7 episodes

The Guardian’s Chris Michael explores incredible stories from around the world about when music shook history. Each episode focuses on a turning point in a city’s story, as told through a song that sparked a moment – and reveals the deeper social and political issues that shaped these pivotal events

Reverberat‪e‬ The Guardian

    • Music
    • 5.0 • 2 Ratings

The Guardian’s Chris Michael explores incredible stories from around the world about when music shook history. Each episode focuses on a turning point in a city’s story, as told through a song that sparked a moment – and reveals the deeper social and political issues that shaped these pivotal events

    Reverberate, episode 6: The plastic people of Prague

    Reverberate, episode 6: The plastic people of Prague

    The Plastic People of the Universe were a group of underground Czech psych-rockers known more for their outlandish stage presence than for their songs. After the Communist invasion in 1968, however, they became a thorn in the side of the repressive regime for their subversive messages, not to mention some truly ingenious ways of defying the ban on live gigs. So the authorities decided to put the band on trial – an event that backfired spectacularly. Paul Wilson, a young Canadian swept up in the history of the Velvet Revolution when he became the group’s singer, and Martin Machovec, a historian of the Prague underground, take us inside the courtroom at that crucial moment when a rock band inspired a nation to rise up and defeat totalitarianism

    • 32 min
    Reverberate, episode 5: Birmingham's bhangra revolution

    Reverberate, episode 5: Birmingham's bhangra revolution

    Racism, riots and political upheaval seemed to be spreading like wildfire in Britain in the 1980s. In that increasingly hostile environment, the ‘daytimers’ – mostly south Asian teenagers who skipped school to attend daytime raves – began to mix their Punjabi roots with western influences, creating a new type of music: bhangra. And one song about a Birmingham street crystallised it all. This musical revolution is told to us by the people who lived it, who bought the cassettes and bunked off classes to attend the parties: academic Rajinder Dudrah, DJ Boy Chana and others whose story is of a collective musical voice that spoke back against hatred

    • 20 min
    Reverberate, episode 4: the bloody symphony of Leningrad

    Reverberate, episode 4: the bloody symphony of Leningrad

    In 1942, the city we now call St Petersburg had been under siege by Nazi troops for months. With hundreds of thousands starving to death and the prospect of victory looking bleak, Soviet leaders tried what might now seem an unlikely attempt to salvage morale: they commissioned Dmitri Shostakovich to compose a grand symphony. The jaw-dropping true story of how Shostakovich’s seventh symphony was eventually performed is brought to life by Marina Frolova-Walker, a professor of music history at the University of Cambridge. The Russian music journalist and academic Artemy Troitsky goes on to recount how the triumph of the so-called Leningrad Symphony against all odds has today become a key part of Vladimir Putin’s mythology for Russia

    • 29 min
    Reverberate, episode 3: the call and response that changed Cairo

    Reverberate, episode 3: the call and response that changed Cairo

    Ten years ago the Arab spring spread into north Africa’s biggest country as more than a million Egyptians, enraged by police brutality and a collapsing economy, took over Tahrir Square – the heart of Cairo’s police state. It was Ramy Essam’s moment. In a remarkable communion with the crowd, his spine-tingling song, Irhal, became the rallying cry for an entire generation. And when the dictator Hosni Mubarak resigned, they couldn’t believe their success – but nor could they predict what would happen next. Ramy and the writer Mona Seif, who covered the events firsthand, take us back to those fateful days when Egypt, and the entire Arab world, chose its future

    • 29 min
    Reverberate, episode 2: Rick Astley versus the dictator of Panama

    Reverberate, episode 2: Rick Astley versus the dictator of Panama

    Christmas, 1989: the White House has sent troops to depose Manuel Noriega. But the Panamanian dictator has holed up in the Vatican embassy. So the US military turns to a new ‘psy-ops’ tool: it points huge loudspeakers at the embassy and begins blaring rock music, with pointed titles such as Van Halen’s Panama and Rick Astley’s Never Gonna Give You Up. A young translator named Enrique Jelenszky, who was with Noriega when the music began, takes us inside the dictator’s final moments in the embassy. Combined with rare insight about psychological operations from US army historian Jared M Tracy, a new picture emerges about what really happened when the US used music as a weapon

    • 28 min
    Reverberate, episode 1: Hong Kong's accidental pop star

    Reverberate, episode 1: Hong Kong's accidental pop star

    It was the stuff of dreams: in 2013, Kashy Keegan was an unknown singer-songwriter in a sleepy English town when, out of nowhere, he became the voice of Hong Kong’s nascent pro-democracy movement. Alongside Vivienne Chow, a journalist from Hong Kong, and Edith Chong, a scriptwriter for the HKTV television station at the heart of the protests, Kashy takes us into those incredible early days of Hong Kong’s fight to stay free

    • 24 min

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