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Playlist: Radio for (Armchair) Travelers

Compiled By: PRX Administrator

Curated Playlist
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The Other Dead Sea

From Rachel Dornhelm | 05:40

If you close your eyes where the Aral Sea used to be and listen to the wind whipping sand over the brush it sounds like waves breaking over a shore... like phantom pain, when amputees feel sensation in missing limbs.

003_small Once the world’s fourth largest inland lake, Uzbekistan’s Aral Sea has lost three-fifths of its water in the past 40 years. The wind-whipped seabed that remains is severely contaminated with several hundred million tons of salt and the pesticide residue from years of a cotton monoculture. One of the most affected cities is Muynaq, Uzbekistan. In just a generation, Muynaq’s landscape has shifted from sea-side resort to desert outpost, prompting a local to call the situation "a fairy-tale in reverse." Rachel Dornhelm spent a year there, living and working two hours from the former seashore. She tells the story of the sea and the people, set to the sounds of nature and music.

Love & Borscht in Alaska

From Rebecca Sheir | Part of the Soundbites: A Series On Food series | 03:12

Nina Fefelov's Samovar Cafe brings a tempting taste of Russia to rural Alaska... with a heaping helping of one-of-a-kind love.

Ninafefelov_small The tiny Alaskan village of Nikolaevsk (pop. 304) was settled in the late 1960s by Russian Old Believers: dissenters who rejected the reforms imposed on the Russian Orthodox Church in the 17th century.

The town is 25 miles north of Homer, just 9 miles east of Anchor Point. But step through the doors of Nina Fefelov's Samovar Cafe, and you'll feel like you've been transported thousands of miles, right back to Russia.

The Samovar Cafe is cramped but cozy, with lilting Russian music in the air and authentic Russian goods on the shelves. Nina sells everything, and part of her proceeds go back to Russia to feed hungry kids. Nina is especially proud of her collection of vintage Russian garb. She dresses each of her guests in collarless shirts and sashes, beaver hats and scarves, before doing what she does best: feeding them.

Step inside the Samovar Cafe and get ready to take a delicious bite... of one-of-a-kind worldly food, and one-of-a-kind worldly love.

DHARAMSALA MASALA: A Walk Through the Dalai Lama's Backyard

From The Tibet Connection | 11:44

Reflections from an ecclectic Himalayan community where no two experiences are the same....

Dharamsalamasala_small The North Indian town of Dharamsala, nestled in the Himalayan foothills, is the present home of the Dalai Lama and a vibrant population of Tibetan exiles. In the early 1900's the British came here to escape the heat of the plains, in the 1960's Tibetans came to escape the Chinese occupation, and today people come from all over the world for all kinds of reasons. We hear from the town's diverse mix of visitors and residents, including a taxi driver from Bognor Regis in England, a volunteer dentist, an Oxford University academic, an Australian multi-millionaire, and a young Tibetan mother of four who risked everything to come here. A place of refuge, a place to party, relax, study, eat chocolate cake or expand your mind, Dharamsala has something for everyone... "It's a real spiritual place." American tourist. "I wanted it to be more spiritual." Israeli tourist TWO VERY DIFFERENT VIEWS OF DHARAMSALA The KARMAPA is currently on a US tour

The Street of the Cauldron Makers

From Homelands Productions | Part of the Worlds of Difference series | 13:26

A well-known Turkish novelist confronts her country's modern history on a nondescript street in Istanbul.

Elif_small Turkish novelist Elif Shafak, who was prosecuted and acquitted in 2006 for "insulting Turkishness" in her novel The Bastard of Istanbul, takes us on a tour of the steep, narrow street where she once lived and wrote. Shafak sees Kazanci Yokushu, the "Street of the Cauldron Makers," as a metaphor for Turkey's modern history -- a place where the nation's battles over identity, modernity, ethnicity and minority rights have played out in miniature over the decades. The piece was produced by Sandy Tolan with help from Melissa Robbins.

The Perfect Photo

From Jake Warga | 07:07

An attempt to take a photo just like in the Nationa Geographic

060325225_small Armed with an article from the National Geographic, I try to take the same image in Lalibella Ethiopia...comic consequences ensue

Cuban Organ

From Gianluca Tramontana | 08:45

A musical travelogue into rural Cuba

4contrerabrothersafternoonmusicinmedialuna_small The Granma region of Cuba ? a good day?s drive East of Havana ?is a region jokingly referred to by Habaneros as ?Palestina? due to its cultural distance. In the 1880s some hand-cranked mechanical organs were imported from Europe. Since then a folklore culture of 'organilieros'- makers, composers and artisans ? now in its fourth generation - has sprung up in this remote rural sugar-cane growing province. On weekends towns and villages come to life as three-to-five piece bands ? often siblings carrying on a family tradition ? set up and play street parties. It?s a region which could easily inhabit a Woody Guthrie song or a Steinbeck novel. Cuban Organ takes the listener along Granma?s dusty back-roads into the heart of organ country and sheds light on a remote corner of rural Cuban life through the sounds of the province, its colorful people and its music

From Sagebrush to Steppe

From Western Folklife Center Media | 16:47

Music bridges the language barrier as a group of cowboy musicians trek across the Mongolian steppe on horseback, making friends and singing songs with the nomadic herdsmen of this vast country.

Mongliangercamp_small In September, 2005 a group of American cowboys traveled to Mongolia for a horse trek across the steppe. This was a grassroots visit to local herdsmen and it also completed a cultural exchange that started a few years back when Mongolian herders came to the Western Folklife Center's National Cowboy Poetry Gathering in Elko, Nevada to sing their songs and play music. Hal Cannon went along with the singing cowboys to document just how the music of these two horseback cultures would jive.