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Play now 55 mins


55 minutes
First broadcast:
Saturday 06 March 2010

The best of this week's Strand, including Mukoma wa Ngugi talking about his first novel 'Nairobi Heat', a look at a new exhibition at the New York Public Library of the Performing Arts and the extraordinary story of Ion Barladeanu, a 63 year old Romanian artist.

Also, the new Karachi literary festival, the touring exhibition devoted to Ife art, Afghan author Atiq Rahimi and Jerry Dammers, leader of The Specials in the 1980s (pictured here).

  • Nairobi Heat

    Nairobi Heat

    Harriett talks to the writer Mukoma wa Ngugi about his first novel, Nairobi Heat, a detective novel in which an African-American policeman has to travel to Kenya to solve a crime and finds himself questioning his own roots and identity.

    Nairobi Heat is published by Penguin

  • The Jazz Loft

    The Jazz Loft

    A new exhibition at the New York Public Library of the Performing Arts offers insights into the midnight ramblings of some of the greatest jazz musicians ever, including Thelonious Monk, Sonny Rollins, Zoot Sims, Charles Mingus and Roy Haynes, who were all recorded and photographed by Eugene Smith, as they jammed after hours at his loft. The building on Sixth Avenue, in the heart of Manhattan's flower district, was open to all comers, as long as you could play. Andrew Purcell reports.

  • From Homeless to Champagne in Paris....

    From Homeless to Champagne in Paris....

    Ion Barladeanu is a 63 year old Romanian artist whose journey has taken him from the streets of Bucharest to being the toast of European art galleries. Currently wowing the art scene in Paris with his first one-man exhibition, Barladeanu was homeless for more than twenty years, literally living on the streets for much of that time. Thanks to the accidental discovery of his politically brave and irreverent collages in 2007 and a recent documentary, The World According to Ion B, about his life and work, he is now a household name in his own country.

    The film-maker Alexander Nanau, who met and befriended the artist two years ago, tells The Strand the extraordinary story of this self-made artist whose direct and humourous work gets under the skin of Romania before and after Ceaucescu as few have done before.

  • New Karachi Literary Festival

    Pakistani writing is currently in a boom period with authors such as Mohsin Hamid, Daniyal Mueenuddin and Kamila Shamise gaining international critical acclaim. Now Karachi, one of the country's biggest and most diverse cities, is to host its first festival of literature on the 20th of March. Harriet speaks to one of the event's headline authors, Mohammed Hanif, to find out more.

  • The Kingdom of Ife

    The Kingdom of Ife

    The legendary city of Ife is regarded as the spiritual heartland of the Yoruba people. From the 12th to the 15th centuries it flourished in West Africa, in what is now modern Nigeria and developed arts and culture including, most famously, highly refined and naturalistic sculptures. For the first time, there's an international touring exhibition devoted to Ife art and Dr. Mayo Adediran, Director of Museums in Nigeria explains the significance of these objects.

    Click here to see more at the British Museum
  • Atiq Rahimi

    Atiq Rahimi

    Afghan author Atiq Rahimi won France's top literary prize with his first novel written in French - The Patience Stone, which has now been translated into English. He talks to The Strand about why he is driven to write about the search for solace in the midst of physical destruction and how he entered the mind of an Afghan woman living under strict Islamicist rules.

  • Jerry Dammers

    Jerry Dammers

    As leader of The Specials in the 1980s, Jerry Dammers brought a brand new British shine to Jamaican ska music. Now he's leading an 18 piece big band paying tribute to psychedelic jazz pioneer Sun Ra. He talks to Mark about his old group's political message of anti-racism and his hopes for his new band.


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