ABOUT THE PROGRAM
Sound Tracks is a musical adventure -- a new series we are producing for PBS that roams America and the world in search of the most compelling music, musicians and singers. Produced by The Talbot Players and KQED, San Francisco, Sound Tracks tells the stories behind the music and profiles the artists who create it.
The second episode of Sound Tracks aired nationally on PBS on October 5, 2102.
Hosted by public radio's Marco Werman, the show will feature stories about jazz superstar Wynton Marsalis, Scottish folk singer Julie Fowlis (who sings the title track to the animated movie "Brave"), and Africa's most famous living singer and human rights activist, Youssou N'dour. Our musical guests are an emerging band from Iceland, Of Monsters and Men.
The magazine-format show -- with reporters Mirissa Neff, Alexis Bloom, and Arun Rath -- is supported by the National Endowment for the Arts. We've been called "60 Minutes for the MTV generation," but really there is nothing like Sound Tracks on TV -- a spirited show aimed at the young at heart of all ages that combines top-notch journalism with travel, soul-satisfying music and a sense of humor.
Sound Tracks also produces a monthly online series of music videos and interviews for PBS Arts called "Quick Hits" which showcases a range of contemporary artists, including rock singer KT Tunstall, classical pianists Yuja Wang and Helene Grimaud, Brazilian samba star Seu Jorge, and the bands Ozomatli and Dengue Fever. Levon Helm, the legendary drummer and singer in the Band, gave one of his last interviews to "Quick Hits."
We began our Sound Tracks journey with a pilot episode -- presented by Oregon Public Broadcasting -- that aired in January 2010 on PBS. That show, which you can view online, includes stories about a Putin propaganda song, the Nigerian Afrobeat star Fela, and the controversy over the movie Borat and how that led, oddly enough, to the creation of a beautiful symphony. The show closed with a soulful "global hit" song by Portugal's reigning fado queen, Mariza.
The success of our pilot on TV and online led to the creation of "Quick Hits" and to our new TV episode that aired October 5, 2012.
With your support, this is just the beginning of a Sound Tracks series.
Thanks for watching!
Stephen Talbot (The Talbot Players), Executive Producer
and Joanne Elgart Jennings (KQED), Co-Executive Producer
Sound Tracks: Music Without Borders
MEET THE REPORTERS
Marco Werman, Host and Reporter
As senior producer and anchor for Public Radio International's weekday news show The World, Marco Werman brings international news and music to an audience of 2.8 million listeners each week. A global music expert and fan, Marco has produced The World's daily "Global Hit" segment since 1997. He has also produced news for the BBC World Service in West Africa, volunteered for the Peace Corps, and covered international news and music stories on television for PBS's FRONTLINE/World, including his Emmy award-winning story "Libya: Out of the Shadow."
In the Sound Tracks pilot, Marco told the story of Nigerian Afrobeat star Fela Kuti and his son, Seun. In the next episode of Sound Tracks, Marco follows singer Youssou N'dour as he tries to run for president of Senegal.
For Sound Tracks "Quick Hits," Marco has interviewed Italian pop star Jovanotti, Brazil's samba singer Seu Jorge, soul singer Charles Bradley, classical guitarist Milos Karadaglic and rock legend Levon Helm.
Alexis Bloom, Reporter
Alexis Bloom formed a keen sense of the importance of media during her childhood in apartheid South Africa. After graduating from Cambridge University in England and the University of California at Berkeley's Graduate School of Journalism, Alexis became a featured correspondent on PBS's FRONTLINE/World. Her investigative report "Shadows and Lies," about life under Robert Mugabe's dictatorship, was shot undercover in Zimbabwe. She has also worked on a number of FRONTLINE documentaries, as a field producer for National Geographic in Papua New Guinea, Mongolia and Guyana, and as co-producer of NOVA's Emmy Award-winning "Rx for Survival."
Alexis was a director and producer of "This Emotional Life," the 4-part PBS NOVA psychology series that aired in 2010.
For "Quick Hits," Alexis has interviewed concert pianists Helene Grimaud and Yuja Wang.
For Sound Tracks she reported the story behind the Russian propaganda song, "A Man Like Putin," and joins Wynton Marsalis and his Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra as they hit the road to inspire a new generation of jazz fans.
Arun Rath, Reporter
Arun Rath is an award-winning veteran of public broadcasting whose beat has ranged from the media industry to the Iraq war to world music. He was director of NPR's Talk of the Nation before taking over as senior producer of On the Media with its re-launch in 2000. During his tenure the program tripled its audience and won a number of awards, including a Peabody.
In 2005, Arun became senior editor of PRI's Studio 360, before being lured to television by PBS's FRONTLINE. Arun has reported and produced three films for FRONTLINE, including the Emmy-nominated "Rules of Engagement," about the deaths of 24 Iraqi civilians after a roadside bombing in Haditha.
Arun currently hosts FRONTLINE's podcast series and reports for PRI's The World.
Arun is a self-described music obsessive who loves classical, jazz, funk, soul, and traditional Indian music. In the Sound Tracks pilot, he told the incredible story of how the controversial movie, "Borat," led to the creation of a beautiful symphony for Kazakhstan. For "Quick Hits," he's interviewed banjo player Abigail Washburn, jazz trumpeter Tom Harrell and sitar player Anoushka Shankar. In the next edition of Sound Tracks, Arun introduces our musical guests, Of Monsters and Men.
Mirissa Neff, Reporter
Hip-shaking crowds in San Francisco, New York, Paris, and Rio know Mirissa Neff as "DJ Felina." She spins the world, treating fans to Brazilian batucadas, gypsy electronica, and other musical treasures collected from her travels. San Francisco's 7x7 Magazine named her "the city's best mood-setter."
By day, Mirissa is a freelance designer, photographer and journalist, interviewing a range of world music luminaries. She worked in the publicity department of Six Degrees Records and as a disc jockey for campus radio at her alma matter, Amherst College. For many years, she was the art director for San Francisco's largest alternative newsweekly, the San Francisco Bay Guardian. Recently, she has begun reporting music stories for PRI's The World.
Miirssa has been a major "Quick Hits" contributor, interviewing KT Tunstall, Dengue Fever, Ozomatli, Seun Kuti, Meklit Hadero, Piers Faccini and the Carolina Chocolate Drops.
She introduced our "global hit" star Mariza in our Sound Tracks pilot, and in our next episode she journeys to the Scottish highlands to meet folk singer, Julie Fowlis, from the movie, "Brave."