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Best World Service podcasts we could find (updated August 2020)
Best World Service podcasts we could find
Updated August 2020
Updated August 2020
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All the BBC World Service music podcasts gathered into one place. New documentaries will be added intermittently. Only available in the UK.
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…
John McCarthy explores how Van Morrison’s music has influenced people’s lives and Brian Keenan takes John on a tour of Van’s home city of Belfast.By BBC World Service
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…
Marco Werman investigates Bob Dylan’s work, weighing the evidence on whether he’s a worthy Nobel Literature Prize winner.By BBC World Service
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…
Asad Ali Chaudhry explores music of the world that unites fans, including Pakistani folk singer Bali Jatti, whose music is inspired by Indian culture, Cypriot folk music shared by Greeks and Turks, and a Russian folk metal band with a strong Finnish influence.By BBC World Service
The unique music that can result when artists from different traditions come together to create new sounds. Including a Cuban/Bangladeshi group collaborating with Nigerian Afrobeats star Dele Sosimi and a Breton fiddle player who have joined forces with a trio from Mali.By BBC World Service
What's happening physiologically and chemically to us when we sing - and why does it make us feel happy - and free.By BBC World Service
How young Iranian musicians and singers are finding ways of breaking the restrictions on the public performance of music and songs. And how they're leaving Iran to do it.By BBC World Service
The music that helped forge a new Argentine identity after the violence of military rule in the 1970s and 1980s.By BBC World Service
American civil rights song and Nina Simon hit I Wish I Knew How it Would Feel to be Free is instantly recognisable. How did the song come to be written and what is its place in the US today?By BBC World Service
Jimi Hendrix's 1967 gig at the Marquee club in London launched his career. His English girlfriend, Kathy Etchingham, recalls her relationship with a man who would become a musical legend.By BBC World Service
Beautiful singing in harmony from around the world. This documentary looks at when and why we sing, what it means to us musically and emotionally and how harmonising differs from place to place.By BBC World Service
Forget its low-key, supper club reputation, bossa nova was tied to a political revolution in Brazil. Presenter Monica Vasconcelos travels to Rio to meet musicians that were part of the original bossa scene - Joyce and Marcus Valle, Eumir Deodato and music writer Ruy Castro.By BBC World Service
Mike Williams talks to critics, fans, academics and historians to try and explain why Lou Reed's music changed everything.By BBC World Service
Spain's current economic crisis is seeing the return of flamenco as a form of protest. Jason Webster explores its history.By BBC World Service
For more than four decades, David Bowie has entranced his followers. As he releases his first new material in ten years, Samira Ahmed looks at his particular appeal for British Asian women across the generations.By BBC World Service
Did Johnny Cash have any real impact on prison reform in America? Was it realistic for Cash to attempt to rehabilitate an inmate through music?By BBC World Service
How singer Johnny Cash's experiences performing concerts in jails across the US turned him into a passionate prison reformer.By BBC World Service
To mark the 30th anniversary of the world's biggest selling album we look at what Michael Jackson means to the Ivory Coast village of Krindjabo - where after DNA tests revealed the singer was descended from the royal Sanwi line - he was declared a royal, known as Prince Michael Jackson Amalaman Anoh.…
Colin Grant explores the daring and innovative music that has come from Jamaica since its independence, 50 years ago.By BBC World Service
Writer and DJ Joe Fletcher tracks down forgotten musicians who made records in the 60's and 70's, in America's Deep South. In part two he speaks to Pastor Tim Daniels and two members of the Ramada Singers - LC Jacobs and James Johnson.By BBC World Service
Writer and DJ Joe Fletcher tracks down forgotten musicians who made records in the 60's and 70's, in America's Deep South. In part one he speaks to Johnny 'Hurricane' Jones, Paul Anderson and Little Jan Buckner.By BBC World Service
Robert Elms continues his search for the musical soul of London. He discusses the pride that puts a swagger in the step of Londoners. He finds it in the characters of street sellers, wartime entertainers and the songs that were played in East End music halls.By BBC World Service
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?…
Gary Kemp presents this programme which marks the 40th anniversary of one of the most influential albums ever recorded - David Bowie's The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and The Spiders from Mars, which was released on 6 June 1972.By BBC World Service
Poet Lemn Sissay - whose own life was uniquely altered on hearing Marley's music and by discovering a shared Ethiopian connection - talks to fans and musicians, from all over the world to find out what it is about Bob Marley's music that has created such a passionate - and diverse - following.By BBC World Service
Smokey Robinson explores the social and political impact of Marvin Gaye's classic album - What's Going On - and explains why Marvin's masterpiece still has resonance today.By BBC World Service
Sweden is home to one of the world's oldest and yet most modernised courts. But why is it that a growing number of people here are opposed to keeping the king as head of state?
Lucy Williamson reports on why Mexico, a developing Catholic nation, is the latest country to turn away from marriage.
A two-part documentary investigating the decline of the extended family and the rise of the nuclear household. Lucy Williamson reports from Nepal and Mexico.
Why has the insurgency in India's north-east lasted so long?
Rita Ray traces the history of the 'clave', a deceptively simple but hypnotic beat which became the foundation of Cuban music and deeply influenced soul and rock and roll.
"Mosquito one, mosquito two, mosquito jump in a hot callaloo." What are the world's most popular number rhymes and how do they overlap between different cultures? Kim Normanton looks at the approaches to counting around the world.
Mukul Devichand tells the story of Mohamed ElBaradei, the Nobel Laureate and former Chief Weapons Inspector who some want to see as the next president of Egypt.
Can't think who to have as your best man? Lost your job and need a bogus boss to fool your family that you're still in work? The BBC's Tokyo correspondent Roland Buerk investigates Japan's growing "rent a friend" service sector.
The BBC's War correspondent Jonathan Charles collects poetry from Afghan civilians reflecting on decades of conflict.
Sheila Dillon looks at disappearing food tribes and finds out why efforts are underway to preserve indigenous food cultures.
Peter White is blind, but travels all over the world for his job. By listening to the sounds of his surroundings, he gets to know a place. What does he discover about the cities of Istanbul and San Francisco?