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BBC Radio 2 - Without Frontiers 2005

PostPosted: Wed Dec 22, 2004 1:28 pm
by Charlie
I've been invited to do an eight week series of Without Frontiers on BBC Radio 2, Wednesday evenings at 10 pm, starting January 12th, 2005.

Two previous series featured records linked by various themes - rain, rivers, trains, kings, queens, etc - but this time there's a unifying concept: Five Oceans, Two Seas and a Gulf.

Music from countries bordering the North Atlantic, Gulf of Mexico, Caribbean, Mediterranean, South Atlantic, Indian Ocean, South Pacifc and North Pacific. [In that order]

PostPosted: Wed Dec 22, 2004 4:11 pm
by Con Murphy
It's great to see it back, and the geographical theme must be more comfortable to work with than using arbitrary subject headings. Would it be too ambitious to try to make the shows musical travelogues, a la the Manteca series?

And any chance the shows are longer than 30 minutes a time? Thought not.

Without Frontiers

PostPosted: Wed Dec 22, 2004 6:30 pm
by jayne
Glad to hear that Charlie's progs are to receive another airing on national radio... But Radio 2? That's so achingly uncool it must be cool! Where may one find it on the dial?

I'm looking forward to the sonic smorgasbord that's been published... But the South Atlantic? Musically that has always appeared to be off piste and has got me stumped. I'll be travelling to the region soon for a holiday, but have always thought the area to be somewhat musically barren.

Can anyone enlighten me and suggest any pointers prior to Charlie's broadcast?

Regards, JB

African music on 45 rpm singles

PostPosted: Thu Dec 23, 2004 4:33 pm
by Charlie
My instinct with these programmes is to organise some of world music's greatest hits into these geographical packages, so that the listeners (and, perhaps more significantly, the senior management) will find that they are familiar with much more world music than they might have expected.

The South Atlantic offers the chance to play Yeke Yeke and Soul Makossa, as well as Fela Kuti and Argentina's giant of Tango, Carlos Gardel.

I'm still dithering on South Africa, whether to play something from Cape Town, on the Atlantic, or from Johannesburg and Natal, which would belong to the Indian Ocean.

Amazingly, Tom Hark by Elias and His Zag Zag Jive Flutes was a # 2 hit in the UK in 1958, having been featured in a TV documentary.

But who knows anything about the record?

Trusty Google comes to the rescue.

The first useful piece is a very thorough feature by Ray Templeton on African music released on 45s, at the Music Traditions website:

as the author says: "Tom Hark stands, even now, as one of the very few records of authentic vernacular music to penetrate so high into the UK charts."

Then I find a piece by an Australian writer Simon Bender who actually met one of the musicians on the record:

That settles it. The group was from Johannesburg, so this one goes into the Indian Ocean programme.

Indian Ocean

PostPosted: Fri Jan 07, 2005 1:57 pm
by Charlie
Since writing the last note, the tsunami disaster has happened, and preparing a programme about the Indian Ocean takes on a new dimension.

Ian Anderson of fRoots pointed out a relevant album released in 2001:
The Moken: Sea Gypsies of the Andaman Sea - recordings and text by Tom Vater, released on Topic in association with the National Sound Archive [ ]

The Rough Guides series has four applicable compilations, and World Music Network sent out the following note from their press office:

In the month of January, with any online purchase of any of the following Rough Guides:

the Rough Guide to the Music of Thailand
the Rough Guide to the Music of Indonesia
the Rough Guide to the Music of India and
the Rough Guide to the Music of the Indian Ocean

World Music Network (UK) will donate £5.00 (about $9.00) from the sale to the Oxfam Tsunami Crisis Fund.

Find out more about Oxfam's aid effort for people affected by the Tsunami Crisis. ... /index.htm ... ke1204.htm

In addition, I recommend Discover Indonesia, a compilation sampler from the Smithsonian's 20 CD series

The album Namta Sao Warin by Jintara Poonlarp has production values you might expect from modern pop music from Thailand. The songs are mostly ballads, and her singing is so engaging and the melodies so strong, it's surpisingly enjoyable. I am embarrassed not to have made a note of the name of the listener who kindly sent me the album, from which I played a track in June 2003. The album can be found on mail order sites - use our search engine to confirm what the front cover looks like.


Reading this note, Paul Fisher sent the following comment by email - I could have asked him to post it as a separate reply, but will simply add it here:

The listener who sent you the Jintara Poonlarp CD was called Peter Garrity. He's a Thai music fan living in Leicester.

Jintara is from Northeast Thailand, the other side to Phuket, where the tsunami hit.

We have her CDs on our website - she happens to be one of my favourites too, although didn't manage to license a track for the Rough Guide to Thailand CD.

Paul Fisher

Without Frontiers/South Atlantic

PostPosted: Mon Jan 10, 2005 2:47 pm
by jayne
When Charlie announced that he would be broadcasting a prog. about the music of the South Atlantic I thought that he would be enlightening us about South Georgia, the Falkland Islands, Cape Horn, Tierra del Fuego and environs.

Confused? Disorientated? I was.

However, I must admit that the theme for the Radio 2 shows is pretty neat and I hope that the series is a resounding success. Just like the BBC World progs Charlie delivers though, at 30 minutes, it's howlingly short.

Does this suggest anything about the attention span of the Radio 2 audience?

Regards, JB

Without Frontiers Prog

PostPosted: Tue Jan 18, 2005 4:04 pm
by brianhedley2
I'm a novice to this site and as such still finding my way round it !!...hopefully this message makes its way through Cyberspace to the right place ?
''Any chance of working any Carlos Nunez , Henry Kaiser with David Lindley or Ali Farka Toure into the current series somewhere over the next few weeks ?
On the premise that 'shy bairns get nowt ' , is there also any possibility that the Programme could be extended to 2 hours per week and be extended beyond 8 weeks ...there's just so much material to discover !

candidates for play

PostPosted: Tue Jan 18, 2005 6:38 pm
by Charlie
With only six of seven songs per ocean/sea, the elimination procedure is tortuous and brutal.

Ali doesn't qualify because Mali is land-locked - but look out for his new album of duets with Toumani Diabate on World Circuit sometime in the summer.

The American guitarists David Lindley and Henry Kaiser recorded a couple of albums with many of the major musicians and singers of Madagascar a few years ago, but I don't have room for them in the Indian Ocean programme.

I played one song from Spain last week, so Carlos Nunez has missed his chance. I confess that although I've heard of Carlos, I'm not familiar with his work, so please tell me which of his songs I should be checking out

Radio 2 website update

PostPosted: Wed Jan 19, 2005 10:34 am
by Charlie
The playlist and On Demand archive are now up and running at ... list.shtml

without frontiers jan 19th

PostPosted: Thu Jan 20, 2005 11:28 am
by jude anderson
Having raved about the first programme and posted notes all over the house to myself to remind me to record the second one - I forgot. Rage anger and frustration. Does anyone have a tape of last night's programme they could send/lend/give me. I will happily reciprocate or reimburse them? I would be eternally grateful.

On Demand

PostPosted: Thu Jan 20, 2005 2:09 pm
by Charlie

the show is on the archive at Radio 2 for a week - see the post immediately before yours, above

PostPosted: Mon Jan 24, 2005 1:40 am
by Tom McPhillips
Carlos Nunez is an absolutely amazing Galician Pipes player who is an amazing virtuoso and a very charismatic performer. After seeing him on a Kennedy Center show I worked on, I bought couple of his albums, and they're both very listenable.

He has worked frequently with the Chieftains and therein lies the rub... It's that "F-word" again... I think he's an interesting example of an artist that Charlie would almost play, but he's associated with a category of musicians that put him out of "World" favour. (Now, if he were from Mali Charlie might include him.) The Chieftains have formed their own diaspora of world music, but somehow it's a definition of world fusion that pigeonholes itself in a different "World"...

an idiosyncratic suggestion for the South Atlantic

PostPosted: Wed Jan 26, 2005 1:26 pm
by Peter Sampson
Hi Charlie,

this suggestion is probably now too late for your South Atlantic
Without Frontiers Show, but I found the following record while sorting
through my vinyl.

Kelpers After All - Songs of a Falkland Islander- Rock Bernstein
Forest Tracks FT3017
Recorded February 1984

I'm sure the BBC archive will still have a copy, they certainly
used to have it as I first heard it played on R2 Folk on 2 probably -
try the title track.