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Aug 17, 2020

In February 2020, Angela Denise Davis interviewed Mary D. Watkins at her home in Oakland, California. Watkins was gracious in her recounting of major life events and her work as a composer and musician.

Trained in classical music at Howard University, Watkins has composed three operas and has written for symphony orchestras, chamber and jazz ensembles, film, theatre, dance, and choral groups, in addition to being a popular recording artist for Olivia records in the 1970s.

Watkins’ recent recordings include Prayer for Peace, a meditational CD, and Recorded Music of the African Diaspora (Albany Records, 2010: Center For Black Music Research; department of Columbia College in Chicago, IL).

Visit her website for more information:

As promised, here is a link to the sublime performance of Melanie DeMore and Mary Watkins performing the composer’s arrangement of "We Shall Overcome" at the Sister Comrade gathering in Oakland, CA.

“We Shall Overcome”

Mary Watkins and Melanie DeMore


Music clips in this episode are courtesy of Mary Watkins.