Can music and culture help unite Estonia? Guitar riffs lilt through the air and over the narrow river that marks the border between Estonia and Russia. It’s the first time Estonia’s annual festival Tallinn Music Week has been held in Narva, bringing coach loads of musicians from 30 countries around the world to a normally sleepy city. The organiser moved the festival when the war in Ukraine broke out in order to send a message of unity and to encourage Estonians from the capital to mix with people in Narva, where 97% of Estonians have Russian as their mother tongue. Many can barely speak Estonian at all. Across Estonia, one quarter of the population are Russian speakers, prompting many to describe this as a threat. When Putin invaded Ukraine on the premise of liberating Russian speakers there, it lead to many in the press to ask ‘is Narva next?’ but a new generation of Russian speaking Estonians are increasingly frustrated by this rhetoric and say it simply isn’t true. Russian speakers are even signing up to Estonia’s volunteer defence force, ready to fight to defend Estonia should the worst happen. Their allegiance is clear. But is music and culture enough to unite Estonia’s Russian speakers?
Presenter: Lucy Ash
Producer: Phoebe Keane
Artist: Trad Attack!
Writers: Jalmar Vabarna, Sandra Vabarna, Tõnu Tubli
Artist: Gameboy Tetris and Nublu
Track: Für Oksana
Writers: Pavel Botsarov, Markkus Pulk, Fabry El Androide, Ago Teppand
Artist: Pale Alison
Writers: Evelina Koop, Nikolay Rudakov
Sound Installation: On the Border / Rajalla
Cambodia: Returning the Gods
While some countries fight to reclaim antiquities that were stolen centuries ago, Cambodian investigators are dealing with far more recent thefts. Many of the country’s prized treasures were taken by looters in the 1980s and 1990s and then sold on to some of the world’s most prestigious museums, including the British Museum and the Victoria & Albert museum. At the centre of many of the sales was a rogue British art dealer.
Celia Hatton joins the Cambodian investigative team and gains unprecedented access to looters who have become government witnesses. The Phnom Penh government has now launched a legal campaign in the UK to get some of its most prized statues back. For many Cambodians these are not simply blocks of stone or pieces of metal, they are living spirits and integral to the Khmer identity. The Gods, they say, are cold and lonely in foreign collections and they want to come home.
Producer: John Murphy
Producer in Cambodia: Eva Krysiak
Mexico: The Yaqui Fight Back
Resistance and division among Mexico’s indigenous Yaqui people. Anabela Carlon is a legal advocate for the indigenous Yaqui of Sonora – a fierce defender of her people’s land. She is no stranger to the immense dangers that face her in northern Mexico, a region dominated by organised crime. In 2016, she and her husband were kidnapped at gunpoint by masked men. And now one of her biggest cases is representing the families of ten men from her community who disappeared last year.
In Mexico, the Yaqui of Sonora are known as, ‘the undefeated’. In spite of being hunted, enslaved and exiled, they are the only indigenous group never to have surrendered to Spanish colonial forces or the Mexican government. Somehow, eight communities survived along the River Yaqui. But there are deep divisions. Most of all, over whether a gas pipeline should be allowed on their land. Anabela Carlon is adamant it will not happen.
Presenter: Linda Pressly
Producer: Phoebe Keane
Producer in Mexico: Ulises Escamilla
The Accordion Wars of Lesotho
A form of oral poetry accompanied on the accordion is the basis of a wildly popular form of music in Lesotho, southern Africa. But jealousy between Famo artists has triggered warfare that’s killing hundreds. Some of the genre’s best-known stars became gang bosses, and their rivalry has helped make rural, stunningly beautiful Lesotho the murder capital of Africa, with the sixth highest homicide rate in the world. Musicians, their relatives, producers and DJs have all been gunned down. Whole communities live in fear, and are now demanding action from politicians and police who are accused of protecting the Famo gangsters. Tim Whewell tells the story of a style of music that developed among Basotho migrant workers in the tough world of South African mines. He meets some of Famo's greatest artists - now disgusted by the violence - and talks to the families of victims of a cycle of revenge that the authorities appear unable to end.
Presented and produced by Tim Whewell.
Myanmar: fighting the might of the junta
Myanmar is now in a state of civil war. What started in February 2021 as a mass protest movement against the military coup is now a nationwide armed uprising. The junta is under attack across the country from a network of civilian militias called the People’s Defence Forces who are fighting to restore democracy. The BBC gained rare access to the jungle training camps where young protests are being turned into soldiers. We follow a single mother and a student who have sacrificed everything to join the fight. They're up against a well-trained military that’s willing to use brutal tactics to stay in power. As the death toll mounts and the world looks away, can they restore democracy?
Reporter, Rebecca Henschke.
Produced with Kelvin Brown, Ko Ko Aung and Banyar Kong Janoi.