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Indian classical music is an art form that’s been in the making for thousands of years and has exponentially grown in popularity, seeing a 70% increase in people taking exams in the UK alone. First mentioned in its simplest form in the Hindu scriptures known as the vedas, some 3,500 years ago, we tell the story of how the music has educated and lib…
 
In 1927 Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein created Ol’ Man River to bind their breakthrough Broadway musical Show Boat. Giving it an almighty showstopper. Audiences were carried away as ‘Joe’, the ordinary black labourer, took centre stage to sing of toil and suffering in the land of cotton along the banks of the Mississippi. From the beginning it t…
 
Aretha Franklin, for fifty years the Queen of Soul, with a voice of unique quality and who suffered a difficult and troubled life, has died at the age of 76. Jumoke Fashola hears from musicians, fans and producers from different parts of the world about what made Aretha Franklin’s music special. It Includes contributions from South African singer L…
 
Peruvian-born chef and record producer Martin Morales heads back to his homeland to explore the inherent link between food and music in Andean culture. Martin starts his journey at the famous La Chomba restaurant in Cusco, where musicians queue to serenade the diners, and then heads to the tiny village of Lamay where the local delicacy is guinea pi…
 
Due to the political climate in Soviet Russia of the day, Yevgeny Murzin was forced to build his synthesizer in secret with little access to electronic parts. Over next two decades (pre and post war), the ANS as it was known, was a self-financed, largely secret labour of love; Murzin had to work on it in his spare time over two decades with help fr…
 
Known as the Queen of Soul, voice artists have been in awe of Aretha Franklin for 50 years. In Aretha at 75 Mark Coles talks to musicians, fans and producers from different parts of the world about what makes her so special.Including contributions from South African singer Lira, American musician Valerie June, record company mogul Clive Davis, prod…
 
Ancient history was not silent, so why is our study of it? The oldest-known musical instruments – bone flutes found in southern Germany – date back a little over 40,000 years. But how long humans have been making music in one form or another is a matter of great speculation. What did ‘music’ mean in the context of our Palaeolithic and Neolithic for…
 
Gabriela Montero, the exhilarating Venezuelan pianist, is playing in Miami. She is renowned for her live improvisations, a form of classical music that is rarely heard in concert halls today. Her spontaneous compositions on stage are inspired by musical motifs, sung or hummed to her by a member of the audience, often drawn from the classical repert…
 
What makes the sweet rhythmical music of a Caribbean island so appealing to young people in the eastern European country of Poland? How did a reggae singer with dreadlocks come to win the TV show Poland's Got Talent? And why is Poland one of the biggest markets for reggae music in the world? Bob Marley's biographer Chris Salewicz reports from the a…
 
Legendary country singer-songwriter Steve Earle unveils the secrets of composing a great song. Every year he runs a four-day intensive training session in the Catskill Mountains in upstate New York. Journalist and aspiring songwriter Hugh Levinson joined around 100 other would-be balladeers to see what they can learn from Steve and his fellow teach…
 
Gemma Cairney reports on attempts to keep musical traditions alive on both Guadeloupe and Puerto Rico. In Guadeloupe – much of the music is driven by a belief in “you have to know where you come from to know where you’re going” and many young people are rediscovering their Creole music and language as a result. Meanwhile in Puerto Rico, they have c…
 
Music from all over the Caribbean is gaining international recognition as it increasingly draws on influences from all around the world. In this first programme, Gemma Cairney looks at the new sounds of Soca in Trinidad and Barbados, which is a blend of both African and Trinidadian rhythms. It includes interviews with Bajan Soca queen Alison Hinds;…
 
A symphony for Syria is the story of how 50 Syrian musicians beat the odds to find their way to Holland to perform together. The Orchestra of Syrian Musicians first played with British songwriter Damon Albarn in 2008. Since then, a civil war has divided their country and forced many to rethink many aspects of their lives. Some have decided to live …
 
Simon Barber and Brian O’Connor, two Liverpool musicians collectively known as Sodajerker, quiz musicians on everything from the instruments they use and where they write to whether they thrive under deadline pressure. Their stellar list of interviewees includes Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil (who have written dozens of hits, including You’ve Lost tha…
 
Robert Elms searches for the musical soul of London, celebrated in over a century of song. This two-part special features songs by The Clash, David Bowie, Lord Kitchener, Gert and Daisy, Lily Allen, The Kinks, Professor Green and many more.What do Robert's personal musical highlights reveal about the history and geography of the capital?…
 
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