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The Cultural Frontline

The Cultural Frontline

Podcast The Cultural Frontline
Podcast The Cultural Frontline

The Cultural Frontline


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  • Aanchal Malhotra: Art in India's 75th year of independence
    75 years of independence, also means it's the 75th anniversary of partition between India and Pakistan. Author and historian Aanchal Malhotra gives reporter Paul Waters a tour of Delhi's Old Fort, or Purana Qila, searching for traces or commemoration of the huge refugee camp for Muslims there in 1947. She asks if India is yet ready to mark the more complex and painful aspects of its recent history in public art? Playwrights and artists Amitesh Grover and Purva Naresh create art that challenges their audience to think and Indian society to confront uncomfortable truths. They share what inspires them and what they see as the threats to freedom of expression in India today. Writer Annie Zaidi talks about her new book, City of Incident, and the uncertain position of vocal, visible women in contemporary India. And celebrated folk singer Malini Awasthi reveals the art that changed her life and set her on a mission to ensure that traditional songs, culture and languages survive as India evolves. She was performing at the Kalinga Literary Festival in Bhubaneswar in association with the British Council. Presenter: Anu Anand Producer: Paul Waters (Phot: Aanchal Malhotra. Credit: Aanchal Malhotra)
  • Music, politics and identity
    Nikan Khosravi, founder of Iranian heavy metal band Confess, was arrested in 2015 for his defiant lyrics and imprisoned in the country’s notorious Evin jail - charged with blasphemy and anti-government propaganda. He later fled the country, gained political asylum in Norway and, undeterred, formed a new Iranian-Norwegian line-up, with an unflinching new album - Revenge At All Costs. Nikan talks to Anu Anand about his music and his experiences Plus, Tamer Nafar – the Palestinian hip-hop pioneer who grew up in Israel in a city of Palestinians and Jews, and raps in Arabic, Hebrew, and English about politics, identity, women’s rights, and social justice. He tells Anu about the influence of his background and US hip hop, and his new track, The Beat Never Goes Off: recorded with 12 year-old Gaza-based rapper MC Abdul - despite being physically separated. And LGBTQ+ rap. Whilst the community don’t always feel accepted or represented in rap due to the homophobia and misogyny sometimes present. Reporter Jaja Muhammad talks to two artists who boldly express identity in rap - agender New York rapper Angel Haze, and non-binary, Johannesburg-based electronic rapper, Mx Blouse. And Yvonne Chaka Chaka, ‘The Princess of Africa’ - speaks to Mpho Lakaje about overcoming poverty and finding a new self through her music. (Photo: Nikan Khosravi. Credit: Eric Bransborg)
  • Black Speculative Arts
    Author, editor and publisher Sheree Renée Thomas celebrates the global moment the Black Speculative Arts movement is having. Traditionally in popular culture Science Fiction, Fantasy and Speculative Arts have long been considered the domain of white men. Yet, contrary to popular belief, Black artists have been creating groundbreaking work in this space from the very beginning of these genres. Sheree and scholar Susana Morris re-evaluate and recognise the forgotten or underappreciated names that, without, the community would not be as recognised as it is today. Author Nisi Shawl gives us context of what it was like to be a science fiction writer when Black Speculative Arts was not considered as part of the traditional ‘canon’. They explain, from a personal angle, how the community grew and developed into the worldwide phenomenon that it is today. In 2018, the Marvel movie Black Panther was released. After just one month it had made over a billion dollars in profit and became cherished by fans across the world. This was a watershed moment for Black Speculative Arts as it proved that there was a huge audience for the work. However, without the independent publishers allowing artists to create their work for decades on the fringes, the movie never could have happened. With the help of Andrea Hairston, Sheree explores the importance of these presses, able to create exciting and unique work, that helped usher in a new wave of artists that are taking on the mainstream like never before. Dr Reynaldo Anderson is a curator and exhibitor of Black Speculative Arts. He talks to Sheree how one exhibition in 2015 has gone on to become a global movement with artists now across Europe, America and Africa. Image: A picture designed for the recent exhibition in New York of the Black Speculative Arts Movement. Credit: John Jennings, Black Speculative Arts
  • The gift that changed me
    Tumi Morake speaks to global stars and listeners about the gifts of art that have inspired them. Lira is one of South Africa’s bestselling pop stars. She has won multiple South African Music awards and was the first African woman to have a Barbie made in her likeness. She spoke to Tumi about how her love of painting was inspired by the gift of a piece of work from a talented South African artist. The dancer Carlos Acosta has travelled the world with his art, from his early love of breakdancing in the streets of Havana to becoming the first black principal dancer of the Royal Ballet. He spoke to the Cultural Frontline about the classic book that caught his imagination and helped him tell his own story. South Korean violin virtuoso Min Kym talks about the deep grief she experienced when her rare Stradivarius violin was stolen, and how seeing a painting by Vincent Van Gogh called 'Long Grasses with Butterflies' was the start of her recovery from depression. Plus we hear from our listeners in Kenya, Brazil and beyond about the art that has changed them during the pandemic. Photo: Min Kym, Lira and Carlos Acosta. Credit: Roberto Ricciuti/Getty, Otarel Music and Man Yee Lee)
  • International Film: Joana Hadjithomas and Lin-Manuel Miranda
    This week on The Cultural Frontline, Anu Anand talks to Joana Hadjithomas, who along with her filmmaking partner Khalil Joreige, use their art to question the role of memory and history. Joana tells us about her own personal journals and tapes from the early 1980s, made during the Lebanese Civil War, which inspired her latest film Memory Box. The award winning actor, playwright, director and film producer Lin-Manuel Miranda, known for his musicals In the Heights, the smash hit Hamilton and his latest Tick Tick…Boom, shares with us the musical that first influenced him – Les Misérables. With increasing tension between the studios of India’s film industry and Narendra Modi’s BJP government, amidst reports of growing Islamophobia across the country, writer and cultural commentator Sandip Roy explains the history of the relationship between the Indian government and the country’s film industry And Filippo Scotti, who stars in the new autobiographical film, The Hand of God, by the Academy Award winning Italian director Paolo Sorrentino, speaks about his role and his admiration for Paolo as a filmmaker. (Photo: Lin-Manuel Miranda. Credit: Monica Schipper)

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