Sonia is WMSE’s resident authority on the blues and blues history. She has written articles on the history of the blues and blues musicians for magazines and brings this knowledge to her weekly playlist. Sonia has also interviewed many of the greats on her show such as BB King, Les Paul, Jorma Kaukonen, Taj Mahal and on and on and on. This show proves time and time again to be a unique listening experience in the living history of the blues.
Get to Know Your WMSE DJ Profile:
How do you spend your days and nights when not hosting your radio show?
I spend most of my time in service to others. During the moments when I am not working, I listen to music, recorded and live, I read books about musicians, and I occasionally write about them. I also teach cultural studies courses on Blues music for the community through the UWM School of Continuing Education.
Do you remember what band, album or song took you from being a casual music listener to a passionate music lover? Is there a memory associated with that experience?
Music has always been a significant part of my life. My parents listen to classical music, and my dad has published philosophy books about music, so they were my first influence. The first album that I was especially moved by was guitarist Andres Segovia’s renditions of compositions by Johann Sebastian Bach. My parents got a Phillips record player when I was four, and I tried to play that album on my own, but I hadn’t yet gotten the hang of getting the needle in the groove, so I found myself trying to hide under a bed before I got to play it through. That was definitely the defining experience of becoming a passionate music lover. As a kid, I discovered the radio—first AM, and then album rock on FM radio. Also, my oldest brother belonged to the Columbia House Record Club, so I would play his albums when he wasn’t around. The first album that I bought was Jim Croce’s, Photographs and Memories because of “Time in a Bottle.” I played that song a lot. By the time I was a teenager, I was seeing live music at Summerfest, Lou Reed and The Kinks at the Oriental Theater and Jazz musicians like Sonny Stitt and Sun Ra at places like The Jazz Gallery. I also started to see blues musicians like Willie Dixon and Brownie McGhee at blues festivals once I got a little older. When I was in my early 20’s, I moved to Hawaii and got into Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar. After that, I started to travel a lot, so I exposed myself to a lot of different kinds of music from other parts of the world.
What band have you heard or discovered in the past six months that reminded you why you want to continue being a WMSE DJ?
One of the ways in which I have been blessed to have a show on WMSE is to learn about bands and share my discoveries with the listeners. Learning about the local band Juniper Tar was one of many reminders about how much I enjoy supporting the local music scene through my program. When I encounter really good music, I want to tell everyone about it.
Who is your favorite non-you WMSE DJ and why?
My favorite WMSE DJ’s are everyone who does a show. I can tune in at any time and listen to something that I hadn’t heard before. The other DJ’s definitely contribute to my musical education and enjoyment, regardless of the genre. The radio station fits in with my eclectic interests.
What do you want to be when you grow up?
I would like to be the next Jolly Green Giant. (Nice work if you can get it.) Ho-Ho-Ho!