With contributions from people Madonna lived and worked with during her formative years, this programme highlights the drive and determination that took a struggling, ambitious young dancer from suburban Detroit, with grand visions of one day becoming a club dancer in New York City, on a journey that exceeded her wildest expectations as she evolved to become one of pop music’s most successful icons.
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 Lira, American musician Valerie June, record company mogul Clive Davis, producer Narada Michael Walden, singer Sarah Dash and music journalist David Nathan.
Carla Bruni plays her favourite songs in French and English on the subjects of love, sadness and joy. France’s former First Lady recently released French Touch, her fifth studio album featuring her interpretations of songs by Depeche Mode, The Clash and AC/DC. With music from Francoise Hardy, Serge Gainsbourg, Edith Piaf, Charles Aznavour, Barbara and Stromae.
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 pig on a stick.
He then visits the Centre for Native Arts in Cusco where food and music come together with a dance about the Oca potato. Providing the soundtrack to the dance is the legendary violinist Reynaldo Pillco.
Martin also meets singer Sylvia Falcon who enchants with a song that highlights the importance of the Coca leaf in Peruvian cuisine and culture. And, he talks to Peruvian music legend Manuelcha Prado aka the “Saqra” of the guitar – or the devil of the guitar. Plus, talented travelling musician Carlos – whose lack of teeth does not affect his ability to connect the with his appreciative audience.
(Photo: Martin Morales. Credit: Dave Brown)
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 from a like-minded, tight-knit circle of composers and technicians.
Murzin finally completed construction of the ANS in 1958 and it was subsequently used by a number of pioneering 20th Century Russian composers such as Stanislav Kreichi, Alfred Schnittke, Edison Denisov, Sofia Gubaidulina and Edward Artemiev. The unearthly tones of the ANS were perfectly suited to the era of Soviet space exploration, and became the soundtrack instrument of choice for a series of classic Russian sci-fi films, the most famous being Andrei Tarkovsky’s Solaris released in 1972.
Meet those who knew Murzin and saved his instrument from obscurity: Eduard Artemiev (celebrated soundtrack composer and Tarkovsky collaborator), Stanislav Kreichi (composer and de facto guardian of the ANS), Andrei Smirnov (Theremin Institute Moscow). Other synthesiser pioneers contribute including Suzanne Ciani (US composer) and Goldfrapp’s Will Gregory (Russian synth collector) as well as current synthesiser aficionados Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith.
Presented by keyboard player and long-standing Russophile, Jon Ouin.
Image: Yevgeny Murzin
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, producer Narada Michael Walden, singer Sarah Dash and music journalist David Nathan.
Producer: Bob Howard
Photo: Aretha Franklin, Credit: Getty Images
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 forebears? And, how did the human voice, archaeological artefacts and ancient sites themselves affect the sounds of their world.
Travelling from Stonehenge and West Kennet in the United Kingdom to Cueva de la Pileta in Spain and on to Little Black Mountain in the United States, archaeologist and musician Miriam Cooke, witnesses how the techniques of archaeoacoustics – the study of sound in archaeological contexts – can help connect us to the past. She attempts to recover the soundtrack of our ancestors and then write a song about it.
Contributors include professor Rupert Till from the University of Huddersfield, sound artist Oliver Beer, psychoacoustician Chris Kyriakakis, Native American cultural historians Ernest Siva and Walter Holmes, Prehistory of Music author Iain Morley, and Steven J Waller, who researches the links between rock art and the sound of the spaces they inhabit.
(Photo: Stonehenge at sunset, Wiltshire, England. Credit: Getty Images)
Over 80 years since its doors first opened, ‘Mr Apollo’ Billy Mitchell reveals how the Apollo Theatre in Harlem, New York became one of the world’s most celebrated music venues, launching the careers of stars like Ella Fitzgerald, The Jackson 5 and James Brown. Shortly after the Apollo opened in 1934, Ella Fitzgerald became the first female to win their renowned Amateur Night talent contest when she was only 17.
Prince Nico Mbarga and Rocafil Jazz’s 1976 recording Sweet Mother is estimated to have sold 13 million copies in markets and record shops across Africa – that is more than The Beatles’ biggest-selling single I Want To Hold Your Hand. Yet outside the continent, it is barely recognised. On the 20th anniversary of Prince Nico’s early death in 1997, DJ Edu tells the incredible story of this one-hit wonder.