show episodes
 
Interested in France? Let us be your ears and eyes on the ground. Hosts Sarah Elzas and Alison Hird take you beyond the baguette, to hear from the people who make France what it is, and who want to change it - to give you a fuller picture of this country at the heart of Europe. Spotlight on France is a weekly podcast, in English, from Radio France International, out Thursdays.
 
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show series
 
As France reels from the brutal murder of teacher Samuel Paty, teachers weigh in on their role in transmitting French values, notably laïcité. A visit to a town in the Pyrenees Orientales, which until recently was something of a Covid-free haven. And the fateful day in November 1347 when the Black Death docked in Marseille. Teachers were understand…
 
New mothers in France are being forced to wear masks during labour to protect medical teams from Covid-19, and some are calling it out as violence. Also, why France has some of the lowest breastfeeding rates in the world. Netflix's Emily in Paris offends with a clichéd portrayal of city and its people, but offers respite in trying times. And Mata H…
 
Catching up on the Covid-19 situation in France. The controversy around a petition to bring Rimbaud and Verlaine to the Panthéon. A French comics writer takes on a bastion of British children's literature. And the story of Roland Garros. A recent petition to have 19th century French poets Paul Verlaine and Arthur Rimbaud honoured at the Panthéon ha…
 
Spotlight on France is back, bringing you stories from France ‘beyond the baguette’. We have a brand-new line-up of stories and interviews, taking you around France as it's struggling with a resurgence of Covid-19 cases and trying to get back on its feet economically. New episodes every two weeks, starting Thursday 1 October. Find us wherever you g…
 
Electric Vocuhila combine the spirit of free-jazz legend Ornette Coleman with driving urban guitar rhythms like tsapiky from Madagascar or Congolese sebene. They masterfully sew them together on their pulse-raising third album, Palaces. "I had a long time love for African music and the repetitive motifs used in bebop and free jazz," the band's saxo…
 
Admas, a quartet of young Ethiopian musicians living in exile in Washington DC, had a ball recording an album of synth-heavy, funked up versions of Ethiopian classics. 'Sons of Ethiopia ' was soon forgotten but became cult among fans of ethiojazz. Now reissued by Frederiksberg Records, it reflects happier times from a generation that "just escaped"…
 
Italian composer Ennio Morricone was famed for his film scores but his work straddled jazz, pop, psychedelia as well as the avant-garde, influencing bands as diverse as Air and Metallica. Ennio Morricone left behind some 500 scores for both film and television.The theme tune to Sergio Leone’s spaghetti western The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly is und…
 
"Everyday I walk in this city, I know I walk alongside death," singer Hachalu Hundessa said just days before he was shot dead in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa on 28 June. We hear how the 34-year old protest singer became the voice of the Oromo ethnic group. "He was the soundtrack of the 2018 revolution that brought change to Ethiopia" Awol Allo…
 
Inspiring speeches are great, but a song can travel and connect people like nothing else. After the tragic death of George Floyd, musicians are helping to bring issues of police violence and social justice to the fore. Beyoncé, queen of R 'n' B, and the young gospel singer Keedron Bryant have just released songs with a strong 'Black Lives Matter' m…
 
After exploring Zoroastrian chants on her 2016 album “Gathas, songs my father taught me”, mezzo soprano Ariana Vafadari puts femininity to the fore with the heart-wrenching “Anahita”, inspired by the Persian prophet Zarathustra and the goddess of water. Ten deeply spiritual songs set to Oriental maqam scales, tracing a path from despair to resoluti…
 
There are big names in The Eddy, a Netflix series about a struggling jazz club in Paris. But the real star is jazz. And since coronavirus is depriving us of the thrill of live music, the jazz sessions recorded with its own six-piece band provide music lovers a much needed fix. Composer Glen Ballard and saxophonist Jowee Omicil talk about the joy of…
 
When Swiss beatmaker FlexFab was doing a set in the coastal town of Kilifi, Kenya, a young Kenyan rapper Ziller Bas grabbed the mike and delivered his "Swengflow". The chemistry was immediate and six months later the two artists are set to release their debut EP Mugogo! A dancefloor must. Pablo Fernandez, who's been working under the moniker FlexFa…
 
When musicians Amadou Diagne and Cory Seznec had a chance encounter in a bar in Bath in 2007, they knew one day they would record together. Thirteen years later, after many "touki" (journeys), they've embarked on a new musical adventure with a debut album Right of Passage. They talk to RFI about making new roots music with kora, banjo and guitar. “…
 
When N'Djamena-based electro band Pulo NDJ found themselves stranded in Abuja with no chance of returning to Chad because of the coronavirus, they made their way to Lomé, set up a home studio and recorded a song about living in lockdown. Their story is one of friendship and remaining creative through the crisis. Since the release of their acclaimed…
 
Djibouti is better known as a strategic outpost than a hotbed of music but Groupe RTD, the country's national radio band, are one of its best kept secrets. By day they play at official ceremonies, off duty they let rip their love of American jazz, Indian Bollywood, Jamaican reggae and Somali funk. For the first time ever an independent label, Ostin…
 
What does a filmmaker do when confined to a small Paris apartment? Film, of course. A personal look at the lockdown in Paris. Plus, sociologists check in on how the French are faring and discover a philosophical approach. And the labour history of May Day in France. With the end of the coronavirus lockdown in sight in France, people are starting to…
 
Where has all the flour gone? The French appear to have taken to baking during the Covid-19 lockdown, upsetting supply chains. Also, how the pandemic has highlighted inequalities in French healthcare. And reflecting on Notre Dame, a year after the fire. French people are starting to bake, a lot - unheard of in a country which counts a boulangerie i…
 
It's possible that most coronavirus cases in France are not counted. We hear from one person who was diagnosed over the phone, and who waited out the quarantine at home, alone, with little official intervention. Also, an asparagus farmer is forced to find new ways to distribute after restaurants and markets are shuttered. And the French physicists …
 
France is on lockdown to try and stop the spread of the Covid-19 coronavirus, but there have been contradictory explanations about what is and is not allowed. The woman who went on a road trip across France to restore her faith in love. And when France's colonies became departments. In the first of a two-week (possibly longer) confinement to try to…
 
Sarah McCoy is undoubtedly one of the most exuberant and talented singer-songwriters around, unafraid to bear her heart and soul in her music. "Honesty is important," says the 35-year old American. "If I were just singing about how it's sunshiny all the time, well some people can do that, but it's my job to sing about when it rains." McCoy was pick…
 
Olga "Olgha" Nkweti is a singer-songwriter from the English-speaking part of Cameroon. She began singing professionally aged just 17 and has made a name crafting covers of popular songs into Pigdin English, but also writes her own soulful afro-pop compositions. She talks to RFI about composing the song Cold to draw attention to the innocent victims…
 
Seb el Zin founded the surrealist rock band Ithak in 2005 and it somehow manages to straddle hardcore, metal, psychedelia and traditional Turkish music with equal ease. He talks to us about why metal is ethno music, his love of dystopia and science fiction, and finding lyrical inspiration in the odd mushroom. Seb El Zin (Seb the beautiful!) has man…
 
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