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Soul Music

Podcast Soul Music
Podcast Soul Music

Soul Music


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  • Into My Arms by Nick Cave
    "I don't believe in an interventionist God" has to be one of the most original opening lines to a song. It's one that resonates with the people in this programme who take comfort from Nick Cave's love song. Els from Belgium was introduced to Cave's music through her partner Guido and Into My Arms became their song. After Guido died in a road accident Els carried on going to concerts and took great comfort from hearing that song. When she later wrote to Nick Cave's blog The Red Hand Files to tell him her story about Into My Arms she was overwhelmed when Nick Cave responded. The Reverend John Walker feels a strong connection to the song as it's one his musician son Jonny performed just for him one evening on a rainy street in Leeds City Centre as Jonny was about to pack up and leave his busking spot. That special father-son moment has become even more cherished since Jonny's untimely death in 2018. Many different artists have recorded their versions of Into My Arms including the Norwegian singer Ane Brun who performed it as a way of dealing with the heartache of a lost relationship. Producer: Maggie Ayre
  • Chervona Kalyna
    Powerful stories linked to this beautiful and stirring Ukrainian folk song which inspired Pink Floyd to reform so they could release their own version, 'Hey Hey Rise Up', alongside Andriy Khlyvnyuk of Boombox. Chervona Kalyna is a clarion call with roots stretching back to 17th century Cossack history; as meaningful now as then, this episode of Soul Music reflects how music can be a unifying force in the most dangerous and difficult of times. Anti-Russian, it was banned prior to Ukrainian independence in 1991 with one of its lyrics calling to 'free our brothers Ukrainian from Muscovites shackles'. Its full title 'Oi u luzi chervona kalyna' translates as 'Oh the red viburnum in the meadow': red viburnum is a common plant in Ukraine and in the song it's a metaphor for the country itself. Telling their stories on Soul Music: Taras Ratushnyy, journalist turned soldier, discusses his beloved son, Roman, and the heroic role he played in Ukrainian society both before after the war began. Elizaveta Izmalkova is a young Ukrainian singer who now lives in Lithuania. She performed Chervona Kalyna as part of a flash-mob co-organised by Egle Plytnikaite who describes why she and other Lithuanians wanted to demonstrate their support for Ukraine. Nadia Morykvas wrote a book about the cultural polymath, Stepan Charnetskyi, who - in the early 20th century - adapted Chervona Kalyna for one of his plays. (Volodymyr Oleyko translates for Nadia Morykvas). Andrij Halushka is a Ukrainian who now lives in London. He describes how his family history, down multiple generations, connects with the song. Julia and Kateryna came to England under the 'Homes for Ukraine' scheme when the war began. Under the name 'Dvi Doli' they raise money for Ukraine by staging concerts where they perform traditional songs on the Bandura. Taras Filenko is a pianist and ethno-musicologist. Originally from Zaporizhzhia in Ukraine, he now lives in Pennsylvania, USA. He discusses the musicology of the song, and recalls a neighbour from his childhood who was imprisoned for performing Chervona Kalyna in the 1940s. Myroslava Hartmond is a British-Ukrainian cultural diplomacy expert. She explains how the current popularity of Chervona Kalyna began when Andriy Khlyvnyuk, the lead singer of Boombox, recorded an a capella version in the centre of Kyiv. This inspired Pink Floyd to collaborate with Khlyvnyuk and release their own version. Please scroll down to the 'Related Links' box on the Radio 4 Soul Music webpage for further information about some of the interviewees and the different versions of the song used in the programme. The programme image is of Taras and Roman Ratushnyy. Producer for BBC Audio in Bristol: Karen Gregor
  • Bruch's Violin Concerto
    A Violin Concerto in G minor, Opus 26, became the best-known work of the German composer Max Bruch. Originally written in 1866 it went through many revisions before finally being completed in 1867. It was performed extensively but having sold both the publishing and the manuscript Bruch died in relative obscurity in 1920. The Concerto would continue to be played around the world and the second movement in particular, the Adagio, became a much-loved favourite. Journalist Claire Read describes how much her Mother loved the piece after Claire learned and performed it in school, and how she would listen to it whilst being treated for cancer. Ukrainian violinist Kostia Lukyniuk recalls playing it with an orchestra in his home town aged 11, and how music still gives him strength as he plays for those battered by the Russian invasion of his home country. The second movement brings back fond memories for Archers actor June Spencer who listened to it with her husband and their friends on a veranda in Minorca. Leader of the Welsh National Opera David Adams was inspired to take-up the violin after listening to a recording of David Oistrakh playing this piece, and later performed it at the Fishguard Festival. It was a favourite of his Mum's and that recording was played at her funeral. The Carnegie Hall was the setting for violinist Shlomo Mintz's most treasured performance and he describes how it feels to play those soaring melodies. Curator Robinson McClellan at The Morgan Library & Museum in New York explains how the manuscript of this concerto made its way from Germany to the USA, and why this work would later become a source of resentment for this 'establishment' composer. Studio Manager: Ilse Lademann Produced for BBC Audio in Bristol by Toby Field.
  • Ne Me Quitte Pas
    Ne Me Quitte Pas is a song about begging someone not to go; of promising the world to them, if they'll only stay. From Haiti to New York, Provence to Glasgow... in versions by Nina Simone, Dusty Springfield and Scott Walker... we hear stories of what Jacques Brel's song has meant to people around the world. With contributions from France Brel, Johane Celestin, Alastair Campbell, Brendan McGeever, Peter Hawkins and Malaika Kegode. Produced by Mair Bosworth for BBC Audio
  • Purple Rain
    "I never meant to cause you any sorrow, I never meant to cause you any pain..." True stories of what Prince's epic ballad means to different people around the world, from the very first jam in 1983 to the global hit that reigns over us today. Bobby Z, the drummer from Prince and The Revolution, remembers the buzz of the first ever performance of Purple Rain, and how the recording from that night lives on. Susan Rogers, Prince's recording engineer, tells stories from the Purple Rain tour, when the crew took bets on how long Prince's guitar solos would last. Comedian Sindhu Vee first heard the song as a teenager growing up in India and was knocked sideways by it. Weather reporter Judith Ralston describes the beautiful and rare weather phenomenon of purple rain. Social historian Zaheer Ali sees the song as a cry out for change, bringing audiences from different backgrounds together in cross-genre harmony. And finally, an intensive care hospital nurse played Purple Rain to Kevin Clarke while he was in a coma, because his sister knew he loved the song and hoped it might pull him through. Produced by Becky Ripley

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