Ann Heppermann and Kara Oehler have been producing radio together since 2002. Their work has aired nationally and internationally on public radio shows including: This American Life, Morning Edition, American Routes, WBEZ Chicago Matters, Weekend America, BBC A World in Your Ear, The Next Big Thing, Radio Lab, Re:Sound, Marketplace and numerous others. Kara and Ann created an experimental short documentary for the Third Coast International Audio Festival in 2003 about illegal migrants’ experiences crossing the Sonoran Desert. The piece has been featured at festivals around the world and also published in “Documentary 101: A Guided Listening Experience for the Classroom.” Recently, it was part of the Peabody Award winning Hearing Voices program: “Crossing Borders.”
From One Thing: The producers spent a year talking to refugees living in USA about why they had to leave their country, how they got here, and what “One Thing” they brought with that reminds them of home. In this first of several stories from the series, the Sher Ali family, a mother and nine children, was the first Afghan family to be resettled in Amarillo, Texas in 2000. They fled the Taliban in the middle of the night with only the clothes they wore. Their one thing was a photo of their father. (Produced for Weekend America w/ photo gallery.)
The stories of Burmese refugees, the Karen people, recorded in the camps on the Thailand-Burma border, and in their new American homes. Thru it all their music preserves their culture. Part of The Mountain Music Project.
The One Thing for the Augustin family was their home movies. Their religious beliefs forced them out of Iraq: Mom Nujood is a Chaldean Christian and Dad Abdullahad is a Latin Catholic. The Augustins left a comfortable life in Baghdad for Jordan, where limited opportunities siphoned much of their savings. They arrived in Detroit, where son Arkan takes pre-med courses at the local community college, while working part-time at a grocery store. (Produced for Weekend America: From Iraq to Detroit.)
Starting with the fall of Saigon in April 1975, refugees from Vietnam awaited approval to move to the US and other countries. By 1979, there were almost 62,000 Vietnamese in refugee camps, with more than 140,000 people displaced from Cambodia and Laos. Portland, Oregon, was one of the medium-sized US cities that dealt with the relatively sudden influx of every major ethnic group (Vietnamese, Lao, Hmong, Mein and Cambodian) from Southeast Asia. More than 25 former refugees were interviewed for radio piece, and movie below.
Interviews with Merry Pranksters Mountain Girl (Carolyn Garcia) and Hardly Visible (George Walker); mixed with audio from the Prankster archives and other 60s esoterica. Produced for PRI Weekend America. (Above photo: courtesy of Zane Kesey.)
Song & Memory: Rebel Chef Anthony Bourdain is known for his raucous ways in the world of the professional kitchen, detailed in his book “Kitchen Confidential.” We asked him to put away his pans and think back to when he was a kid — is there a song from childhood that brings it all back? Bourdain can pinpoint his desire sex-drug-rock n’ roll start to a single song: “96 Tears” by ? and the Mysterians. (The Song & Memory series was produced for PRI Weekend America.)
Musicians in their own words:Trudy Pitts and her husband, drummer Bill “Mr C.” Carney do a first-person duet. Trudy is an unsung hero of the Hammond B-3 electric organ. With her husband, Mr C, they’ve played with the Lionel Hampton, Clark Terry and Pat Martino. Their 50s R&B band, the Hi-Tones, featured a young sax player: name of John Coltrane. Their most rewarding musical partnership, though, is the one they share with each other. (MITOW stories were produced for NPR and are archived at PRX)
The [Un]Observed is a new Radio Magazine whose stories cross genres, countries and societal subjects.
Try “The Trouble With Rick” by Aussie “media practitioner” Kyla Brettle. She calls her piece a “radiophonic exploration and impressionistic interpretation of how the world spoke to Rick.” May sound pretentious, but is a pretty good description of the way she paints her audio portrait:
Walking into a noisy restaurant, Rick Tarulli felt inundated by a barrage of sound — the effect of which was so overwhelming that it made him lose his balance. Every conversation in the room shouted at him, the scrape of knives on plates made his vision jump and he could clearly discern the hum of the fridge out back. Rick knew there was something going wrong inside but couldn’t work it out. Neither could his doctors. Three years ago Rick discovered his symptoms were caused by superior canal dehiscence syndrome, a recently diagnosed condition that affects the inner ear.
Other contributors include HV frens Aaron Ximm (aka, quiet american; “Guatanamo Express“, Jonathan Mitchell (“Eye Contact“), and, ‘course, AnnKara: those females at the forefront of every forward facing futuristic audio feature.
Interested in contributing? Contact them; their ears are wide open:
What we’re looking for [is] innovative, engaging and dynamic use of sound as a medium to tell a story. That story can be about a wide range of things, and can be as long or short as the producer would like. The main guideline is in the execution. One of the goals of The [Un]Observed is to move away from traditional, act/track, radio pieces to something where the medium of sound is explored and expanded. The magazine hopes to be a playground of sorts for radio and audio producers to present work they are excited about and proud of. Beyond that, we hope to create an international space where sound makers from all different parts of the world can come together.
Protest may be new to some parts of the world, but in America, complaining about the government is a national pastime. We hear protest music and mashups; we go to protest marches, from Vietnam War era actions on the National Mall, to modern-day Tea Parties and Town Halls:
“Town Halls 2009” (2:05) Barrett Golding
Protest used to be mainly for the young and left-leaning, but recently older right-wingers have joined the party — the Tea Party. When Congressmen went home in 2009, this is what they heard from constituents. Music: Jeff Arntsen, mix: Robin Wise, audio: excerpted from YouTube videos.
The popular Burmese rock band Iron Cross is using music to challenge the nation’s infamously repressive regime. In the great tradition of rock and roll, Iron Cross is taking on Burma’s military government with song.
“Chorus of Refuge is a sound installation that transmits the stories of six refugees,living in different cities across the U.S. to six radios. The voices of the refugees are superimposed and coordinated in both rhythm and tonality to unite their narratives of struggle, survival and triumph.”
It’s another presidential election year; the American people are deeply divided and deeply entrenched in another unpopular war. The topic is not 2008, but 1968. If 1967 was the Summer of Love, maybe 1968 was the Summer of Hate.
We hear Dale Minor report from the battleground during the “Tet Offensive;” part of from Pacifica Radio Archive 1968 Revolution Rewind.
We go live to the “Chicago 1968” DNC demonstrations, mixed by Barrett Golding. (Voices: Martin Luther King, Jr, Robert Kennedy, Edward Kennedy, Chicago Mayor Richard Daley, journalist, police, and demonstrators at Chicago 1968 Democratic National Convention. Music: “Ballad of the Green Beret” by Sgt. Barry Sadler, “For What It’s Worth” original by Buffalo Springfield and cover by The Staple Singers.)
Grief and guts fill the work day of Aftermath,® Inc: Specialists in Crime Scene and Tragedy Cleanup, Trauma Cleanup, Accidental Death Cleanup. Interview with Tim Reifsteck by Laura Kwerel, produced by Nick van der Kolk; an excerpt from “Aftermath,” a Love and Radio podcast. (L & R’s slogan: “What Ira Glass might make if he showed up to work drunk.”) More…
Immigrants walk around the corner of a restaurant named Pollo Feliz (Happy Chicken) on Sasabe downtown. Charcoal roasted chicken is offered as main dish to people also known as “pollos”, on an area where deaths related to heat exposure are frequent among immigrants.
A boy drives a Ford Expedition on the streets of the border town of Sasabe, Sonora. Polleros in the town make as much as 6500 dollars per day smuggling people into the United States, resulting in a town where the tops of the houses are crowned with satellite TV dishes and kids are seen driving brand new Ford F-150s and SUVs.
Putting bars over the bed of an old pick-up in Las Ladrilleras, on Sasabe outskirts. The fee for the final ride from this place to the gates for crossing costs 20 dollars, and polleros (people smugglers) try to maximize the capacity of their vehicles.
From Las Ladrilleras to East Sasabe.
Three mothers and their children make a stop before crossing the desert. They are part of a group of 27 immigrants departing from East Sasabe on June 5th this year to Arizona.
With their destination at sight, a group of 27 people leave East Sasabe. The Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refugee and Arivaca, AZ are on the American side.
A group of ten immigrants who succeeded on crossing the border illegally (one out of frame) use pay phones to call their relatives in the United States at the Greyhound bus station in Tucson before boarding their bus to Phoenix and Los Angeles. To avoid detection the pollero advise them: “Don’t make a big group. Spread.”
Reporter Scott Carrier recovers from the effects of hot weather on his body while doing a story on illegal immigration for NPR show Day to Day. Scott reported from Sasabe, Sonora and Arivaca AZ.
This week’s HV cast is “Rocky Mountain High” (mp3), from the Song and Memory series, produced by Ann Heppermann, Rick Moody & Kara Oehler. Jeffery Carpenter explains the sectarian severance special connection to John Denver’s “Rocky Mountain High” (4:11):