Slow Radio

By BBC Radio 3

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An antidote to today’s frenzied world. Step back, let go, immerse yourself: it’s time to go slow.A lo-fi celebration of pure sound.

Episode Date
Sounds of the Earth
Welcome to another Slow Radio podcast. In this episode, there are the mesmerising sounds of storm Erik tearing through the rigging and halyards on the boats in Blyth harbour, Northumberland. We glide to Ouse Washes in the Fenland country where bewick swans, coots, lapwings, reed buntings and skylarks fill the air with song. And in the evening heavy seas of Gossabrough on Yell Island, Northern Shetland, there are eiders, Arctic terns, fulmars, skylarks and wrens. The music includes Tom Waits’s No One Knows I’m Gone performed by The Unthanks, Troyte (Elgar’s evocation of a thunderstorm), Hoagy Carmichael’s Skylark, Alan Hovhaness’s Prayer of St. Gregory and Jim Ghedi’s folk masterwork Fortingall Yew.
Mar 22, 2019
Three Gardens in Trinidad
Radio 3 transports listeners to Trinidad, just off the coast of Venezuela, immersing them in the sounds of the Caribbean island, with writer and actor Elisha Efua Bartels as a guide. Through the sounds of three Port-of Spain gardens - her home by the river in Diego Martin, a garden in the lush valleys of St Ann’s, to a house up in the hills, Elisha reflects on the rich tropical sounds of the island. Frogs, hummingbirds, parrots and occasional rainfall form a slowly shifting, vivid soundscape. We pass through cycles of warm sunshine, then heavy tropical rain, each change reflected in the types of calls we hear from the birdlife and frogs. These aren’t rarefied idylls though - on a warm evening parrots noisily flock through, disturbing the peace. Sometimes a radio or the sound of a party drifts up from the valley below; dogs bark, cockerels crow. Elisha describes the extent to which she’s both sustained by, and living at the mercy of, the wildlife around her – the parrots so loud she can’t hear the TV, the frogs soothing her to sleep at night - and how the sounds evoke a strong sense of 'home' for her.
Mar 08, 2019
Sounds of the Earth
A montage of music and natural sounds from ravens on the Norwegian tundra around Tromso; upwelling of cold water currents at night in the deep waters of the Pacific Ocean off the Galapagos islands; a MacGregor’s bowerbird in a New Guinean rainforest displaying its vocal talents to attract a mate, and the splashes of ice laden water moving and lapping on the shore of a river on Hokkaido Island, permeated by distant calls from goldeneye and whooper swans passing overhead.
Feb 25, 2019
Sound Walk: Winter Wanderer
Travel writer Horatio Clare walks in the Black Forest in Germany, thinking about the Romantic tradition of the Wanderer, and observing the sights and sounds of the forest
Feb 14, 2019
I Have Walked by Sweet Streams
The slow build of a midsummer dawn chorus in Snowdonia, North Wales, interwoven with the sounds of the brooks, streams, and rivers that creep through the hillsides down to the lake by the village: this programme is a tribute to the landscape and past poets of the heart of Snowdonia. An isolated farmhouse near Trawsfynydd was the birthplace of the iconic Welsh shepherd-poet Hedd Wyn. But there were hundreds more like him in this mountainous corner of Wales: the sons and daughters of tenant farmers, artisans and workers, who left school at 14 but were nurtured by the community, the chapel and the eisteddfod system, and emerged as writers skilled in the craft of strict metre poetry. They left behind englynion – short poems in restricted syllables (like haiku), that often describe the landscape. Punctuating the serene Trawsfynydd soundscape, we intersperse englynion, by poets from the area, hearing them first in Welsh, and then in English. The poems, written a century ago and further back, draw on ancient traditions, and distil visual images into gems. Hedd Wyn’s most admired is translated as: “I have walked by sweet streams in the nervous wind of the hill pastures, the sunlight a white arm about the old neck of the mountains.” The impression is of a landscape haunted and re-populated by the poets that were moved during their lifetimes to write about their extraordinary surroundings – land they often worked hard on and tended themselves, and knew intimately. With readings by poet and musician Gwyneth Glyn
Feb 08, 2019
Sounds of the Earth
A montage of music and natural sounds from a nightingale singing in a reforested WWI battlefield in Belgium, a sunrise over Wolverton Creek in north Norfolk with curlew and pink-footed geese, the Ngorongoro mountain crater in Tanzania with tropical boubou and weaver birds, and a national park Karnataka, India where you'll hear croaking frogs and wild gaur bellowing to one another.
Feb 05, 2019
Into the Forest - Squam Lake, New Hampshire, USA
A montage of sounds from the forests around Squam Lake, New Hampshire during the Fall, including the songs of the Carolina wren, red-breasted nuthatch and rufous-sided towhie; a Northern flicker tapping insistently on a tree trunk; red squirrels and chipmunks foraging for food, a pair of loons calling distantly from the misty lake and a barred owl hooting as it begins its nocturnal hunt.
Jan 25, 2019
Cattle Blessing on the Burren
Irish cows make their way up to the winter grazing grounds high above Galway Bay
Jan 24, 2019
Bach Walks: Schierke to Brocken Summit
Episode 2/5. In 1705, the 20-year-old Johann Sebastian Bach set off from his home in Arnstadt to walk 250 miles to Lübeck, there to meet his hero, the composer and organist Dietrich Buxtehude. In the second of five "slow-radio" walks in which writer Horatio Clare searches for his footsteps - and his ghost - the putative route takes him into the Harz Mountains and up to its highest point, the Brocken Summit.
Jan 24, 2019
Bach walks
Horatio Clare retraces the 20-year-old JS Bach's 250-mile journey to visit his hero Buxtehude in Lubeck. Episode 1 of 5. This is a repeat of an episode originally published in December 2017.
Jan 17, 2019
A festive reindeer wonderland
Have yourself a serene little Radio 3 Christmas with the sounds of reindeer, festive music and a secret, enchanted wood. This special edition of the Slow Radio Podcast comprises two very different audio recordings. The first is of reindeer, and more of them than you’d need to pull even a very high profile sleigh. No, this recording, contributed by BBC Four, is of 2,500 of the creatures as they slowly migrate, clinking their bells and eating. And the reindeer are followed by a December sunrise recording made by Chris Watson of Holystone North Wood in Northumberland. Listen out for tawny owls, chaffinches, blue tits, robins and carrion crows.
Dec 20, 2018
Divine love of the monastery
Benedictine monks speak about their experiences of divine love against a background of chant and sounds that evoke the peace and serenity of the monastery. This episode of Slow Radio was originally podcasted in October 2017. We're grateful to the monks of Pluscarden Abbey for access to their collections of plainsong.
Dec 20, 2018
Monks and meditation
Benedictine monks speak about how they find focus, against a background of chant and sounds that evoke the peace and serenity of the monastery. This episode of Slow Radio was originally podcasted in October 2017. We're grateful to the monks of Pluscarden Abbey for access to their collections of plainsong.
Dec 20, 2018
Living and working in a monastery
Benedictine monks meditate on the subject of work - from cooking to weaving and beekeeping - against a background of chant and sounds that evoke the peace and serenity of the monastery. This episode of Slow Radio was originally podcasted in October 2017. We're grateful to the monks of Pluscarden Abbey for access to their collections of plainsong.
Dec 20, 2018
Wordless prayer
Monks from Downside, Belmont and Pluscarden Abbeys meditate on the subject of prayer, against a background of chant and sounds that evoke the peace and serenity of the monastery. This episode of Slow Radio was originally podcasted in October 2017. We're grateful to the monks of Pluscarden Abbey for access to their collections of plainsong.
Dec 20, 2018
The silence of the monastery
Monks from Downside, Belmont and Pluscarden Abbeys meditate on the nature of silence, against a background of chant and sounds that evoke the peace and serenity of the monastery. This episode of Slow Radio was originally podcasted in October 2017. We're grateful to the monks of Pluscarden Abbey for access to their collections of plainsong.
Dec 20, 2018
Midnight at the Oasis
Kalahari means ‘large thirst’ in the local language and between November and February summer temperatures can reach well over 40 degrees centigrade. To avoid the dry desiccating heat much of the wildlife has adopted nocturnal habits. Wildlife sound recordist Chris Watson captures the changing soundscape from dusk to dawn, when you can see very little but hear everything; from the close up sounds of insects to the far-carrying contact calls of spotted hyenas. Producer Sarah Blunt
Dec 06, 2018
The Last Elfdalians
Spoken in the remote forest region of Älvdalen - a place thick with forest and steep valleys - Elfdalian used to be the main language of the area, but Swedish has increasingly become dominant and few young people speak it today. In this slow radio edit, we hear a collage of forest sounds and local voices, travelling through Älvdalen, exploring some of the mysteries of the language and its links to Sweden's ancient, Viking past.
Nov 29, 2018
Into the Forest – Sherwood Forest
Step into Sherwood Forest at night with tawny owls calling to each other in the trees. As daylight comes, a flock of long tailed tits forages through the branches.
Nov 22, 2018
Sounds of the Earth
Nestle for a while with coots, moorhens and bearded tits from a reed-bed in Humberside, clapper larks rising up from the grasslands of the Kalahari, autumnal sounds of squirrels and nuthatches from the woodlands in Virginia and a spooky Hallowe’en soundscape from a churchyard in Bedfordshire. And there are short excerpts of music by Elgar, John Barry, Amy Beach, Steeleye Span, Edward MacDowell and the Ahmad Sham Sufi Qawwali Group.
Nov 18, 2018
Armistice Sonic Memorials
The sounds of battlefields across the world today – from the Somme to the USA, and Afghanistan to Vietnam. Presented by the BBC’s former special correspondent, Allan Little.
Nov 10, 2018
Walking Through Time
A meditation on the meaning of time, whilst wandering through the largest collection of clocks in the country.
Nov 01, 2018
A walk in the New Forest
Calming birdsong and the crunch of leaves from the New Forest in spring.
Oct 25, 2018
Sounds of the Earth
Escape from the frenzy of today's world with the dawn chorus from an orchard in the Cotswolds, warblers and skylarks in a Japanese paddy field, and the sounds that accompany the sunset over Florida's Everglades.
Oct 18, 2018
A moment of calm in Gwydyr Forest
Get surrounded by nature - birdsong, rustling leaves and the stillness of the forest.
Oct 11, 2018
Forgotten Sounds
The music of typewriters, steam engines, foundries and looms. These previously-familiar, now long-forgotten sounds transport us back in time, evoking memories, and creating a strangely meditative effect. Composer Iain Chambers creates a radiophonic sequence from the huge recording archive of the pan-EU Sounds of Changes project, a collaboration between 6 major European museums to document the huge change within our acoustic landscape.
Oct 04, 2018
Slow sheep in Southern Spain
Writer Chris Stewart takes us to meet some shepherds in the mountains of Alpujarras, plus introduces us to some of his own sheep. Featuring music from Nathaniel Mann.
Jul 01, 2018
The woods are the setting for a magical late night duet between a musician and a nightingale. Verity Sharp eavesdrops on shakuhachi player Clive Bell and an unseen yet vocal co-performer.
May 27, 2018
A late night trip across Kabukicho, Tokyo’s entertainment district
Nick Luscombe heads out for a late night trip across ‘sleepless town’, Tokyo’s ancient entertainment district, known for it’s bright lights, late night drinking dens and seedy back streets. Armed with his recorder and a local friend for guidance, Nick captures the sound of an all night batting range, late night video game parlours, robot restaurants and Tokyo’s underground as well as the odd character of the night. Excerpts of this recording were originally broadcast on Late Junction on the 24th April 2018.
May 20, 2018
A visit to a snowy forest near Oslo
Renowned artist, field recordist and environmentalist Jana Winderen has returned to record natural sounds in this area for many years. In this recording you can hear her capture an icy, dripping brook and hibernating tadpoles beneath the snow. Originally broadcast on Late Junction on BBC Radio 3.
May 13, 2018
Nick Luscombe’s Japanese journey
A hyper-real sonic journey through Japan's multifaceted soundscapes. With recordings of the natural environment, human activity, domestic sounds and noisy video arcades plus many of the wonderful ceremonies that are intrinsic to modern Japan. All captured by Nick Luscombe over 20 years.
May 06, 2018
Bach Walks
In 1705, a young composer embarked on an epic journey to meet his musical hero. Johann Sebastian Bach was just 20 years old when he set out on foot to walk the 250 miles to Lübeck, home to the great composer and organist Dietrich Buxtehude. Horatio Clare retraces the young composer’s steps in an immersive episode of BBC Radio 3’s Slow Radio podcast. This episode of Slow Radio is adapted from Bach Walks, a five-part series on BBC Radio 3. For more information and to listen again, visit the Radio 3 website.
Dec 24, 2017
Dementia voices
People with dementias and their carers talk movingly about their everyday lives. This edition of our podcast is a collaboration with Wellcome Trust’s Created out of Mind - an interdisciplinary team of scientists, artists, musicians, broadcasters and clinicians. The voices were originally recorded by Susanna Howard as part of a series of podcasts called Talking Life.
Dec 17, 2017
Sounds of a mountain climb in the Lake District
The poet Helen Mort and her friend Andrew walk from The Old Dungeon Ghyll - a famous hikers and climbers pub in Great Langdale - up to Raven Crag where they climb Middle Fell Buttress on a very wintery day at the end of July.
Dec 11, 2017
An immersive experience of the British countryside
The sounds of a walk along Offa's Dyke, with Horatio Clare.
Dec 03, 2017
A journey along the Sacred River
Sounds of the sacred from around the world, introduced by Neil MacGregor.
Nov 26, 2017
Life on a shanty boat
A 20-minute watery odyssey - idling down the Tennessee River with the best thunderstorm in a tin shack you are ever going to hear... and some frogs… In the company of Betty Goines, who grew up on a shanty boat during the depression, Wes Modes takes his recreated shanty out on to the river, to gather stories for his Secret History of American River People project, and to live a life under the cosy tin roof of his shanty - close to the water, and all the elements..
Nov 19, 2017