The pilot for Sound Tracks: Music Without Borders, aired nationally on PBS in late January. Described as a magazine show “about the intersection of music with life, politics and culture around the world,” it is a collaboration between two alumni of the class of ’70—executive producer Stephen Talbot and executive producer for Oregon Public Broadcasting David Davis.
The first episode includes a vignette on Russian pop: “A Man Like Putin” is a catchy tune that became a generation’s anthem. Another section takes the listener to Africa, where Nigerian music legend Fela Kuti’s youngest son, Seun, has kept his father’s legacy alive by leading the band, a task he took on at age 14.
Additionally, Sound Tracks will introduce viewers to Mariza, considered the new queen of fado, Portugal’s traditional music. The story of a new symphonic work for Kazakhstan, composed by Erran Baron Cohen (brother of the creator of Borat) at the request of the country’s virtuoso violinist Marat Bisengaliev, rounds out the program.
Says executive producer Stephen Talbot ’70, former series editor of the award-winning PBS program, Frontline/World, “Americans love eating the food of different cultures. We want to give people that same exposure to the world’s incredible music with great stories that transcend cultural barriers.”
Emmy Award-winning Public Radio International newsman Marco Werman hosts the show.