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Deserts

Andy Kershaw and Lucy Duran explore the music of desert communities, visiting Dubai, the Gobi desert in Mongolia and the far south of Algeria.

For this major series to accompany BBC One's 'Human Planet', Andy Kershaw and Lucy Duran go in search of music from some of the world's remotest, and more familiar locations, visiting many of the places featured in the TV series. This week the focus is on the music of desert communities. Producers: James Parkin and Roger Short. 2/8

Dubai: Andy Kershaw meets the first Emirati singer to record an album in Urdu - a significant moment in Dubai where some 65% of the population are Sub-continent migrant workers. He also visits the labour camps where they live, marvels at an indoor ski resort and climbs the tallest building in the world. Plus there's a session from Desert Heat who deliver their rap in traditional Emirati dress.

Mongolia: Lucy Duran travels deep into the Gobi desert, sets up a recording studio in a ger (traditional Mongolian tent, known in Russia as a yurt) and records various styles of desert song, including the extraordinary two-tone throat singing. Plus there are songs of Holy Mountains in one of the remostest parts of the Gobi desert, and a young artist from Ulaanbaatar who combines throat singing with beat-boxing.

Algeria: Andy Kershaw travels to the far south of Algeria and the small town of Djanet. He marvels at the beauty of this vast desert and listens to music inspired by the Sahara. He meets and records the Bali family and finds them mourning the recent death of their father - who drowned in the desert.

Key moments for the series include a traditional head-hunting song from New Ireland in Papua New Guinea; the mighty voice of Greenland's greatest singer; yodelling in the Swiss Alps; rapping in Cambodia; an Inuit throat-singing duet, recorded by the frozen Arctic Sea; and the secret songs of Burma recorded in the jungle on the border with Thailand.

Available now

1 hour

Last on

Sat 22 Jan 2011 15:00

Music and featured items

  • Algeria

    Duration: 14:10

  • Nabil Othmani & Ensemble

    Toi Desert

    Composer: Nabil Othmani

    • BBC Recording made in Djanet, Algeria.
  • Athmane Bali with his family

    Kaf Noune

    Composer: Athmane Bali

    • Athmane Bali in Musique Plurielle Constantine 2004.
    • Belda Diffusion CD92.
  • Le Group Bali

    Assaruf (Forgiveness)

    Composer: Le Group Bali

    • BBC Recording made in Djanet, Algeria.
  • Le Group Bali

    Djmayagh Dek Yallah (I am praying to Allah to give me the virtue of patience)

    Composer: Le Group Bali

    • BBC Recording made in Djanet, Algeria.
  • Mongolia

    Duration: 25:59

  • Otgontsetseg, Zagd-Ochir, and Nyamdagva

    Goviin Ondor (A tall mountain in the Gobi Desert)

    Composer: Traditional

    • Recorded by the BBC at the Arburd Sands camp, Mongolia, 16th August 2010.
  • Bazarbat and Nyamdagva

    Ider Junchin

    Composer: Traditional

    • Recorded by the BBC at the Arburd Sands camp, Mongolia, 16th August 2010.
  • Adzana

    Tumen Ekh

    Composer: Traditional

    • Recorded by the BBC in the Gobi Desert about 40 kms from the Arburd Sands camp, 17th August 2010.
  • Adzana

    Song to the Holy Mountain

    Composer: Adzana

    • Recorded by the BBC in the Gobi Desert about 40 kms from the Arburd Sands camp, 17th August 2010.
  • Khusugtun

    Mongol

    Composer: Batzorig

    • Recorded by the BBC in at the Choijin Lama Temple Museum in Ulaanbataar, 14th August 2010.
  • Narandelgar Byambaa

    Mongolian Beatboxing

    Composer: Byambaa

    • Recorded by the BBC at the Narantuul Hotel in Ulaanbataar, 18th August 2010.
  • Dubai

    Duration: 28:12

  • Hossam Ramzy

    Oyounik Ya Sattar

    Composer: Trad, Arr. Hossam Ramzy

    • Bedouin Tribal Dance.
    • ARC Music EUCD2047.
  • Adel Farooq

    Sawaan

    Artist: Atif Ali Composer: Atif Ali

    • BBC recording made at the Playback Lounge, Jumeirah Lake Towers, Dubai, 15th September 2010.
  • Adel Farooq and his band

    Bhulaa Na Sakaa

    Composer: Atif Ali

    • Daastaan.
    • White label of forth-coming album.
  • Hossam Ramzy

    Al Majroodah

    Composer: Trad, Arr. Hossam Ramzy

    • Bedouin Tribal Dance.
    • ARC Music EUCD2047.
  • Desert Heat

    Yola

    Composer: Desert Heat

    • BBC Recording made in Dubai, 16th September 2010.
  • Desert Heat

    Dubai My City

    Composer: Desert Heat

    • Private recording given to the BBC by Desert Heat.

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