Radio Event No. 23: Chrysanthemum Chameleon

From the KPFA Archives

Radio Event No. 23: Chrysanthemum Chameleon (Original air date: June 7, 1973)


Independent, free form radio has always been an essential part of the Bay Area’s cultural landscape. As the first listener supported non-commercial radio station in the United States, established in 1946, KPFA has played an important role in shaping this history. During the late 1960s and early 1970s, under Music Director Charles Amirkhanian, KPFA hosted a number of “radio events” which were participatory radio programs created with the input of the station’s listeners. Wild and innovative, the programs involved everything from collectively brewing tea over the airwaves to joining listeners in a public jam session in a Berkeley park. For this program, a selection of KPFA’s Radio Events will air daily.


In this, the 23rd program in the series, Alex Dea and a group of 25 singers, invited the listening audience of KPFA to come to the studio, or gather at their home with friends and with the radio on, and join them in an evening of meditative chanting. In “Piece I” everyone was instructed to sing at their lowest note and gradually move to their highest note using any vowel sounds starting with “Z” (Za, Zay, Zee, etc...). “Piece II” started with “OM”, then moved to rhythmic repetitions of syllables beginning with “CH” (Chak, Chawk, Cha, Chee, etc...), and then more rhythmic repetitions of syllables starting with the letter “D”. The end result was a calming, consciousness raising, event that united listeners across the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond.


This program is organized by Ceci Moss. All recordings available thanks to the Other Minds Archive and the Internet Archive. All recordings licensed under Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0.