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Black Sabbath drummer Bill Ward, Heather Rounds' "There," and toy-piano composer David Smooke

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Black Sabbath drummer Bill Ward remembers his years as a heavy metal trailblazer; Heather Rounds discusses her novel, “There”; and David Smooke plays a little piano

  There’s an old warning in the journalism world:  Don’t interview your idol.  And if you do, don’t let him know he’s your idol.  The Signal’s Aaron Henkin has broken both rules:  He shares the story of his encounter with Black Sabbath drummer Bill Ward.

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  Heather Rounds’ novel, There, follows a young American journalist working in the northern Kurdish zone of Iraq as the region slowly regains its footing after years of war and upheaval. Not structured like a traditional novel, "There" is more a series of stories, impressions, and memories laced together from snatches of conversations, chance encounters, and pages of notes and journal entries. The fragments lend a surreal quality to the story; the rules of time and space are suspended, as in dreams. Heather Rounds joins producer Lisa Morgan to talk about “There.” 

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Heather Rounds discusses her book, "There"
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David Smooke at his home, tickling the (mini) ivories

When you ask David Smooke what he plays, he smiles at you, and he says humbly, “I play a little piano.”  Smooke is Chair of the Music Theory Department at Peabody Conservatory, and his instrument of choice is something you might find in the toy aisle.  Producer Aaron Henkin paid a visit to Smooke’s home to hear him play ‘a little piano,’ and he brings us this profile.

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David Smooke plays a little piano.

Aaron creates and produces original radio programs and podcasts for WYPR. His current project is The Maryland Curiosity Bureau. Aaron's neighborhood documentary series, Out of the Blocks, earned the 2018 national Edward R Murrow Award. His past work includes the long-running weekly cultural program, The Signal, and the Smithsonian Folkways Recordings series, Tapestry of the Times. Aaron's stories have aired nationally on NPR's Morning Edition and All Things Considered.