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The Cultural Frontline

The Cultural Frontline

Podcast The Cultural Frontline
Podcast The Cultural Frontline

The Cultural Frontline


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  • Storytelling is my activism
    On this week’s programme Anu Anand speaks to the theatre makers giving unheard and censored stories top billing. Ron Simons is a multi-award winning theatre producer, as well as an actor and film producer. He’s won four Tony awards, the most of any Black Broadway producer. He explains why his mission is to put the stories and experiences of under-represented communities on stage, and make sure representation happens behind the scenes as well. The Irish actor, director, producer and Hollywood star Gabriel Byrne is performing his own story. He’s created a solo show of his best-selling memoir, Walking With Ghosts, sharing moments from his childhood in Ireland, including how he turned to amateur dramatics after failing to become a priest or a plumber, right through to his major Hollywood career. Gabriel also tells reporter Paul Waters about the production that first enthralled him to the theatre. Ming-wai Lit is the founder of Hong Kong theatre company Stage 64. It was created in 2009, and for a decade, put on plays to mark the anniversary of the violent crackdown on pro-democracy protests which took place in Tiananmen Square in Beijing, China, on the 4th June 1989. Mention of Tiananmen Square protests is censored in China, and in Hong Kong activists have been sentenced to prison for taking part in banned vigils. Ming-wai explains why she set up Stage 64 and the importance of theatre to tell these stories. (Photo: Ron Simons. Credit: Jim Spellman/WireImage/Getty)
  • Jamaica: Telling our own story
    This week, to mark 60 years of Jamaican independence, Josie d’Arby meets the artists shaping the culture of the country today. Sharma Taylor is an award-winning writer from the island, who has been short-listed no fewer than four times for the Commonwealth Short Story Prize. Last month, she released her debut novel, What a Mother's Love Don't Teach You. Set in 1980s Jamaica, it’s a story told by a multitude of unreliable narrators and with a mystery about parentage at its heart. Photographer David I Muir looks through his archive to share the story of one photograph that he feels tells a distinctive story of Jamaica: a scene celebrating Jamaica’s bounteous seafood. Film makers Storm Saulter, whose movies include Sprint and Better Mus’ Come, and Gabrielle Blackwood, who works across fiction and documentary, discuss capturing Jamaica’s history on film. And founder of Dubwise Jamaica, the Reggae selector, Yaadcore, shares the philosophy behind his music. Producer: Simon Richardson (Photo: A still from Better Mus’ Come. Credit: Storm Saulter)
  • Classical musicians in war and exile
    How is the art musicians create affected by war or displacement from their homelands for other reasons? We hear from classical musicians performing while their home is under fire, or whose whole approach to their art is changing because of their exile - including the Ukrainian Freedom Orchestra, which was created in response to the war in Ukraine. Venezuelan choir director Ana Vanessa Marvez talks about passing on her country’s musical skills to fellow migrants in Chile We also hear from Syrian viola player Raghad Haddad who has discovered artistic liberation alongside the loss and pain of exile. Presenter: Tina Daheley Producers: Paul Waters & Kevin Satizabal Carrascal Reporter: Anna Bailey (Photo: The Ukrainian Freedom Orchestra)
  • Art of the Queer Diaspora
    We meet artists of the queer diaspora: LGBTQ+ creatives living abroad, away from the cultures that raised them, to discuss ideas of personal and artistic freedom, exile and home and the meaning of the word ‘queer’ in 2022. Arab film makers Sarah Kaskas, co-founder of Karaaj Films, and Mohammad Shawky Hassan discuss their new films, The Window, and Shall I Compare You to a Summer’s Day? with Tina Daheley. Mohammad Shawky Hassan recently appeared in London as part of the The SAFAR Film Festival of cinema from the Arab world. British transgender writer Juno Roche discusses their candid memoir A Working Class Family Ages Badly and the idea of creativity in exile. Nhojj, a singer and songwriter raised in Guyana and Trinidad and living in New York, explains how his sexuality informs his art. And Hong Kong Chinese poet Mary Jean Chan explains the thinking behind the word ‘queer,’ used in the title of their latest co-edited poetry anthology 100 Queer Poems., as well as reading exclusive new work. Produced by Simon Richardson (Photo: Sophia Moussa Fitch and Tamara Saade in a still from The Window. Credit: Karaaj Films)
  • Musicians championing indigenous languages
    According to the United Nations, optimistic estimates suggest that at least half of today’s over 7,000 spoken languages will be extinct or seriously endangered by the end of this century. 2022 sees the start of the United Nations International Decade of Indigenous Languages, drawing global attention to the critical situation faced by many languages and advocating for their preservation and promotion. One of the people championing first nation languages is Clint Bracknell. He’s a musician, singer and songmaker, and releases his music under his Noongar name, Maatakitj. Clint is also a Professor of Indigenous Languages in Australia. Clint has teamed up with multi–ARIA Award winning dance producer Paul Mac to release an album sung in Noongar, called Noongar Wonderland’. Renata Flores has been described as “Peru’s queen of Quechua rap,” combining trap, hip-hop, and electronic influences with Andean instruments. When she was only 14 her Quechua cover of Michael Jackson’s “The Way You Make Me Feel”, got over one million views. Now writing her own songs in Quechua, she uses this urban music to teach young people this ancient language. Renata told our reporter Constanza Hola about her passion for her language. Singer-songwriter Cina Soul is from Accra, Ghana and performs in Ga. Her songs are infused with Highlife, Soul and R&B. Although Ga was originally spoken in the Ghanaian capital, now languages such as Twi have taken over the cultural scene. Cina tells Tina Daheley how she’s been bringing the Ga language and culture back to the mainstream. Julie Fowlis is an award winning folk singer who grew up on the Scottish outer Hebridean island of North Uist. She’s a leading exponent for the Scots Gaelic language and traditions, thanks to performances around the world, and even on the soundtrack of Disney Pixar’s film, Brave. Producers: Andrea Kidd and Kevin Satizabal Carrascal (Photo: Clint Bracknel. Credit: Jayga Ringrose)

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