The power and poignancy of 19th-century slave spirituals evoke feelings of raw power, deep empathy, pathos and poetry. When modern musical virtuosos blend modern Latin, jazz and African rhythms with these ancient hymns, the spirituals soar even higher, truly elevating emotions and inspiring audiences. CROOKED STICK: SONGS IN A STRANGE LAND is a one-hour concert special, recorded before a live audience, featuring celebrated vocalist Marietta Simpson. Collaborating with Simpson to craft modern arrangements is Dr. Tyron Cooper, an Emmy Award-winning composer and ethnomusicologist. The program title references an old African-American maxim that celebrates those who could "hit a straight lick with a crooked stick" - or overcome remarkable difficulties to do remarkable things. In this case, the maxim refers to enslaved peoples in the United States during the 19th century who created a shared language of music to find hope and strength in difficult times. Currently, those same songs are still sparking "remarkable things" by motivating today's top musicians to blend modern rhythms with these old narratives in ways that uplift audiences and ignite the spirit.