Bobby McFerrin’s cultural heritage

The World

You may know him best as the voice behind the song, “Don’t Worry, Be Happy,” but Bobby McFerrin comes from a line of history-making artists. Robert McFerrin, Sr., was the first black man to sing at the Metropolitan Opera, and he sang the role of Porgy for Sidney Poitier in the the film version of “Porgy and Bess.” Bobby McFerrin will appear in a special tribute to his father on March 5th, 2009, in New York’s Schomberg Center. Bobby stopped by our studios to talk a bit about the legacy of his father, who has a connection to Takeaway host Celeste Headlee.

The first time Robert McFerrin, Sr., appeared on the New York City Opera stage, he was performing in an opera that Celeste’s grandfather, William Grant Still, scored. Celeste and Bobby talk about race and culture then and now, and how important family can be in shaping your career.

Listen to Bobby McFerrin’s song “Wailers” from his new album VOCAbuLarieS.

VOCAbuLarieS is out April 6th and available for preorder on Amazon.

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