Music Extra - The Music Of Time [World Service]


02The Music Of Time - Chile20171126

How Nueva Canción, a folk genre born out of Chile's social struggles, helped end Pinochet

The Chileans call it Nueva Canción, a folk genre that was born out of the country’s social struggles. Its stars helped Salvador Allende become Latin America’s first democratically elected leader. But on September 11th, 1973, General Pinochet seized power in a violent military coup, and a whole generation of musicians found themselves enemies of a totalitarian state. Some were exiled, some were imprisoned, and others were even murdered by the General’s men.

Wyre Davies speaks to the artists who survived the brutality of Chile’s history, and went on to play their role in toppling the dictatorship.

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How the music of the dying Ottoman Empire was reborn and reinvented in the United States.

Between 1895 and 1923, as the empire was unravelling, several hundred thousand Greeks, Armenians, Arabs, Jews and Turks emigrated to America, bringing their music with them. When war, expulsions and massacres tore their world apart, music helped them preserve their culture and their memories—and, in some cases, to make a living. The Ottoman migration to America coincided with the birth of the phonograph industry and its discovery of a lucrative “ethnic ? market. That in turn helped to nurture a lively nightclub scene on Manhattan’s Eight Avenue, where skilful Ottoman musicians and sinuous belly dancers pulled in the late-night crowds into the 1980s.

As European-style national states took the place of the old multi-ethnic empire, the old “oriental ? music was often frowned upon or even suppressed back home. But it continued to thrive in the diaspora, which preserved songs and styles that would otherwise have been lost.What happened to the music once it was transplanted? What did it mean to the emigrants, and to the generations that followed? How has it helped to hold their communities together?

Maria Margaronis traces the story of those Ottoman musicians, and explores the mysterious power of their makam-based music, which binds together joy and sorrow, spiritual longing and sensual desire. This is one of a series of 6 programmes which examine the interactions between music, identity and social change at key points in history.

Audio of George Katsaros speaking to journalist Steve Frangos used courtesy of the State Archives of Florida

Photo: Armenian father and son Onnik and Ara Dinkjian
Credit: BBC


Jasdeep Singh explores the impact of Indian independence and partition on music.

Jasdeep Singh explores the profound effects of Indian independence and partition on the music of north India.

On the 15 of August 1947, India gained its independence and was simultaneously divided by lines drawn through Punjab in the north-west and Bengal in the east, creating the brand new, Muslim-majority country of Pakistan.

As millions fled across these new borders - Muslims going from India to Pakistan, and Hindus and Sikhs coming the other way, this violent, destructive and traumatic partition also affected centuries of musical tradition.

Muslim musicians had played and sung in the heart of the Golden Temple, the holiest of Sikh shrines, since the founding of the religion centuries earlier. Many now fled to Pakistan where they encountered a profound lack of interest in their skills or repertoire and could no longer earn a living. Slowly, their musical knowledge and compositions, which had been passed down through generations in an oral tradition, were abandoned, and much disappeared for ever.

On the Indian side of the border, classical music also suffered. The Gharana system, the traditional way that people learned music, by living with and training under a specific musician for years, fell apart, because many of these ‘guru’ musicians were Muslims and had gone to Pakistan.

However, female singers in the new India were unexpected beneficiaries of this great exodus. Before partition, courtesans, most of whom were Muslim, were the only women who sang in public. When the great majority left for Pakistan, they created a gap, a vacancy and so respectable women gradually began to perform in public.


From Nyabinghi drumming to reggae and dancehall, Jamaican music is a voice of resistance

Dr Carolyn Cooper from the University of West Indies explores how Jamaican music has given a voice to resistance against oppression over many decades. She tells a story starting with the Nyabinghi drumming of the years of slavery, through 1970s reggae, the dancehall sound of the ‘80s and ‘90s, right up to a modern day reggae revival. She hears how the sounds of this Caribbean island have shaped its people and politics, providing a rich commentary on the lives of Jamaicans. As ethnomusicologist Dennis Howard says, in Jamaica, “Music is more than for enjoyment. It is as part of our existence. ?

Dr Cooper talks to major stars like Beenie Man and King Jammy plus we hear a remarkable recording of the controversial dancehall king Vybz Kartel, who is now in jail. There are contributions from Peter Tosh’s former manager Herbie Miller, reggae writer David Katz, former Miss World Lisa Clark, now an MP, who reveals how musicians help keep Jamaican politicians accountable. Dr Cooper initiated the Reggae Studies Unit at the University of the West Indies and is the author of two influential books on Jamaican popular culture.

Photo: Prof I, Rastafarian elder
Credit: BBC

06Jazzing Up Japan20180224

How Japanese popular music was formed by creative clashes with the US

As Japan emerged from World War Two, American occupation forces set out to remake Japanese society in their own image. They decided that popular music would play its part - especially jazz: democratic Americana in its purest form. Join Dr Chris Harding as he goes in search of the results of America’s grand plan for Japan. From boogie woogie and Bebop through to rock, underground, idol music and J pop, he explores the forming of new musical identities - and the surprisingly subversive uses to which music was put. He interviews jazz legend Toshiko Akiyoshi, Masahiko Sato, a 93-year-old “Mobo ? (modern boy) in the pre-war era plus two girl bands rocking Okinawa.

(Photo: Toshiko Akiyoshi speaks at the 2014 International Jazz Day Educational Programs at Osaka School of Music. Credit: Keith Tsuji/Getty Images)