PRX Review: Ghada Kanafani, Palestinian Poet in Exile

March 9, 2007

Producer:  Claudia Cragg (20:00)

Reviewed by David Swatling for PRX (March 4, 2007)

“Some strong emotion surfaces in this straightforward interview with exiled Palestinian poet Ghada Kanafani. Born in Lebanon in 1948 – the year creation of the state of Israel displaced her family; grew up reading Arabic poetry which brought tears to her eyes; wrote her first poem in 1967 – “the end of everything,” she says.

“I’m not the one who’s suffering,” she says. But her deep sighs and moving description of entire lives spent in refugee camps tell another story. As does the heartfelt reading of her poem at the end of the interview.

The first time I listened to this with my professional radio ears, I was put off by a shakey start and off-miked questions which sometimes interrupted the poet. But I was drawn into her story and when I listened again, these technical flaws seemed less important. I would still prefer a more artful framework for this thoughtful poet’s words and ideas. But they come through in the interview anyway, so perhaps I’m being too critical.

Might be a strong topical offering for April Poetry Month.”

LISTEN TO THE PIECE HERE 

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PRX Review: RN Documentary: Seamus Heaney: Bogging In Again

February 19, 2007

Producer: Radio Netherlands (29:30)

Review by John Biewen for PRX (February 10, 2007)

“You can’t go too far wrong with this material: Seamus Heaney’s closely-mic’d voice in conversation–a voice that takes hold of words with an unusually strong grip before letting them go. Seamus Heaney reading his own achingly beautiful, soul-disturbing poems in a reverberating hall in Rotterdam. Stir in atmospheric music and intelligent narration by the interviewer. I suppose you could go wrong with any material, but the folks at Radio Netherlands, as usual, get it right. 

This is not just any old piece about any old poet. Heaney’s talk and his poetry are not *about* poetry but about the world–the world of spit and dust and cast iron but also of falling Twin Towers and our “virtual city.” One of the most important poets of our time, an Irishman who came of age writing about the Troubles as “time out of joint” in his own small country, now reflects on a whole world out of joint. A world of “deep, deep, deep unease” where “war is waged almost casually.”

Listen to the program here


PRX Review: ED BELL’S SWEEETGUN BOTTOM BLUES

February 10, 2007

Producer: Tanya Ott-Fulmore

Reviewed by John Hingsbergen for PRX (Feb 2, 2007)

“This is a music-rich studio piece offering something a little different for Black History Month. Tanya Ott is a good interviewer who keeps the piece moving between conversation and performance.
Tanya and her guests, Ansel Strickland and musician Sam Pointer, have a friendly and informative conversation as the listeners get a chance to sample the music of Alabama bluesman Ed Bell.
Well recorded and nicely edited. There were apparently some risque lyrics in one of the musical pieces (can you imagine that in a blues piece?) but they seem to have been edited out.
This would work nicely in a locally-produced magazine show or even as a drop-in during a AAA or eclectic music show. It’s a good alternative to the historical profiles and informational pieces that crop up at this time of the year.”

Listen to the program here.


PRX Review: THE UNSEEN WORLD OF ISLAM

February 9, 2007

Producer: A World of Possibilities

 

Review by David Swatling for PRX (Feb. 4, 2007)

“There’s an abundance of fascinating information in this first of a series of programs about Islam and the West. The first half-hour focuses primarily on the history of Islam and the second half puts that information in perspective in post 9/11 America. The five experts interviewed by the very well prepared host are all excellent speakers. The most time is spent with an Iranian author who was particularly engaging and thought-provoking. This is a polished magazine-style program dealing with an important topic in an intelligent way. If the rest of the series maintains this quality, it’s definately worth sharing with your listeners.”

 

Listen to the program here


PRX Review: TALES FROM THE MORGUE: CAN’T STAND THE HEAT

February 8, 2007

Tales From the Morgue: Can’t Stand the Heat (20:00)

producer: Mark Sawyer

Reviewed by Joseph Dougherty  for PRX ( Feb. 2, 2007)

“If there’s a radio equivalent to the gooey indulgence of macaroni-and-cheese, this is it. Gleefully derivative of everything from “Lights Out” to “Mystery Science Theater 3000,” this audio evocation of those youth destroying EC horror comics, the ones Stephen King used to hide under the mattress, is pure guilty pleasure. Uncontaminated by seriousness and higher purpose, produced with a careful eye for B-movie details, the piece is unrepentant balderdash and should be welcomed at any time of the programming day. “But, Jasper, you’re a scientist. Surely you don’t believe in this nonsense.” “

 Listen to the program here


PRX Review: RADIO LAB: MORALITY

February 6, 2007

Radio Lab, Show 203: Morality

Producer: WNYC

Review by Chris Chambers for PRX (Jan 21, 2007)

This is excellent radio. It’s thought-provoking, amusing and, most importantly, brilliantly produced. The use of music is perfect and the innovative way the two presenters interact within each feature has the effect of drawing you in futher to the discussion. This is a great example of how quite simple features can become transformed using imaginative production. There was superb editing work in there.
I give five stars as sparingly as Howard Hughes gave interviews but I have no hesitation in recommending this and no doubt all the other Radio Lab programmes too.”

Listen to the program here


PRX Review: ANDY STATMAN’S JOURNEY

February 5, 2007

Andy Statman’s Journey (27:47)

producer: Jonathan Groubert

Review by Jon Kalish for PRX (January 22, 2007)

5 Stars if you’re a fan of Klezmer clarinet or bluegrass mandolin. Jon Kalish has produced an expertly knitted, rich, tersely woven and well presented journey into the heart of the virtuoso musician and Jewish mystic Andy Statman.

This is excellent radio that hits all the right beats in terms of pacing and uses the form to create a three dimensional person from his early success to his inexplicable contemporary obscurity.

Highly recommended to anyone. Excellent programming for the weekends or Jewish holidays or pairing with programs on Klezmer.”

Listen to the program here