Living For The City

Episodes

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01Oslo With Susanne Sundf\u00f8r20180925

Singer-songwriter Susanne Sundf\u00f8r on Oslo, a city of solitude and solace.

Musicians take the listener on a personal tour of a city they love.

0101Corinne Bailey Rae20180911

Singer-songwriter Corinne Bailey Rae on Leeds, her vibrant home city.

Musicians take the listener on a personal tour of a city they love.

Singer songwriter Corinne Bailey Rae on why she's chosen to stay in Leeds, her home city, to live and work.

"I'm always singing in my head when I'm walking... I think the rhythm of walking is very musical. I still find it helps me to write songs so there are places I return to over and over again..."

In Living for the City, musicians take the listener on a personal tour of a city they love - exploring how buildings and street corners, train lines and park views hold stories of heartache and inspiration as they project their inner worlds onto the canvas of the city.

Corinne Bailey Rae grew up in Leeds, the eldest of three girls. In her teens, after initially starting out on the violin, a youth leader bought her a guitar and encouraged her to form a band. But it was as a solo artist that she found fame - quickly - with Put Your Records On.

Corinne takes us to Leeds Town Hall, where she first performed as a nine year old with her violin. She recalls her last gig, where family and friends were part of a huge celebration of her music. Gigs for her are now a semi-spiritual experience.

Church and faith were a huge part of Corinne's life growing up and continue to run as a thread through her work. She takes us to the bus stop which was her whole world as a teenager - waiting to get to school, to town, to church. And she reflects on the tragic death of her first husband and its impact on her music as she journeys through the city.

Corinne's profile is now so international that she spends part of each year in the United States. It can feel surreal, moving between Stevie Wonder in LA and returning to Leeds - but she always does return because her sense of belonging and identity are grounded in the city.

(Photo credit: Chris Turner)
Produced by Rachel Hooper
A Falling Tree production for BBC Radio 4.

0102Andrew Bird20180918

offers a personal view on Chicago, the city where he grew up.

Musicians take the listener on a personal tour of a city they love.

Andrew Bird takes the listener on a tour of Chicago, a city of ghosts, faded grandeur and family legends.

In Living for the City, musicians take the listener on a personalised tour of a city they love. They project their inner worlds onto the canvas of the city, revealing how buildings and street corners, train lines and park views hold stories of heartache and inspiration.

Andrew Bird revisits his birthplace, Chicago, in the week of a series of homecoming gigs, as a soloist and in a reunion with his band, Bowl of Fire. He reflects on how the music he writes has emerged from the city's streets, the faded grandeur of 1920s hotels and apartment blocks and the building downtown on Michigan Avenue where, as a young violinist, he rehearsed every week with the Junior Symphony.

(Photo credit: Shervin Lainez)
Produced by Alan Hall
A Falling Tree production for BBC Radio 4.

Andrew Bird offers a personal view on Chicago, the city where he grew up.

0103Susanne Sundfor20180925

Singer-songwriter Susanne Sundfor on Oslo, a city of solitude and solace.

Musicians take the listener on a personal tour of a city they love.

Susanne Sundfør on Oslo, a city she's returned to for solitude and solace.

"Oslo to me is like a big city in a small town... it's why I love it... when I'm on tour and I think about it, I really miss it and the beautiful golden light of the winter," says Susanne,, who moved to the capital to make a career as a singer songwriter.

Four number one albums later and she is one of Norway's most prolific musicians, with a growing international reputation. Oslo has become the place she retreats to after touring and travelling, but her profile means she has to negotiate the city carefully if she wants to maintain her privacy.

In Living for the City, musicians take the listener on a personal tour of a city they love - exploring how buildings and street corners, train lines and park views hold stories of heartache and inspiration as they project their inner worlds onto the canvas of the city.

Oslo for Susanne is a city that echoes and resonates with the voices and legacy of past Norwegian artists and creatives. She takes us to the mausoleum built by Norwegian artist Emanuel Vigeland. The dark, vast space is a place she's recorded in before. She returns to it as a place that allows her to talk about how the cold winter can be a quietly inspirational force for her.

She left Oslo for London after a breakdown a few years ago, but she's recently returned to live there and now has a studio right in the centre of the city.

"I've been back for about nine months and think I've been through some kind of transformation. London allowed me to get a different perspective on Oslo...I came back here to see friends and one of them said to me, 'You have to take Oslo back' and I understand what he says now...but I'm still working on that....it's like we found each other again."

(Photo credit: Raphael Chatelain)
Produced by Rachel Hooper
A Falling Tree production for BBC Radio 4.