honor Unto the Dying Lamb."

Discussion of African-American spirituals, particularly those about holidays. Introduces "Take My Mother Home," "Great God Almighty," "Water Boy," "Listen to the Lambs," and "Sweet Little Jesus Boy."

Preview of a new album so new he doesn't know the title or song order.

Audio courtesy of the NYC Municipal Archives WNYC Collection

WNYC archives id: 72679
Municipal archives id: LT3887