There’s a real nice blurb about Fonotopia up at PRX, the public radio website/marketplace we keep yammering on about. David Srebnik, PRX’s Music Format Curator, makes it a September pick and calls it “a deeply rich hour of music and compelling storytelling.” He also says that Ian “has not gathered any collector-nerd moss along the way.” We agree on both points.
Tell your local public radio station about Fonotopia, and please tell us that you’ve told them so we can follow up with them.
Thanks to PRX — we love what they do, and we’re tickled to get David’s recommendation.
Writer Jason Cherkis published a long, beautifully-written profile of Ian in the Washington Post Magazine today.
If you’re joining us here for the first time after reading it–welcome! Fonotopia has hour-long episodes on a theme, and we’ve got one-song “Fonotopia Shorts” about particular musicians. You’ll be transported to Ian’s world of resurrected music, and you’ll feel better about the real world when you get back.
Thanks for dropping by. If you like what you hear, tell your local public radio station that it’s easy to start broadcasting us: just visit our page at the Public Radio Exchange.
Dearest Fonotopia listeners,
Thank you for all the support and listening so far. We love putting the show together, and it means so much to see it making so many people happy.
We’re excited to announce that we’ve set up Fonotopia on the Public Radio Exchange. What does that mean? That means if a radio station wants to broadcast Fonotopia, all they have to do is go to Fonotopia’s page at PRX.
In this Fonotopia short, Ian cops to a penchant for hyperbole. But…
…could Marika Papagika actually be one of the greatest singers who ever lived or recorded?
Find out for yourself, in this new Fonotopia short about a woman who made it from the tiny Mediterranean island of Kos to owning her own music club in midtown New York City:
Jew’s harp, guibarde, munnharpe, moorsing, dan moi, khmous, genggong–call it what you will, the modest instrument is about as universal as they come. Here, Ian serves up a 1927 recording of American practitioner Obed Pickard. The guy who introduced Ian to the record said “If you like weird records, there’s a real weird one over there.”
The sitar and the guitar derive their names from the Persian word Tar, which means “string.” Tar is also the name of a Persian stringed instrument. Ian likens the guitar pyrotechnics of Django Reinhardt and Jimi Hendrix to the virtuosity of tar player Yahya Zarpanje, the subject of this Fonotopia Short. We think you’ll agree.
She was an innocent young woman, a member of the court of Baroda. He was a lowly court servant from a tribe of rural musicians. I think you know where this is going.
In this second Fonotopia Short, Ian brings you the story and the music of Hirabai Barodekar, the daughter of those two star-crossed lovers.
We’re going to get you some more full-length Fonotopias as soon as we can, but right now we’re trying to get this thing up on the airwaves. In the meantime, we’re going to bring you one song at a time.
In this first Fonotopia Short, Ian introduces us to the electric Reverend Samuel Kelsey, recorded in Washington, D.C. in 1947. Listen for that magical moment when sermon becomes song.