Download 10 short but powerful BBC World Service music podcasts
September was music month on Witness, the BBC World Service programme that finds people who have lived through historic events and broadcasts their stories. Catch up with the best of the documentaries, each nine-minutes long, by listening online or downloading them as podcasts.
American Beatles super-fan Judith Kristen remembers February 1964 like it was just yesterday. Then aged 15, she was one of thousands who met the group at JFK airport in New York City when they landed in the US for the first time. She recounts her vivid memories of that landmark day, including how she managed to bust into the Beatles' hotel, in this wonderful documentary.
2. Buena Vista Social Club
It was the album that drew more global attention to Cuban son music than perhaps any other record in the country's history and cemented the legacy of the musicians involved. Here, laoud player Barbarito Torres provides fascinating details of the ground-breaking recording session in Havana and assesses the album's impact. "It was fantastic," he says, "imagine us Cuban peasants playing in Carnegie Hall!"
3. The First Glastonbury Festival
Michael Eavis certainly had no idea, way back in September 1970, quite what he was getting himself into when he first staged a festival on the farm he'd inherited. Here, he's interviewed about the inaugural Glastonbury, explains his (and his cows') love of pop music and says the event was an attempt to rid himself of debt. For more insight, read 6 surprising facts about the first-ever Glastonbury.
4. The Attack on Fela Kuti
In 1977, afrobeat pioneer Fela Kuti was considered to be about the most politically dangerous man in his home country of Nigeria - to the government, at least. They ordered the army to storm his compound in Lagos in an attack that resulted in his mother, also an activist, being thrown out of the window. She never recovered and died the following year. A former wife of Kuti's recalls that fateful day.
5. The King of Highlife
Before Fela Kuti, Africa was jiving to a different kind of beat - highlife. A key figure in its history was the gentlemanly Ghanaian trumpet player and songwriter E. T. Mensah, whose music became the soundtrack to the pan-Africa independence movement in the 1950s. As we find out, highlife can trace its roots back to the turn of the century, but it exploded when E. T. made it swing.
6. The Auschwitz Cellist
The first episode to be broadcast in the Witness music month is perhaps the most extraordinary of them all. In 1943, cellist Anita Lasker-Wallfisch was sent to Auschwitz, aged just 18. She survived because she was recruited to play in a makeshift, all-female orchestra set up in the concentration camp and led by the niece of Gustav Mahler. She shares her remarkable story.
7. Willie Nelson's Farm Aid
"And now! Live! For Farm Aid, and a concert for America, here's Willie Nelson!" And it wasn't just Nelson who performed at the 1985 benefit gig (the first of its kind) for famers hit hard by a devastating recession in the early part of the decade - 50 artists to 80,000 people, including Nelson's co-organisers Neil Young and John Mellencamp. Nelson reveals how it was Bob Dylan who inspired the concert.
8. The Heyday of Somali Music
"Sometimes you were singing a love song, but really you were pointing out something to the government," says Maryam Mursal, a pioneering superstar singer in 1970s Somalia. Musicians were employed by the socialist state and were seen as crucial to nation-building. But many fell foul of the regime, including Mursal. She became Somalia's first female taxi driver, before fleeing to Denmark.
9. Russia's First DJ
Russia's first radio DJ, Seva Novgorodsev, went on air on the BBC Russian Service in 1977, at the height of the Cold War. Over the years, his informal pop music shows gained millions of fans throughout the Soviet Union, very few of whom had heard songs from the UK and American Top 10. "I knew people were bored stiff in Russia," he explains, "especially the young people." He retired in 2015.
10. The Origins of Ska Music
Before reggae, there was ska - a great Jamaican music form that came from humble beginnings just as the country was winning its independence. Many of the early ska stars grew up in an orphanage in Kingston, The Alpha Boys school, which was run by nuns keen to teach the children music. One of those children was Eddie 'Tan Tan' Thornton, who tells his intriguing story here.