Om Slow Radio
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.
Relax with a calming mix of music and natural sounds, from the Atlantic rainforests of Brazil to Eastern Banjo Frogs in Adelaide, Australia. Plus a dawn chorus in Cornwall and chaffinches in Noja, Northern Spain. Recordings by BBC Radio 3 Sunday Breakfast listeners Bob Castell, Kate Wilson, Peter Halmkin and Kevin Cox.
There’s a gentle rhythm to everyday life in a Hindu temple, that follows carefully choreographed rituals linked to the care of the deities - creating a rich aural texture from dawn when the gods are woken, to nightfall when they sleep. The sounds wax and wane; each part of the day has its own soundscape and the priest presides over it all. You’ll hear the constant sound of bells as a backdrop, rung by devotees as they approach the shrines, focussing their minds and alerting the deities to their presence. The deities, or murtis, as they are known in Hinduism, represent the different aspects of God - in the form of beautifully carved statues. They are worshipped and cared for as the physical representations of God. This episode of Slow Radio takes us to the Shree Sanatan Mandir, a Hindu temple in Leicester, where we recorded sounds from inside the temple across a whole Saturday. The mandir is one of the oldest and largest mainstream Hindu temples in Leicester, housed in a former Baptist chapel. There is one main ‘prayer hall’, home to 5 main shrines. But there are 17 shrines in all, representing the major Hindu deities including, amongst others, Krishna and his consort Radha; Ram and his wife Sita, his brother Laxman; as well as Hanuman, Ganesha, Shiva and Ambamata. In the wider temple building there are also other meeting rooms and halls. During the recording you’ll hear worship across the day - singing and prayer, readings from sacred texts, meditation for the women’s group and quiet times for private devotion or chatting to the priest. You’ll also hear Illa Majithia and Anil Chauhan from the temple committee explaining some of the sounds. But the programme starts with the sound of volunteers cleaning the temple at daybreak, as the priest opens the curtains around the shrines, waking the deities, before washing them, dressing them in fresh clothes and decorating them with garlands of fresh flowers brought by the devotees, who are gathering for early morning worship. Produced by Jo Dwyer. This is a Loftus Media production.
Relax with a calming mix of music and natural sounds, from birdsong and tortoises in the Seychelles to waves and whistling frogs in Barbados, via a bubbling brook in Northumberland and a murmuration of starlings playing in a poplar tree. Recordings by David Fay, Honey Schreker, Kathryn Potts and Rupert Ormond.
High in the mountains snow falls. As it comes to rest on the frozen slopes it become part of an ancient glacier. Over the course of 100 years the glacier will flow down the valley, changing the landscape around it. Using field recordings from deep within glaciers, along with the sounds of the natural world around them, this programme charts an imagined journey of snow and glacier from mountain top to valley floor. Over the course of that journey we hear the sound world change and the increasing impact of human activity on the landscape - the wilderness of the high slopes replaced by the noise of tourism and traffic. There is an irony to the fact that the people who choose to visit the mountains because they love them are also contributing to their changing environment. These unique glacier recordings have been made by Ugo Nanni, researcher at the University of Oslo who specialises in the stability of Arctic glaciers, and field recordist Clovis Tisserand. Producer: Barnaby Gordon
It is January 2022, and in the Upper Manhattan neighbourhood of Harlem all is quiet as people stay at home, preferring not to venture out into the minus-13-degree snow and ice that has blanketed the city. This half-hour soundscape begins with the geese pecking at the frozen lake at the northern tip of Central Park with the occasional sound of a passer by who has braved the weather. As we head north to Harlem, walking up Malcolm X Boulevard, an invitation into the warmth of the Abyssinian Baptist Church is welcome. It is no ordinary service but a celebration of Martin Luther King Jr and we hear sounds of the pastor and gospel choir as they join together in worship. Heading back out into the bracing cold, Harlem is busier. More people are gathered on the streets with stereos playing music, and public transport still in operation, battling against the snow. Sounds of live jazz emerge from local restaurants and wandering inside is a refuge from the weather, joining crowds of brunch-goers enjoying live music, drinks, food and the company of others. It takes about half an hour to walk from Central Park to the Jackie Robinson Park, where a flight of swallows can be heard returning us to the sounds of nature that we heard at the beginning of our walk.
Relax with a calming mix of music and natural sounds: a walk in the Faroe Islands, a deer in the Scottish Highlands, a robin in Northamptonshire and a royal garden in Norway. Wildlife recordings from Chris Watson and Andy Fell, plus Radio 3 Sunday Breakfast listeners Louise and Donald Proven.
A settlement first known as Almatu developed on the Silk Road from the 10th century onwards. In the 1920s, the new Soviet authorities renamed the place Alma-Ata ('Grandfather of the apple') and made it the capital of the Kazakh SSR (formerly in Kyzylorda). We start our journey from one of Almaty's Soviet-era train stations, Almaty-2, built in the 1930s, with its paintings by Kazakh and Russian artists and the multi-lingual Tower of Babel representing the journey's start, in conversations and tannoy announcements. We hear the old Soviet engines arriving into the station, disgorging their passengers before awaiting a new intake; we hear the slow steady rhythm of the train, as passengers in varied states of boredom chat to each other and eat meals; we hear the sound of scalding water being decanted from the samovar, to make the harsh tea beloved in these parts for so many years; in the dining car we hear passengers sharing food, drink and stories, as they eat 'Plov' and other traditional food. We step out of the train at various points along the route, such as Turkistan (an ancient trade centre along the Silk Road) and Shymkent, where hawkers with their wares wait to sell food and drink. After 33 hours on board a train, we arrive at Aralsk, a thriving fishing port until environmental degradation and diversion of rivers for agriculture saw the sea massively shrink. We journey by car across the former seabed, see camels at oases and hear the howling winds that sweep across the vast plains and desert, before finally arriving at the gently lapping Aral Sea, a shadow of its former self. Producer: Michael Rossi
Relax with a calming mix of music and natural sounds: sanderlings on a beach in Shetland, a farmyard in Shropshire, urban birds in Buenos Aires and the Red Burn in Argyllshire. Wildlife recordings from Radio 3 Sunday Breakfast listeners Ian Reid, Barbara Petty, Susan Robinson and Bob Dickinson.
Relax with a calming mix of music and natural sounds. Cicadas in Portugal, sheep in Wensleydale and a magnificent dusk chorus in Wiltshire. Wildlife recordings from Radio 3 Sunday Breakfast listeners Kate and John Livingston, Geoff and Christine Holland, and Ruth Taunt, plus Radio 3 producer Michael Rossi.
Relax with a calming mix of music and natural sounds. Sparrows in the heart of the City of London, birds on Shapwick Heath in Somerset, and frogs and elephants in the Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe. Wildlife recordings from Radio 3 Sunday Breakfast listeners Vaughan Ives, Dora Thornton, Jeremy Warren and Ian Strange.
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