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Italian Pop Star Takes on U.S. Music Market

Carmen Consoli's pop music combines Sicilian sounds with political commentary -- making her a top-seller in Italy. Her CD, Eva Contro Eva, which debuted at No. 1 on Italian charts, has now been released in the U.S.

The last Italian pop song to have any considerable U.S. success was Domenico Modugno's "Volare," released almost 50 years ago. Consoli has just wrapped up a short U.S. tour, including a concert at the Kennedy Center.

It seems unlikely that Consoli's songs will ever rival the popularity of "Volare." But Consoli has something to offer not heard in that romantic ballad -- her passion for politics.

"We know only too well that using our own minds is considered a threat by the establishment," says Consoli.

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Longtime listeners recognize Jacki Lyden's voice from her frequent work as a substitute host on NPR. As a journalist who has been with NPR since 1979, Lyden regards herself first and foremost as a storyteller and looks for the distinctive human voice in a huge range of national and international stories.