Carla Bruni, Ana Matronic and Sheila Hancock to front spring shows in Radio 2 female-led line-up

These shows are presented by some truly wonderful names. They will give a fascinating in-depth and personal look into these specialist music genres as only Radio 2 can.Bob Shennan, Controller, BBC Radio 2, 6 Music, Asian Network and Director, BBC Music
Date: 08.04.2014     Last updated: 23.04.2014 at 16.49
Category: Radio 2
This spring, BBC Radio 2 will be broadcast a number of programmes fronted by leading international female presenters from the world of music and stage.

Bob Shennan, Controller of BBC Radio 2, 6 Music, Asian Network and Director of BBC Music, says: “These shows are presented by some truly wonderful names. They will give a fascinating in-depth and personal look into these specialist music genres as only Radio 2 can.”

Carla Bruni, the singer-songwriter and model, presents a special three-part series, taking listeners on a tour of Paris and sharing her favourite French chansons in Carla Bruni’s Postcards From Paris (Wednesday 21 May, 10pm-11pm).

Recorded from the same studio where the former First Lady of France wrote her four albums, Bruni takes listeners to the heart of French music, telling her own musical story and playing some of her favourite songs, including Édith Piaf, Charles Trenet, Georges Brassens, François Baudot, Charles Aznavour and Françoise Hardy.

Carla Bruni says: "When you write in French, that's what makes it Chansons Françaises. English has a lot of rhythm. Italian has a lot of melody. The good point with French is that it has a lot of description."

Scissor Sister Ana Matronic presents a four-part series which sees her delve into her record collection to bring listeners an hour of disco delights (starting on Wednesday 16 April, 10-11pm). Ana focuses on cover songs, spinning tunes from artists such as Amii Stewart, Boney M and Fern Kinney.

She says: "I had so much fun on New Year's Eve playing some of my favourite disco tracks, Radio 2 have asked me back for more. I'll be mining the rare groove depths, indulging guilty pleasures, exploring the boundaries of the genre, and getting down with the greats of the disco age.”

The inimitable star of stage and screen, Sheila Hancock, will share music that makes listeners think in Sheila Hancock’s Music With A Message (Monday 5 May, 10pm-11pm).

Across the generations, music has been written for general, even background listening, as pure entertainment - some for dancing to and some for more serious, considered listening. Likewise, some song lyrics are for singing along to and others are meant to be heard and thought about. In the two programmes for Radio 2, Sheila will be playing records that, when they finish, you need to think about what you’ve heard. The track list will include Billie Holiday, Pete Seeger, Harry Belafonte, Sting, Bob Dylan and Amy Winehouse.

Sheila says: “I’ll be playing music which I hope will make listeners think, that can possibly change their thinking – it’s music with ideas, music with a message.”

And in celebration of a female music legend, journalist Paul Sexton travels to Nashville to meet the queen of country music, Dolly Parton, in Dolly’s Jukebox, (Monday 21 April, 8-10pm). This two-hour special sees Dolly play and discuss her favourite tracks and artists, both in country music and far beyond. "When I get a chance to sit down and listen to music, I just love to pick out some of those old albums," she says in the programme. "Music is still number one with me. I love that I can make a living, but it's not the money. I love to work."

She tells Paul about the heroes and heroines that inspired her own extraordinary journey to superstardom, such as George Jones and Kitty Wells, and tells listeners what she makes of her goddaughter Miley Cyrus and how she writes songs herself: "I wouldn't know a hit if it jumped up and bit me in the butt, I just know what I like," she states.

There are some surprising revelations among her record choices. Listeners will find out what she thought of the recent country duet You Ain’t Dolly (And You Ain’t Porter) in which her name was part of the lyric, and she talks about her long-time friendship with fellow country figurehead Kenny Rogers. She will also share songs by her favourite new British artist; the 1960s soul legend she loves; a favourite UK singer-songwriter of the Seventies; and the current country star that reminds Dolly of herself. If that wasn’t enough, to top it all off there will be exclusive previews of tracks from her forthcoming album.

Plus, Moira Stuart continues her Sunday night show (11.00pm-midnight) with the best in easy listening and timeless standards performed by the greatest artists from the past 60 years - including Jimmy Durante, Rosemary Clooney, The Manhattan Transfer and Kurt Elling.